Lies, Damned Lies and Gun Control Statistics

By Doug Newman
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Posted at and Popular Liberty.

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Mark Twain once lamented that there were “lies, damned lies and statistics”, with the third being the most deceptive at all. I was reminded of this the other evening when examining a “hit piece” that was circulating on Facebook last Friday in the aftermath of the horrific mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
gun deaths

I was feeling a bit wonkish and I thought I would look up some statistics on violence and gun ownership around the world. One study I found was from the 2007 Small Arms Survey that dealt with the number of guns per capita in 177 nations around the world. The other was a 2012 U.N. study on the number of intentional homicides in nations around the world.

While I am not a professional statistician, we can conclude one thing: there simply is no correlation between the murder rates and rates of firearms ownership.

Let’s first consider the countries on the above graphic:

  • Japan has almost no gun ownership.
  • England has a low rate of gun ownership.
  • Switzerland ranks fourth in the world in guns per capita.
  • Canada ranks thirteenth in the world in guns per capita.
  • Israel has a moderate rate of guns per capita.
  • Sweden ranks tenth in the world in guns per capita.
  • Germany ranks fifteenth in the world in guns per capita.
  • The United States has the highest gun ownership rate on earth.

Now let’s consider just a few statistics from the two surveys:

  • Honduras has the highest homicide rate on earth, and a gun ownership rate similar to that of Great Britain.
  • Rounding out the top five countries for highest homicide rate are El Salvador, the Ivory Coast, Jamaica and Venezuela, all of which have fairly low rates of gun ownership.
  • North Korea has a homicide rate over three times that of the United States and almost no gun ownership.
  • Yemen has the third highest rate of gun ownership and a homicide rate about equal to that of the United States. Serbia, with the second highest rate of gun ownership, has a homicide rate about one-third that of the United States.
  • Norway ranks eleventh in the world in gun ownership and near the bottom in homicide. (Yes, someone went nutzoid there in the summer of 2011. However, five million other Norwegians didn’t.)
  • Mexico has the same rate of gun ownership as Australia, and 16 times the homicide rate.
  • Over 100 countries have higher homicide rates than the United States.

On Friday evening, I posted the following graphic about gun control and received some interesting comments.

One person was most indignant that I would make a connection between the genocide of Nazi Germany and the murder of innocents in Newtown, Connecticut. Both were gun-free zones where victim disarmament did not prevent mass murder.

Another asked why every government of a disarmed nation is not killing their own citizens en masse. To be sure, not every disarmed nation has experienced genocide. However, numerous genocides – e.g., Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Mao’s China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, North Korea – have followed citizen disarmament. Do you want to run that risk here in America?

The issue is not gun ownership. Rather, it is the evil that resides in the human heart. Depriving people of a tool – any tool – will not cure this. If people intent on crime cannot use one tool, they will use another. And when someone wants to victimize you, do you, in that most dreadful of moments, want to be denied the means of self-defense?


Me neither.
And just what if someone at Sandy Hook Elementary School had been armed on the morning of December 14? How many innocent lives would have been spared?

Thoughts and prayers to everyone affected by the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Thoughts and prayers to everyone affected by the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School. “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4



About Food for the Thinkers

My name is Doug Newman. I live in Aurora, Colorado, just outside Denver. Food for the Thinkers is mostly about the connection between Christianity and libertarianism. Most Christians do not understand libertarianism. And most libertarians do not understand Christianity. Hopefully, this blog helps clear up those misunderstanding. Check out my old page at And remember: When you let people do whatever they want, you get Woodstock. But when you let governments do whatever they want, you get Auschwitz.
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11 Responses to Lies, Damned Lies and Gun Control Statistics

  1. Gil says:

    Really. The Nazi’s 1938 gun laws loosen Germany’s gun control laws and gave a citizen the right to own firearms hence dissolving they disarmed the people before the massacre theory. But they disarmed the Jews you say? Well that simply shows a gun-owning majority won’t save a minority if they have no interest in them. You might as well be arguing those who are perceived as mentally-ill in the U.S. will soon be rounded up and exterminated because they are debarred from owning firearms.

  2. Eva Kosinski says:

    In the case of Germany, you have to remember this was the home of the concept of media propaganda. The majority wouldn’t save the Jews because they’d been hammered for years with hype telling them the Jews were bad, were stealing all the money, weren’t to be trusted, etc. The first thing that goes wrong in tyranny is when people’s brains start working and fear takes over. As Frank Herbert (the sci-fi writer who brought us DUNE), “Fear is the Mind-Killer.” I wish I could say our media is a whole lot different

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  4. Dorly says:

    All mass shootings were commited by people using pharmaceutical psyche drugs, whose side effects, as you can hear on TV, are suicide and homicide. But you will never hear that side of the story on the main stream media, which is heavily funded by those criminals corporations.

  5. CONNIE says:


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