Better Than Somalia: How to Feel Good About Gun Violence

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A YouTube video entitled, “Number One With A Bullet”, recently made rounds on the Internet. It defended American gun policy on the basis that, despite having high levels of per capita gun ownership, the United States has relatively low levels of per capita murders compared to other countries. The video immediately became viral, receiving over 300,000 views in a week, and was touted by pro-gun sites as definitive proof that firearms are innocuous.

In the video, Bill Whittle, a conservative blogger, shows that the United States ranks No. 111 in the world in terms of per capita murder rates (as evidenced by a neat Wikipedia table), which “puts us near the top of the bottom half [internationally].” Whittle then uses this methodology to re-assure Americans, “maybe it’s not the guns…”

Whittle is not the only gun apologist who has made some variation of this comparison. Social media abounds with infographics purporting to demonstrate that the United States really isn’t all that violent. John Lott, a discredited pro-gun academic, has drawn favorable comparisons of the U.S. with violence-torn Mexico. A widely cited yet thoroughly debunked law review article by Don Kates and Gary Mauser invokes Russia to let America off the hook. All of these attempts though violate the central imperative in statistical analysis of comparing likes to likes.

How Not To Compare International Homicide Rates

Unsurprisingly, the United States does indeed have a lower homicide rate than countries in the middle of civil war, run by despots, or struggling with crippling poverty. Should we really be patting ourselves on the back though that our homicide rate just barely beats out Yemen, number 109 on the list, and the fifth most dangerous country in the world? Should we be bragging that our country has less per capita murder than Somalia or Zimbabwe — countries that are literally run by warlords? Comparing the U.S. with countries that have nothing in common only guarantees that whatever the true relationship between guns and homicide is, we won’t be able to find it.

Indeed, using Whittle’s methodology, you can make almost all of America’s problems disappear overnight by simply expanding our peer group. For example, our infant mortality rate is the highest among industrialized nations, but if we include all of the world’s countries in our comparison, including those where children regularly die from diarrhea and measles within a couple months of being born, we rank No. 34!

Further, a closer inspection of the most violent countries on the list actually undermines Whittle’s case. As Elisabeth Rosenthal reported for the New York Times, the Central American countries topping the violence charts are not gun-free socialist utopias gone wrong, but rather are suffering from a plague of heavily armed security guards. While these countries do have strict gun laws on paper, these are rarely enforced, leading to a guns-everywhere free-for-all. For example, Guatemala, which has the 6th highest homicide rate, has an estimated 900,000 unregistered firearms in circulation. While the country only has 20,000 police officers, they have 41,000 registered private security guards with another 80,000 unregistered guards. With all of these ostensible “good guys with guns,” Guatemala is not a “gun-free zone” by any stretch of the imagination. Indeed, the US Travel Department issues the followingwarning about Guatemala: “Violent crime is a serious concern due to endemic poverty, an abundance of weapons, a legacy of societal violence, and weak law enforcement and judicial systems” (emphasis added).

What A Valid Analysis Reveals

But that’s clearly not the appropriate way to think about public health problems. Serious academics restrict their analysis to countries that have attained a certain level of gross national income (GNI). This is extremely important because it enables researchers to control for confounding variables that may drive the homicide rate upwards, such as the presence of ethnic or religious conflict, or widespread poverty. One way to do this is by using the World Bank’s definition of a high-income OECD country. Thirty-one countries meet the criteria of a per capita GNI >$12,616.

When academics further refine this list of countries using socio-economic factors they reveal a harrowing picture. Compared with other high-income countries, the United States has a homicide rate 6.9 times higher, a difference driven almost exclusively by firearm homicide rates that are 19.5 times higher. The same is true for firearm suicide and unintentional firearm death, for which the United States has rates that are 5.8 and 5.2 times higher, respectively, than other industrialized countries. A 2013 study also showed that among the highest income countries “there was a significant positive correlation between guns per capita per country and the rate of firearm-related deaths.” A recent study in the American Journal of Medicine also showed that among the highest income countries, “there was a significant positive correlation between guns per capita per country and the rate of firearm-related deaths.” The authors concluded that: “the current study debunks the widely quoted hypothesis that guns make a nation safer.”

Research on female homicide victimization reveals an even more startling picture: the United States is the sole outlier in female homicide rates among high-income countries. Even though American females represent only 32 percent of the overall female population among industrialized nations, the United States accounts for 84 percent of all female firearm homicides.

