ABSTRACT: Determining the relationship between gun ownership levels and firearm homicide rates is critical to inform public health policy. Previous research has shown that state-level gun ownership, as measured by a widely used proxy, is positively associated with firearm homicide rates. A newly developed proxy measure that incorporates the hunting license rate in addition to the proportion of firearm suicides correlates more highly with state-level gun ownership. To corroborate previous research, we used this new proxy to estimate the association of state-level gun ownership with total, firearm, and non-firearm homicides. Using state-specific data for the years 1981–2010, we modelled these rates as a function of gun ownership level, controlling for potential confounding factors. We used a negative binomial regression model and accounted for clustering of observations among states. We found that state-level gun ownership as measured by the new proxy, is significantly associated with firearm and total homicides but not with non-firearm homicides.
NOTES: (1) The US ranks 1st against 177 other countries in the number of civilian guns owned – 270 million. (2) Of the countries that have more shootings than the US, most are from Central and South America where criminal elements developed to provide illegal drugs to the US. (3) In Japan, most kinds of guns are illegal…in 2008, there were 11 shooting homicides. Similarly, in 2009,only 18 people were murdered with a firearm in the UK. (4) In high income countries, guns are used primarily for suicides, not homicides. (5) Unintentional gun deaths are much higher where citizens own more guns.
NOTES: Includes data from two databases: UNODC Crime Survey & 2007 Small Arms Survey to create a sortable database of gun ownership & crime rates by country. Although USA ranks 27th globally in firearm homicide rate/100,000, the 26 countries ahead of USA are mostly small, third-world, poor, recent history of war/civil war, etc. USA worse than all large, well-developed countries.