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International Handgun Prevalence
and Murder Rates (1980)

An analysis of the 1980 International Crime Survey, by Martin Killias shows are is a very high (.84) correlation between the rates of handgun ownership and the rates of homicide.

As with any simple comparison of international data, thare are other factors which may influence the data. For this reason, the 13 nations were selected for their similar economies (developed/industrialized), politics (democratic) and cultures (Western).

Finally, one must remember that demonstrating correlation does not demonstrate causation. In other words, the while the rate of handgun ownership ownership tracks closely with the rate of murder in the subject countries, that does not prove that the rate of handgun ownership necessarily causes the murder rate or, even more immediately, that lowering the level of handgun ownership will necessarily lower the murder rates.

International Handgun Prevalence and Murder

Country Handgun
1 Australia 2.0% 1.95
2 Belgium 6.0% 1.85
3 Canada 5.0% 2.60
4 Finland 7.0% 2.96
5 France 6.0% 1.25
6 Netherlands 2.0% 1.18
7 Norway 4.0% 1.21
8 Spain 2.5% 1.37
9 Switzerland 14.0% 1.17
10 England/Wales 0.1% 0.67
11 Scotland 0.1% 1.63
12 United States 29.0% 7.59
13 West Germany 7.0% 1.21

Source: Gregg Lee Carter, The Gun Control Movement, Twayne Publishers, New York, 1997, pg 4-11. Taken from Martin Killias, "International Correlations between Gun Ownership and Rates of Homicide and Suicide", Canadian Medical Association Journal 148:1723 (May 15, 1993). We have converted Killias' homicide rates from per million to per 100,000 to be consistent with other statistics presented on this site.


©Copyright, 2000, Mike Rosenberg