Ironically, when unflattering comparisons have been made between the United States and our industrialized peers in the past, gun advocates are quick to point out cultural and demographic differences that ostensibly make such comparisons unfair. Gun advocates often mutter something about gangs or African Americans to explain away the differences between the United States and its peers. It is instructive to note that gun advocates will insist that the United States can’t be compared to ourindustrialized peers, and then reassure us that the United States is doing a little bit better than countries in the middle of civil war.

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  • JFK

    I find myself wondering if the kind of people who post a YouTube video such as the one illustrated by this article actually know they are lying and if so what kind of person is this? A psychopathic mentality that couldn’t care less how destructive their toy is to tens of thousands of bereaved families every single year? Keeping the toy is more important than the mass slaughter it facilitates?

    • CNS

      Why lies are you talking about? The youtube video didn’t have any lies. It simply showed the comparison of all nations in the world based on homicide rates, and pointed out where America ranked.

  • Gil

    News reports that never happen: “war averted because both sides have weapons.”

    • Seemed to work out that way with the soviets….but this is a reality-free-zone.

      • Ghoulsbee Scroggins

        I’m honestly wondering how far you are willing to go with that analogy. If you truly believe the world was a happier place under the ubiquitous threat of categorical annihilation, do you support weakening international regulations on uranium enrichment and nuclear programs? Should we be working to make sure every single one of our allies has a nuclear program so that we can live safely under the auspices of nuclear deterrence? After all, the only way to stop a terrorist with a nuke is a good guy with a nuke.

        Do you think that U.S. policy to stop Iran’s nuclear program is misguided because criminals don’t follow laws and doing so only hurts law-abiding nuclear programs?

        • Kyle

          “do you support weakening international regulations on uranium enrichment and nuclear programs”

          If they are toothless, then yes because it only undermines the peaceful nations and their ability to defend themselves.

          “Do you think that U.S. policy to stop Iran’s nuclear program is misguided because criminals don’t follow laws and doing so only hurts law-abiding nuclear programs?”

          Seeking to stop Iran’s nuclear program does not involve all of the law-abiding nations giving up their own nuclear programs. If everyone had to disarm, then yes, it would be a ludicrous endeavor in many ways because Iran and other such countries would be the only ones armed. Also, seeking to stop Iran’s program involves doing things that cannot be done to criminals spread out through society, ranging from hard sanctions to (worst case scenario) direct military action to stop their nuclear program.

    • CNS

      Wrong, wars are routinely averted because both sides of potentially warring nations have weapons. It’s called deterrence, and it plays a major role in international politics. I’m surprised you are so ignorant about such a major factor in the world.

      You’re right this doesn’t make headlines, but that’s only because it’s a constant routine aspect of the world, not a sudden surprising thing. Reporting on nations that are deterred from waging war because the other side is so heavily armed would be like reporting on all the planes that landed safely today, or all the people that safely drove to work without crashing.

  • Brian

    A valid study – I don’t have access to the full report to the NIH study linked in this article, but the number cited in the abstract doesn’t pass the sniff test. There aren’t that many countries who could plausibly measure 6.9 times lower homicide rates, and most of the OECD countries cited absolutely do not meet that criteria. By my count (using Wikipedia), only 4 of those OECD countries can claim a homicide rate 6.9 times lower. Unless someone can make that paper public for analysis, I’m calling it deeply flawed and in error. The abstract alone seems to reveal serious defects in the analysis.

    On the contrary, there are 10 US states whose homicide rates are about as low as the cited OECD countries average, states with relatively liberal (loose) gun control laws. It doesn’t look like gun laws are the determinative factor in homicide rates, and may not be correlated at all. The point in the video is true – if you take out the cities with the worst homicide problems, US rates are comparable to any other OECD nation. Then the question is, what is wrong in those cities? If the US, absent Chicago, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Baltimore & DC is about equal to the UK homicide rate, what’s wrong with those cities, as opposed to, say, London? Salt Lake city is a large metro area, and does not have the homicide problem, but has permissive gun laws. Why?

  • CNS

    “Unsurprisingly, the United States does indeed have a lower homicide rate than countries in the middle of civil war, run by despots, or struggling with crippling poverty.

