It has been barely a few days since the shooting at Club Q in Colorado. As people try to unravel what happened there, elsewhere, in Chesapeake, Virginia, others are learning of yet another, terrible, senseless act of gun violence. This time, it was at a Walmart store, and it seems the manager, under the guise of a meeting with his staff, opened fire, before leaving the meeting and shooting randomly at customers, before turning the gun on himself.
Between this, and the attack on Club Q, we will no doubt hear from the staunch defenders of the 2nd Amendment. We will hear the usual message of thoughts and prayers. The question that many ask (and I am certain this includes many Americans) is, when will enough be enough? When will concerted action be taken to deal with this seemingly endless problem?
In 2021, firearms were by far and away the most common murder weapon in the USA. The cry will go up that many of these were illegal weapons, the stats are inflated by gang violence, it’s the inner cities where the bulk of the problems lie, etc etc. A lot of effort will be expended to deflect from the obvious truth – ease of access to deadly weapons makes it a lot easier for people to kill. Weak controls on firearms spells disaster.
You need only compare other countries, and how they approach firearms. All data is via the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, unless otherwise stated, and it’s all based on 2020, unless otherwise stated.
The US homicide rate in 2020 was 6.3 per 100,000 people. It was said that 79% of all US murders in 2020 involved a firearm of some form. That would make the US murder rate with guns only in 2020, 4.9 per 100,000 people.
What does this mean? Well, it means the USA gun-only murder rate would be higher than the combined total murder rates of Canada (2.0), Germany (0.8), and Australia (0.9) for 2020.
In some cases, up-to-date data is proving a little hard to come by, but we can look at a number of countries, all with varying forms of gun control measures, and note that they tend to be considerably safer than the USA. In 2018, Japan’s murder rate was 0.3, and Japan consistently features as one of the world’s safest places to live. The UK, for all its faults, has a murder rate of 1.12, as of 2018. France had a murder rate of 1.2 in 2018.
What France, the UK, Japan, Canada, Australia and Germany all have, are forms of gun control. Mass shootings are very rare in these countries, and I would wager that’s down to the controls around the types and quantities of firearms people can buy. It’s never quite as simple as just gun control though – these countries don’t have the same cultural fascination with firearms that exists in the USA. Gun culture is the single biggest problem. To outsiders looking into the USA, it’s a baffling and worrying love affair. The rhetoric by anti-control crowds is alarming. We hear, repeatedly, of the right to bear arms, and we hear of how other countries aren’t really free, because they lack the means to resist tyranny. Well, how many tyrants have been opposed, versus how many children killed in school shootings?
I rediscovered an excellent post from one Eric Rasmussen, who talks of what Gun Fans Will Say. He does a superb job of dismantling the arguments that often get put forward by the staunch 2nd Amendment defenders at times like this. Please have a read of it, it’s worth a few minutes of your time.