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IPFS News Link • Weapons/Weaponry

The Relationship Between Guns and Murder Isn't What Liberals Think


With two mass shootings occurring within a 24 hour period, the debate over gun violence has understandably been reignited this week.

In making their case, liberals are pointing out the obvious correlation between more guns and more gun murders (though there are obvious outliers that contradict that trend). Of course, because guns are also used in self-defense and can save lives too, that has to be taken into account. John Lott, famous for writing "More Guns Less Crime" clarifies in the book that the relationship we want to examine is between guns and overall homicides, not guns and gun homicides.

As Kevin Ryan of Unbiased America noted last year:

People who favor gun control believe that, if we have fewer firearms, we'll have less violence. If that was the case, countries with the most access to firearms would have the highest murder rates. Yet that's not the case.

This bar chart shows nearly two hundred countries, each represented by a pair of bars, one for its homicide rate, and one for the number of citizen-owned firearms per 100 people. And, as you can see, contrary to conventional wisdom, more guns in a country do NOT lead to more murders. In fact, the amount of firearms per capita plays almost no role in determining the homicide rate. Running a regression of the data results in an r-squared of only 0.019, meaning the number of guns in a country account for less than 2% of the variation in homicide rates.

There's clearly a lot more that goes into explaining homicide rates than numbers of firearms. Some possible factors include poverty, unemployment, inequality, education, and cultural differences. But, unequivocally, the data simply does not show that the number of firearms in a country plays a role in murder rates.

What more, the relationship between guns and murder is actually inverted. The more guns there are in a country, the LESS homicides there are,

And as I noted in my forthcoming book "Debunk This" of mass shootings globally, while there has been a rise in the severity of American mass shootings, the narrative that such incidents don't happen elsewhere in the world is bogus.

Countless publications cited a study from Adam Lankford as proof that mass shootings are a uniquely American problem, but a critical study found serious flaws in Lankford's research, concluding instead that despite having 4.6 percent of the world's population and 40 percent of the world's firearms, we in the US experience just 2.88 percent of the world's mass shootings.