    That’s precisely the point! It’s not gun availability alone that causes high homicide rates, it’s other factors like wars, tyrants, crime, and poverty. The fact that these factors push homicide rates in other nations with low gun ownership past that of America proves what us gun rights advocates have been saying all along. It’s not the guns, it’s the society. That’s also why Japan has a higher suicide rate then America despite having gun ownership rates that are probably as close to non-existent as any industrialized democracy will ever get.

    Gun banners for too long have gotten away with making America look like we are the most deadly nation in the world by using a narrow lense: only comparing it to European nations or other nations that qualify for some arbitrary definition of “high income”. But when you actually look at the whole world, suddenly the truth is revealed: American isn’t so deadly after all.

    “As Elisabeth Rosenthal reported for the New York Times, the Central American countries topping the violence charts are not gun-free socialist utopias gone wrong, but rather are suffering from a plague of heavily armed security guards.”

    Oh come on, who are you kidding? Having large amounts of armed guards doesn’t have anything to do with respecting the right to bear arms (full disclosure, I used to work as an armed security guard). The right to bear arms is about the PEOPLE having the right to own and carry them, not certain professionals the government deems worthy, like cops, soldiers, or professional guards.

    You can’t possibly claim that ANY central American nation respects that right. You cite Guatemala, but does Guatemala have a right to bear arms in their constitution? No! Can lawful peaceful adult Guatemalan citizens easily legally purchase firearms, and then easily get a permit to legally carry them as they go about their daily routine? No! The notion that Guatemala, or any other central American nation, is some sort of NRA paradise is beyond absurd.

    The Central American nations are a textbook example of gun control havens: Most of the people who have guns and carry guns there are cops, soldiers, security guards, or people who have them illegally. Citizens who want to get guns and carry them without breaking the law face mountains of restrictions, if they have any chance of exercising that right at all.

    Sorry to let facts spoil a good story.

  • Nearly everything you said it just factually wrong.

    It’s not gun availability alone that causes high homicide rates, it’s other factors like wars, tyrants, crime, and poverty.

    1) The United States has a higher homicide, firearm-related suicide, and firearm related fatalities than other industrialized countries AFTER controlling for every conceivable variable that would account for the “societal factors” you describe.

    2) This is a common sleight by gun advocates– to insist that the United States is exceptional and can’t be compared to any industrialized country, while arguing that we’re a lot better than countries like Somalia or Zimbabwe. Pepsi Challenge: Name some variables that you think explain the differences in homicide rates between industrialized countries better than gun availability, that have not been controlled for in any study to date, and then we can have a discussion. Until then, you’re just hoping that guns aren’t the culprit, when *literally* every case-control study ever done on the subject shows that gun availability increases the risk of homicide and suicide for those in the presence of the gun.

    But when you actually look at the whole world, suddenly the truth is revealed: American isn’t so deadly after all.

    Do you have ANY idea how social science research is conducted? Show me a single scholarly paper that compares the United States to countries like Zimbabwe and still manages to get published in a peer-reviewed journal. It would never happen because it’s literally Statistics 101 that you compare likes to likes. The United States has a horrible infant mortality problem owing to our poor healthcare system– we have much higher infant mortality than any other developed country. However, if you compare us to countries like Somalia, we’re doing swimmingly, because there children there regularly die of diarrhea and diseases we eliminated a century ago. How is this a meaningful comparison? What insight could we possibly glean about the relative effectiveness of our healthcare system or our gun control policies by comparing ourselves to countries that are ravaged by disease and being run by warlords.

    Nothing can be more instructive about the weakness of your argument than your NEED to compare the United States to the most unsafe countries in the world in order to demonstrate the benign nature of guns.

    You cite Guatemala, but does Guatemala have a right to bear arms in their constitution? No! Can lawful peaceful adult Guatemalan citizens easily legally purchase firearms, and then easily get a permit to legally carry them as they go about their daily routine? No!

    Lol. Your ignorance is showing. Article 38 of the Guatemala Constitution: “The right to own (‘tenencia’) weapons for personal use, not prohibited by the law, in the place of inhabitation, is recognized. There will not be an obligation to hand them over, except in cases ordered by a competent judge.” If you have residency and are over 25, you can easily purchase a firearm in Guatemala.

    Did you seriously do no research on this subject and just hope that reality had your back?

    • CNS

      The United States has a higher homicide, suicide, and violent crime rate than other industrialized countries AFTER controlling for every conceivable variable that would account for the “societal factors” you describe.

