Gun Deaths and Gun Ownership: Is there a Connection?

German Lopez in Vox: “Why is it that for all the outrage and mourning with every mass shooting, nothing seems to change? To understand that, it’s important to grasp not just the stunning statistics about gun ownership and gun violence in the United States, but America’s very unique relationship with guns — unlike that of any other developed country — and how it plays out in our politics to ensure, seemingly against all odds, that our culture and laws continue to drive the routine gun violence that marks American life.”

“The research on this is overwhelmingly clear. No matter how you look at the data, more guns means more gun deaths.”

“This is apparent when you look at state-by-state data within the United States, as this chart from Mother Jones demonstrates:”

Gun ownership tightly correlates with gun violence.


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  • pisher

    Slamming the car door on my hand and broken swollen fingers–another unproven correlation.

  • Herb Powell

    The US relationship with guns is hardly unique even within “the developed world:” The highly touted UN Small Arms Survey shows HALF of the 10 AND 20 nations with highest gun ownership rates are Western democracies.

    Further, the UN Office on Drug and Crime shows those same nations are near the bottom in murder rates, definitively proving that, in point of fact, MORE GUNS=/=MORE DEATH.

    Cherry-picking UNODC stats to conveniently exclude 85% of nations doesn’t change that, only obscure it: Statistically, the US murder rate is BELOW AVERAGE, most nations with the lowest rates have the highest gun ownership rates, and most nations with the highest murder rates have average or below average gun ownership rates. To the extent there’s a correlation, it’s INVERSE, not direct.

    What’s different in the US is that opposite but equally radical pro- and anti-gun fringes that don’t exist in Europe or Canada dominate gun policy to the exclusion of the rational majority. Thus the US doesn’t mandate training for all gun owners nor require gun sellers to check whether a prospective buyers Second Amendment rights were revoked because they were legally proven a criminal or mentally incompetent: Pro-gun nuts insist denying Second Amendment rights to people who DON’T HAVE THEM somehow threatens everyone elses Second Amendment rights, and they get away with it because anti-gun nuts insist everyone elses Second Amendment rights SHOULD be unconstitutionally revoked because of the atrocities committed by those who have no such right to revoke in the first place. Faced with no “reform” options but “guns for all” vs. “guns for none,” the rational majority of Americans prefer a badly flawed status quo to its far deadlier alternatives.

    We can also note that much of Europe bans CONCEALED weapons as the tools of stealth murder (i.e. assassination) they are, just as most of the US did from 1814 (when the Second Amendments author, James Madison, was US president) until the 1990s. That only makes sense given that FBI stats show handguns are used in an ORDER OF MAGNITUDE more murders than rifles and shotguns COMBINED:

    Rifles (including the many “non-assault” types) were used in <300 murders in 2013, so banning ALL of them (let alone just assault rifles) would've saved <1 life/day, but handguns were used in nearly 6000 murders that year, so banning them would've saved almost 20 lives/day: How does banning vaguely and inconsistently defined "assault weapons" address the real problem?

    Guns don't kill people, but guns and gun policy alike are deadly in the hands of the deranged and dishonest. As with many issues, it's past time Americas rational majority concerned with the nations best interest regained control of policy decisions usurped by dueling radical fringes concerned with nothing but imposing their competing flavors of tyranny on everyone.

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