gun control – the facts behind the ‘facts’ behind the ‘myths’

guns

I’ve recently had a delightful journey into the world of gun facts.  Just google ‘gun facts’, download the brochure and you’ll see what I mean.  Pages and pages of ‘myths’ allegedly debunked by interestingly interpreted ‘facts’.  I sincerely hope someone with more time on their hands than I have has done a comprehensive analysis of this document, demonstrating why few of the facts, if any, are relevant.  I’ll take just a few of the first things that jumped out at me:

Interpreting the tables

the top 10 countries for homicide do not include the U.S.

Apparently this is something to be proud of, that out of the 196 countries in the world, the richest and most powerful one does not land in the top 10 for homicides.  However, a few more meaningful things this handy fact disguises are:

1. In terms of homicide rate the USA sits above Palestine, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Montenegro, Niger, India and Argentina (to name but a few).

2. The USA homicide rate is four times or more the rate of the UK, Denmark, France, Italy, Spain, New Zealand and Germany (to name but a few).

3. The USA does, in fact, top the table of comparable, developed nations for homicide.  I think I’m right in stating that this qualifies it as the Homicide Capital of the Developed World.

Switzerland

Everybody who has served in the army is allowed to keep their personal weapon

Apparently any country with high levels of gun ownership and lower levels of homicide is a valid example of why more guns lead to less deaths.  Switzerland is the favourite (or only?) to wheel out.  One very important fact about Switzerland:

1. As they have no standing army, they have a rather unique national militia.  Around two thirds of the male population undergo military and weapons training as part of their conscripted national service.  I fail to see how a country populated by trained military personnel who store there weapons at home is comparable with the situation in the USA, or indeed any other country.

Scotland

… as of 2005, Scotland was the most violent country in the developed world …

Apparently rates of general violent assault are relevant when discussing gun control.  So, countries with high levels of reported violent crime that have tough gun controls are used as examples of how gun control doesn’t work.  Scotland is cited as one such country.  A couple of things you should know about Scotland:

1. It has the eighth highest alcohol consumption rate in the world, and most of the violent assaults are connected with alcohol consumption and committed by a family member or another known person.  I don’t want to challenge anyone’s powers of logic or understanding of human behaviour, but would it be wise to add guns to this mix?

2. Despite these serious problems, the overall homicide rate would have to triple to compete with the USA figures.  Therefore, gun control in inherently drunken and violent society = fewer murders.

It’s baffling that people in a country with such a terrible record for homicide desperately look for arguments to support everyone’s right to possess deadly weapons.  While poor Caribbean and Latin American countries struggle to make their gun controls work and beg the US to initiate some form of control to stop the easy and endless flood of firearms into their countries, US citizens blindly accept the misleading information pumped out by their $3 billion dollar industry and stubbornly cling to the notion that an 18th century declaration (for a country with no standing army and no police force, and in a time with rather different weapons) makes sense in today’s society.

No study has been able to demonstrate that having a gun makes you safer, so the question remains: why do these people want an easily accessible stockpile of deadly weapons in their homicide-riddled country?  

Advertisements