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37. Didn't someone find that firearm ownership causes higher murder and suicide rates?




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This article is from the can.talk.guns FAQ, by Skeeter Abell-Smith ab133@sfn.saskatoon.sk.ca with numerous contributions by others.

37. Didn't someone find that firearm ownership causes higher murder and suicide rates?

No. Martin Killias surveyed 14 "countries". (England/Wales, Northern
Ireland and Scotland, which are not countries, are counted as three.)
He found a correlation between firearm ownership rates and murder and
suicide rates.

However, correlation is not causation, and it is difficult to show
causation, which seems to be what the author is attempting. The
connexion between "firearm ownership" and higher murder rates isn't
obvious, especially when the non-firearm rate is also higher, and a high
percentage of murders involve illicit drugs and/or alcohol. Many are
also committed by convicted felons, who are prohibited from legally
owning firearms. Also, in the USA, a higher percentage of victims are
strangers.

When so many murders are outside the home, it's quite difficult to
relate the murder rate directly to "guns in the home". It's much easier
to conclude that people will arm themselves as a _reaction_ to high
murder rates, espescially when they are allowed to do so lawfully.

One must wonder why the UK was divided up into three "countries" but the
same was not done for the USA, especially when the UK has one set of
laws, whereas the laws in the US vary from state to county to city.

For reference, here is a table from the paper:

    Rates of homicide, suicide and household gun ownership in 14 countries.
    =========================================================================
                                Rate per 100,000
                    _______________________________________
                          Homicide              Suicide            % of
                           with a                with a         households
    Country      Overall    Gun       Overall     Gun            with guns
    _______________________________________________________________________
    Australia       1.95    .66        11.58        3.42            1.96
    Belgium         1.85    .87        23.15        2.45            1.66
    Canada          2.60    .84        13.94        4.44            2.91
    England/
    Wales            .67    .08         8.61         .38             .47
    Finland         2.96    .74        25.35        5.43            2.32
    France          1.25    .55        22.30        4.93            2.26
    Holland         1.18    .27        11.72         .28             .19
    N. Ireland      4.66   3.55         8.27        1.18             .84
    Norway          1.21    .36        14.27        3.87            3.20
    Scotland        1.63    .11        10.51         .69             .47
    Spain           1.37    .38         6.45         .45            1.31
    Switzerland     1.17    .46        24.45        5.74            2.72
    USA             7.59   4.46        12.40        7.28            4.80
    West Germany    1.21    .20        20.37        1.38             .89
    ________________________________________________________________________
    Spearman Rank Correlations
     between % of households
     owning guns and                                r value         p value
                                                   ________________________
    Proportions of homicides with a gun             0.608

 

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