      Once again you’re trying to use that narrow lens by using the term “industrialized countries”. What the video shows, is that when you open up that lens and look at the whole world, suddenly the truth come out: America is not particularly deadly after all. Despite our #1 position in gun owership in the world by a huge margin, our homicide rate isn’t even close to the top. If guns really made such a huge difference, we’d at least be the top 10 or top 20, yet we’re not even in the top 100.

      It’s amazing that even after the video shows the problem with that narrow lense, you’re still trying to stick with using it.

      Furthermore, even using that lens, you still have problems, namely that America’s non-gun homicides are most numerous then most European nations. Are you going to claim our guns somehow make people more likely to kill using weapons other then guns?

      “How is this a meaningful comparison? What insight could we possibly glean about the relative effectiveness of our healthcare system or our gun control policies by comparing ourselves to countries that are ravaged by disease and being run by warlords.”

      Because it shows the importance of other factors: It shows that things like warlords, wars, crime, poverty, and other various social/economic conditions have a much greater factor in determining homicide rate then gun ownership does.

      “Guatemala’s constitution says “The right to own (‘tenencia’) weapons for personal use, not prohibited by the law, in the place of inhabitation, is recognized”

      Read the fine print. You can own a weapon, “not prohibited by law”. That means if Guatemalan politicians want to ban all guns, the constitution won’t stop them. They are free to “prohibit by law” any weapon they want. That’s not a right to bear arms at all. That’s a right to do what the politicians tell you is okay to do.

      Furthermore, I asked “Can lawful peaceful adult Guatemalan citizens easily legally purchase firearms, and then easily get a permit to legally carry them as they go about their daily routine?”. The answer to that question is clearly no. The so-called “right” you refer too, which isn’t really a right at all, only applies to guns in the home, not guns outside of it. It is possible under limited circumstances, but it’s not easy.

      Guatemala is not a gun rights paradise by any stretch of imagination.

    • Oak

      “Until then, you’re just hoping that guns aren’t the culprit, when *literally* every case-control study ever done on the subject shows that gun availability increases the risk of homicide and suicide for those in the presence of the gun.”

      One objection. For homicide none of the studies have controlled for how many of those same guns were the same ones used in homicide.

    • Kyle

      Tangent, but America’s infant mortality rate isn’t due to the healthcare system (which actually is very high-quality overall), but rather due to factors regarding poor mothers who make up the majority of the high infant mortality rate. For example, African Americans have a much higher infant mortality rate than whites, and also are in much larger numbers poorer than whites.

  • CNS

    http://insidecostarica.com/dailynews/2009/april/02/cam04.htm

    Guatemala – After several months of debate, the Guatemalan Congress approved the Weapon and Ammunition Control Law, considered essential to reduce violence.

    The regulation reduces to one the four licenses previously granted to each citizen to buy armaments, and they are able now to buy three weapons instead of 12, as previously established.

    It also stipulated several requirements before granting the permit, including a clean criminal record and passing psychological assessment, income certification and proof of employment.

    The legislation also set between five and 15 years of imprisonment for crimes like possession, export, import, or illegal sale of weapons and ammunitions.

    Shooting without a justified reason and parading with these devices, although they are legal, will also be punished.

    Congressional Government Commission Chair Santiago Najera considered the law progressive and a tool that will allow to the judicial system to work correctly.

    The regulation will now be presented to the Executive, which should ratify it and make it come into force.

    Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom welcomed the approval of the law and called it an important instrument to fulfill the National Security Program, which will be signed by the three state powers on April 15.

    Hmmmm, a strong limit on the number of guns citizens can own, and a requirement to submit to a psychological test in order to get one, as well as requirements to show employment and proof of income.

    Yeah that’s what the NRA has always wanted. Clearly this nation is their dream come true…..

    • Homeless Australian Dude

      i’ve got to side with the parody account here mates. no way would the nra would want psychological tests to be a prerequisite to gun ownership. at least half its membership would be disqualified. bad for business.

      gotta say i’m a great admirer of your work CNS. the way you artfully weave fallacy after fallacy (my favorite here is how you elegantly create the strawman of the authors saying that guatemala is a haven of gun rights, even though they made no such argument and were merely pointing out that the idea the guatemala suffered from a lack of guns were delusional; bravo mate) into the tapestry of patently dumb ideas is masterful. you did overstretch a bit though when you doubled down on showing utter incomprehension of the rudiments of statistical analysis (and even logic itself). this doubling down would be much more believable if your writing was a tad more incoherent. the extreme inanity of the doubling down clashes too much with the semblance of coherence you present. its just not quite believable. a small mistake but one i’m sure you’ll correct in your future writing. but otherwise your imitation of a gun nut is an exquisite piece of internet art.

      anyway, big fan. keep up the excellent work.

