Gun control is the big discussion once again. It’s easy to get caught up in the media narrative and feel that America is falling apart. When you calm down and look at the numbers, you can see that there isn’t a gun-crime epidemic, and the country continues to grow safer every year.
One of the leading arguments for more gun control compares the U.S. to European countries. So, that is exactly what we’re going to do, and the liberals and the leftist run media won’t like the truth.
While you constantly hear the U.S. has an inordinately high gun-death rate, you rarely hear more about that breakdown. You may have heard that two-thirds of gun deaths in the U.S. are suicide, but there’s still so much more to the story. The big thing to remember is that the U.S. is diverse. When you break gun deaths down by state, you find that the lowest rate is Hawaii at 2.71 deaths per 100,000 residents. The highest is Alaska at 19.59. That’s a huge disparity.
What’s more important is that these numbers are still simplistic. Comparing different states with these rates assumes that every state sees gun crimes rise one to one with population. That isn’t true anywhere in the country. You can use historical data to fix these comparisons. When you do, you find that Alaska’s corrected rate is well below 3.0, and this still includes suicides (which are abnormally high in the state). This isn’t surprising when you see that Alaska’s biggest murder year in history saw 16 total murders.
Even Hawaii’s comparative gun death rate drops when you use this correction. The simple reason is that gun deaths have been in historic decline in the U.S. for over 20 years, even as the population has grown in every state.
Comparing all of Europe is difficult, since every country has different methodologies and many don’t record good stats. Within the European Union, you can get slightly better figures, and that’s what we’ll compare today. The population of the entire EU is a little bigger than that of the U.S., and the disparity of countries looks a lot like those of U.S. states, so this comparison makes a lot of sense.
The average gun-death rate across the EU is roughly 3 per 100,000. The high is 17.2 (comparable to Alaska) and the low is in the UK at 0.2. Before we dive deeper into these statistics, it’s important to remember that gun control laws across Europe are much stricter than those in the U.S.
Looking at the UK, it seems that gun control is the obvious answer. When we dig deeper, we find that the UK is comparable to Hawaii in its actual comparative gun-crime rates. Here’s the important fact: since the major gun ban in 1996, gun crime has risen in the UK. In fact, gun crime has risen at a rate faster than population growth. This is true for most of Europe and untrue for every state here in America. When we factor these historical figures into the equation, we find that the UK’s corrected gun-death rate is 1.61. Remember: this is the lowest in the entire EU. Correction factors across the board show us that for the entire region, gun-death rates are around 11 per 100,000. That’s noticeably higher than the U.S. figure.
Here’s where things really get interesting. If you recall, two-thirds of U.S. gun deaths are suicides. In the EU, that number is wildly different. Far-north countries see much higher suicide rates (like Alaska) than the rest. Still, when you average the entire region, you find that suicide accounts for about one-third of EU firearm deaths.
Why does this matter? It tells us that the EU is substantially more dangerous than the U.S. in terms of outright homicide, despite their strict gun control. Domestically, guns are mostly only a danger to people with suicidal tendencies. Abroad, they’re a greater threat to people who aren’t carrying a weapon.
All of this ties back to the current narrative in the U.S. Empirically, gun control has never proven to save lives. More often than not, it has led to increases in crimes and homicides.
In fact, when you use proper statistical methods, you find that the U.S. is objectively safer than the bulk of Europe. Most importantly, we find that gun deaths are more of a mental health issue than anyone is willing to admit.
When tens of thousands of Americans take their own lives every year, we do in fact have an epidemic, and it needs more attention than a homicide problem that shrinks on its own every year.
~ American Gun News