Reply to post: Re: What a load of Trump...

Kentucky gov: Violent video games, not guns, to blame for Florida school massacre

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: What a load of Trump...

"There are 300,000,000+ guns in circulation. [...] You can get guns elsewhere in the world (even in the UK) yet they are seldom if ever used to commit these atrocities [...]"

Well on the one hand ...

This guy appears to have walked into a store and walked out a few minutes later with something that you probably couldn't get in the UK or, if you could, would have required the blessing of your local police chief and convincing a psychiatrist that you had a legitimate use for it.

The result is that even in Northern Ireland, which is a special case, only about 100,000 people (out of 1,800,000) own guns (about 380,000 of them). That's about 5%. I'm not sure if accurate figures exist for the US, but apparently (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/06/04/a-minority-of-americans-own-guns-but-just-how-many-is-unclear/) around a third of the population regularly admit to owning guns (averaging, again, about 3 or 4 each).

So on the other hand ...

That's about 5 or 6 times smaller than the US figure then, but the consequent rate of gun crime is, I think much lower. I would also point to the Swiss experience where the laws are much more like the US (and some cantons actively encourage serving militia to keep guns at home) but the rate of gun crime is much lower. Indeed, it appears that most gun-related deaths in Switzerland are suicides.

On the face of it, then, there does appear to be a cultural difference in the US. (The obvious difference is the reverence in which the Constitution is held and, by extension, its Second Amendment. Anyone trying to tighten gun laws in the US first has to convince everyone that they aren't undermining the bit of the Constitution that keeps America free from tyranny. That shouldn't be particularly hard if you are just trying to keep semi-automatic weapons away from hormone-ridden teenagers, but the question doesn't even arise in most other countries and most of the rest of the world finds the US attitude utterly incredible.)

However, back on the first hand ...

I would expect that it would be relatively safe to give a gun to most adults in any country. However, as you increase gun ownership and relax checks, eventually you start allowing them for a small number of people who are very much less safe. I would expect the relationship between percentage-gun-ownership and amount-of-gun-crime to be so non-linear that it looks almost like a cliff edge.

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