International correlation between gun ownership and homicide

Gun Control Advocates Purvey Deadly Myths
Wall Street Journal, 11 Nov. 1998
By John R. Lott JR.

  • The U.S. has a high murder rate because Americans own
    so many guns. There is no international evidence
    backing this up. The Swiss, New Zealanders and Finns
    all own guns as frequently as Americans, yet in 1995
    Switzerland had a murder rate 40% lower than Germany's,
    and New Zealand had one lower than Australia's. Fin-
    land and Sweden have very different gun ownership
    rates, but very similar murder rates. Israel, with a
    higher gun ownership rate than the U.S., has a murder
    rate 40% below Canada's.

The international correlation between gun ownership and homicide is
not perfect, so it possible for Dr Lott to cherry-pick a subset of
countries to "prove" that there is no correlation. However, he has
hasn't even done that competantly. Here is data on homicide rate and
household gun ownership percentages taken from

        homicide  gun ownership
 USA         7.6  48
 Switzerland 1.2  27
 Finland     3.0  23
 New Zealand 2.0  22
 Australia   1.9  19
 Sweden      1.3  15
 W.Germany   1.2   9

I counted six errors of fact in just two of his sentences.

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