      • CNS

        Ah hello homeless Australian dude. Nice to see you are back with your first grade insults. “Half of NRA members would be disqualified”. When you have no facts, just use insults as a crutch.

        Evan is the one who used the strawman, not me. No one is suggesting that Guatemala “suffers from a lack of guns”. The point is that laws that make getting guns hard to legally get or carry don’t stop criminals from doing either; hence the 900,000 illegal guns Evan cites. “Gun Free zones” are only gun free from people who chose to obey their policies, and criminals don’t.

        • JFK

          I have some facts. Fact 1, in tne UK where guns are almost completely banned they have a gun death rate averaging around 40 a year which is by chance about half the deaths by gun the US averages every single day. You think they should litter their society with guns US style and that statistic would drop even further?

          Another fact is that the US averages somewhere in the range of 120 police deaths every single year the vast majority by gun while in the UK where not even the police routinely carry guns the last recorded police death was in Sept 2013 and that was in actual fact due to the officer being run over by a suspect. I’m sort of puzzled as to why all those British criminals aren’t running around acquiring guns and slaughtering the population the way it happens in the US on a regular basis.

          Maybe they have law abding criminals? Or just maybe they actually do have gun free zones while the US has no such thing. You can call it a gun free zone all you like but in such a backward gun crazed society there is in reality no such thing.

          • Brian

            Fact – UK homicide rate is about 60% higher than it was 50 years ago, while the US rate is about half.

          • JFK

            I can’t verify that or I actually can’t be bothered verifying it but here is another fact. What you’re saying here addresses absolutely nothing regarding this topic or even my comment. The UK population has increased in the past 50 years and has acquired a drug propblem that was almost non existent 50 years ago both of which which no doubt affect such statistics. I did check the statistics for the past 10 years and this is what it says.

            Murder / Homicides confirmed cases 2002/03 = 942

            Murder / Homicides confirmed cases 2012/13 = 558

            That’s actually a 40% fall but is entirely irrelevant to either the topic of this article or my comment. The issue is would that murder rate get any lower if the UK were to scatter guns freely around US style or would it increase. The reality is it would sky rocket because the biggest issue they have there regarding violent assault with a weapon leading to murder is attack by knife or blunt instrument and believe me take it from one who has been faced by a knife carrier and survived that I would be dead if it had been a gun and not a knife.

            You see it’s easy to run from a knife but not from a bullet. In my own instance I only ran a hundred yards or so and happened on a convenient weapon of my own which was simply a pice of wood maybe 3 feet long. That alone gave me a greater range than his knife did so now he was the one on the run. Get the picture? Guns are a whole different world from anything else out there.

            Are you suggesting that if the UK were to scatter guns freely throughout the population the murder statistic would fall to a lower level than it is right now? Less than 600 a year which is a fraction of the US number even if you take into account the lower total population level. That’s what you’re suggesting? The current average gun murder rate of 35 to 40 a year would remain that low if guns were scattered around US style?

            They should scatter guns everywhere and their rate of police being murdered would stay so low that there has been just 1 in the past 2 years compared to the average US rate of a around 120 every single year and guns everywhere would continue that?

            THAT’S the issue.

          • Brian

            The point is, that in the last 50 years when Britain went down the slippery slope to a near total gun ban, their homicide rate (per 100K) went up, while in the US where states enacted concealed carry, stand your ground, castle doctrine, the ‘assault weapon’ ban expired, the homicide rate went down. The point is, you can’t show that gun bans have an effect on homicide rates. Pointing at the UK as an example to promote gun control is useless, because their example shows it does not work. After the 1998 ban, total recorded gun violence in the UK went up, for five years running, and is only now getting back down to the level it was at 15 years ago.

        • Homeless Australian Dude

          flawless mate. perfectly on track now. had to keep my “insults” at a first grade level so that it would be conceivable that your parody character could actually understand what i am saying. and “half” is being too kind, which is why the full quote begins “at least half.”

          incidentally, if you weren’t a parody character, it would be trivially easy to dismantle all of your points without resorting to anything that remotely resembled an insult (gratuitous parenthesis for the insults i would include, but are completely unnecessary for the argument).

