What makes the United States unique among western nations? In light of the Aurora, Colorado, shooting spree, the answer might not surprise you. Of these nations, Americans kill each other with guns at a faster rate than anyone else.
Every day in America, at least 24 people are killed by guns. That’s close to 9,000 gun murders a year. When you add to the dead those who are killed accidentally and those who commit suicide using a gun, the annual death toll is more than 25,000.
Of the 23 wealthiest nations in the world, the United States accounts for 80% of all gun deaths. Americans own over 300 million guns; that’s about one per citizen (this includes private ownership, the military, and law enforcement). We love guns – all kinds of guns – but we save our deepest affections for automatic and semi-automatic weapons capable of firing rounds faster than one can count.
Some claim that easy access to gun ownership is what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they framed the 2nd Amendment. Some claim it’s our God-given right to bear arms, as many as we want and with little to no restrictions. I don’t agree with either lame argument. The numbers speak for themselves.
Japan has a population roughly one-third of the United States. You’d expect that Japan would have about 3,000 gun murders a year compared to our 9,000. Not so. Japan has about 20 gun deaths a year. In 2006, the number was 2.
Using the U.S. ratio of population to gun murders, 35 million Canadians should be killing each other off at about 900 a year. Actually, it’s closer to 200.
India, with a population of 1.2 billion people (more than three times that of the United States), logically should have at least three times as many gun murders: 27,000. In 2010, it had slightly more than 3,000 deaths by firearms.
It’s not hard to understand why this is so: strict gun control laws.
Ironically, none of the aforementioned countries can match the U.S. when it comes to church attendance. We lead the way in that, too. Do you find it odd, as I do, that we don’t quote Jesus when looking for a country to invade? We don’t quote Jesus when carrying out drone attacks over civilian populations. We don’t quote Jesus when executing another prisoner on death row. And we don’t ever quote Jesus when arguing about our “God-given right” to hoard guns. I guess we don’t have to quote Jesus when we can quote the NRA.