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Response to LiberalLovinLug (Reply #79)

Sun Mar 4, 2012, 05:05 PM

83. I love statistics

Let's look at a more instructive set of statistics: the overall homicide rates. This way, we look at the important number - the quantity of murders. It doesn't matter if they are accomplished with guns, knives, sporks or nuclear weapons, we're looking for the number of bodies. And we find some surprises...

The homicide rate in the U.S. has been steadily declining since 2006, while handgun ownership has been rising.* The rate in the UK had been declining, albeit at a slower rate, until last year, when the rate increased slightly. In Japan, which has even stricter gun laws than the UK, the murder rate rose sharply in 2010. In Canada, the rate is fairly steady; as with everything else, you folks seem to have found a nice, moderate level for offing each other that consistently runs somewhere between 31 and 35 percent of the U.S. rate.

Also note that some UK stats may not be reliable: there was a real firestorm in Great Britain when it was discovered Scotland Yard was underreporting crime.

Now, just for grins 'n giggles, let's look at the Bahamas. Bahamian gun laws are pretty restrictive; there are only about 1,000 handguns in civilian hands. So why was the homicide rate in the Bahamas 5.6 times higher than that in the U.S.?

Switzerland, as everyone knows, has guns in most households because the majority of males from 18 to as old as 50 is in the army. In addition, it is comparatively easy to get a permit to purchase a firearm, including a handgun, from the local police. Yet Switzerland's homicide rate is nearly 44% lower than Great Britain's.

I have lived in Canada (well, Montreal) and it's a very nice country. Much better beer than we get down here and the ice cream's good, too. But for all we might share, we're not the same. We're not as nuts as the Hondurans, who have a homicide rate 16 times higher than ours, nor are we as peaceful as the citizens of Monaco, which apparently doesn't even have a homicide rate.

You said, "But its pointless to try and pretend that a country is not safer, that citizens feel safer, that murder, and suicide rates are not lower in places that have strict handgun controls and semi and automatic weapons banned."

Sorry, but the facts just don't support you. Our rate of overall violent crime is declining even as gun ownership is increasing. Unlike some, I don't attribute the one to the other; that's a bit too simpleminded. But to cite guns as a causative factor in the way in which you are flies in the face of reality.

*In 2008, when Barack Obama was running for his first term in office, handgun sales went through the roof; manufacturers couldn't keep up with demand and prices rose. Some called Obama the "Salesman of the Year" for the gun industry.

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