          For example, I would point out that you still display an utter lack of comprehension for why a “narrow” lens is the only legitimate (sane/remotely intelligent) way of examining the true impact of guns on violence, as it allows us to get close to ceteris paribus conditions which are critical to forming rational conclusions about a specific variable. Neither of the authors or anybody on this page from what I have seen suggest that guns are the ONLY factor. We just point out the obvious that they are a rather important one. And when we use that “narrow” lens, it shows that while our non-gun homicide rate is in fact slightly higher than average, it is still close to our comparable countries. Our gun homicide rate on the other hand is drastically higher and manifestly the reason for the discrepancy in rates. Combine that with a whole host of peer reviewed studies confirming the link between gun ownership and homicide rates and it becomes very clear that your arguments are remarkably devoid of facts (which is what makes your comments pure art mate).

          Also, it is transparently obvious that you didn’t bother watching the video that this article replied to, as what “no one is suggesting” was exactly what the video was suggesting when the dude stated that the countries in the top half of the list were almost exclusively “big-state, socialist utopias with stringent gun control laws.” Of course, as your comment explaining Guatemala’s laws demonstrated, if you didn’t have a criminal background, weren’t insane, or a homeless bum you could purchase up to 3 firearms (last time i checked you only need 2 to go full Yosemite Sam on some chap, isn’t it great when your own comments utterly destroy the point you are trying to make; so skillful). Also, “stringent gun control” implies that it is very hard to get guns, which is completely antithetical to reality, as the current laws are enforced loosely at most. And there are 41k registered security guards and an estimated 80k unregistered to boot, which means plenty of “good guys” with guns around, the exact opposite of what the video was suggesting. This renders your strawman claim utterly lacking (and an amusing example of the tu quoque fallacy to boot; your weaving is truly masterful).

          Finally, using the “criminals don’t follow laws” argument on this page? Really?? This is just begging for a comment that would be too long for a parenthetical, so I’ll just leave it here.

          but what would be the fun in taking you seriously, eh mate?

          keep up the excellent work. and, i know, you aren’t a parody account, wink wink. wouldn’t want to blow your cover any further now.

          cheers

  • Oak

    “1) The United States has a higher homicide, suicide, and violent crime rate than other industrialized countries AFTER controlling for every conceivable variable that would account for the “societal factors” you describe.”

    Nope. Not suicide or violent crime. In fact suicide rates in the US are comparable to other indistralized countries.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_suicide_rate

    The US does not have a higher violent crime rate than other industralized countries. Places like the UK have us beat in robberies, assaults and rapes. Check the ICVS from 2004 by the UN for proof.

    http://www.unicri.it/services/library_documentation/publications/icvs/publications/ICVS2004_05report.pdf

    Guatemala has strict gun controls. The authors have no idea what they are talking about.

    http://insidecostarica.com/dailynews/2009/april/02/cam04.htm

    “The regulation reduces to one the four licenses previously granted to each citizen to buy armaments, and they are able now to buy three weapons instead of 12, as previously established.

    It also stipulated several requirements before granting the permit, including a clean criminal record and passing psychological assessment, income certification and proof of employment.”

    • >>Nope. Not suicide or violent crime. In fact suicide rates in the US are comparable to other industrialized countries.

      I was obviously referring to the firearm-related suicide rate, as I made exactly the same claim in the article with the attached reference: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20571454. I edited my comment to make this clear.

      >>The US does not have a higher violent crime rate than other industrialized countries.

      Comparing International Violent Crime rates is extremely tenuous due to different reporting systems between countries. The UK, for example, includes minor offenses such as pushing and shoving that result in no physical harm as a “violent crime.” They also include alleged, but not confirmed, incidences in their total violent crime numbers.

      The important variable is the percentage of those violent crime that are lethal. The United States leads the developed world in homicides, and the relevant factor is that many more of our violent crimes are facilitated with guns. Given the near ubiquity of guns in the United States, you’d think a far smaller fraction of violent crime would escalate to homicide relative to our developed peers.

      >>Guatemala has strict gun controls.

      I never said they didn’t have gun controls. I was refuting the argument made by CNS that Guatemala had no “right to bear arms” in their constitution. That is just plainly false. They are one of the few countries with a right to bear arms explicitly written into their constitutions.

      I’m also a little bit terrified that you think the controls you highlighted constitute “strict.” You’re upset that a Guatemalan citizen can only purchase three guns instead of 12? That they have to pass a background check?

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