TikTok Gun Debates


By now anyone who follows my blog will know my view on guns. I do not believe they will make any given situation safer, and I believe the evidence bears this out.

One ‘Street Hawk’ on TikTok (whose posts rather annoyingly keep coming up on my feed) has made what they no doubt consider to be a string of clever and edgy posts in support of guns in the UK. They set up a simple premise, yet lurking beneath this is a misleading and dishonest strategy.

Their question is ‘if you shot an intruder, would you therefore be safe from that intruder?’ If I were to say yes, he would trumpet this as a sign that guns make a situation safer. However, this overly simplistic approach completely ignores the available evidence, evidence that I suspect Street Hawk doesn’t want to consider.

In 2022, the US homicide rate per 100,000 people (assume all rates are based on 100,000 people) was 6.4. The UK’s homicide rate was 1. That’s a pretty significant difference. There are multiple factors behind that, but out of 19,196 murders, 14,789 of them involved some form of firearm. To put it another way, 77% of all US murders involved a gun. Approximately 8.5% involved knives.

The UK certainly does have a knife problem. 41% of UK murders involve blades. They are notoriously easy to get hold of, and easy to conceal. To deny this is a problem is to deny reality. However, the UK murder rate with knives is considerably lower than the US murder rate with guns.

I have no easy answers to the gun crime problem the USA faces, and solutions that have worked elsewhere in the world are not guaranteed to succeed over there. Guns are culturally entrenched in the USA, and attempting to remove them would provoke a highly hostile response. The trick lies in education, though far smarter people than I have not yet come up with an answer to the problem. Nonetheless, I have to reject this TikToker’s notion that guns make things safer. The statistics speak for themselves. I will take my chances in the relatively gun-free environment I live in.

See https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/murder-rate-by-country if you want to get a picture of global murder rates in 2022. Not every country has supplied data, but look at the USA compared to several other countries of a similar social, economic and political background. 6.38 for the USA, compared to 2.27 for Canada, 0.55 for Italy, 0.83 for Australia, and 0.55 for Norway. The key difference lies in the available of guns, the available of the type of guns, and of course, the attitude towards guns in these different countries.

So Street Hawk can continue to pose their misleading questions, and frame them as the narrative where guns make situations safer, or they can look at the data, and come to realise that guns do not make a situation safer in the vast majority of cases.

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