America has a gun problem

An interesting statistic I saw from the Beeb the other day. It shows that as developed countries go, America stands out for the sheer number of gun related deaths. In America there are 3.2 gun murders per 100,000 people v’s 0.1 in the UK. Even other developed countries with a strong tradition of gun ownership and liberal guns laws do not have anything like this level of gun deaths. In Switzerland (where gun ownership is practically compulsory!) its 0.8 per 100,000 (8 times higher than the UK but a quarter the US rate), 0.5 in Canada and 0.4 in Sweden.

Now while there are developing countries (or those with wars going on in them!) with higher gun deaths, there is typically a reason behind this. Indeed the drug war in the Central American states puts several of them towards the top of the world gun murder table. But as far as “civilised” developed nations go, Americans clearly need to accept they have a gun problem.

One could draw a parallel with alcohol, yes some people can handle it, others cannot and need to quit drinking. While yes, some countries (like Switzerland or Canada) get by and can handle gun ownership, America is a different culture and clearly that culture can’t handle gun ownership. Some sort of legislation to regulate their vast arsenals of guns is needed.


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