God Bless America

Written by Ralph E. Stone. Posted in Culture, Politics

Published on July 05, 2010 with 3 Comments

God Bless America, courtesy Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

From the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

July 5, 2010


Every few years, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence updates its God Bless America poster to show the alarming difference between the number of gun murders in other developed countries vs. the number in the United States.

Gun Murders by Country

In one year, guns murdered 17 people in Finland, 35 in Australia, 39 in England and Wales, 60 in Spain, 194 in Germany, 200 in Canada, and 9,484 in the United States. The United States is an outlier, in part because our gun laws are woefully inadequate. (An outlier is an observation that is numerically distant from the rest of the data.)

Gun Murders by Country and Population Size

When the countries are compared on the basis of firearm homicides per 100,000 population, the United States remains an outlier. In one year, the U.S. firearm homicide rate was: 19 times that of Australia, 5 times that of Canada, 44 times that of England and Wales, 10 times that of Finland, 13 times that of Germany, and 24 times that of Spain.

Guns Used in Crime = More Deaths

Research indicates that the overall rate of crime in the United States is comparable to the rates in other developed countries. However, in part because of our weak gun laws, guns are used more often in crimes in the United States than in other countries, which means that more people die. This partly explains why, even when our homicide rates are low by historical U.S. standards, they still are far higher than comparable countries.

We Can Do Better

The U.S. needs to do a better job of protecting its citizens from the dangers of guns by making it harder for dangerous people to get guns. We can start by requiring Brady criminal background checks for gun sales, including those at gun shows. Join us in this fight. Lives are at stake.


The Brady Center identified, based on published research, 26 high-income countries with populations of greater than or equal to one million. Of the 26 countries, annual firearm homicide counts for 2008 were available online for four countries: Australia, Canada, England and Wales, and the United States. 2006 data was available for Finland, Germany, and Spain.

Ralph E. Stone

I was born in Massachusetts; graduated from Middlebury College and Suffolk Law School; served as an officer in the Vietnam war; retired from the Federal Trade Commission (consumer and antitrust law); travel extensively with my wife Judi; and since retirement involved in domestic violence prevention and consumer issues.

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  1. There are robot weapons that work without handlers like the drone pilots playing video games on the ground. Software glitches make the human hand and intention even more remote, as in this story about a cannon that killed 9 and wounded 14 in South Africa, contrary to plan: http://gizmodo.com/312443/robot-cannon-goes-berserk-kills-9, and I’m sure this happens in war zones far more often than anyone admits.

    The U.S. is also the world’s largest weapons manufacturer and exporter, and it joins Zimbabwe as the only other nation in the world refusing to sign a treaty to reduce international arms dealing. Although Obama, on his visit to oil rich Ghana, on the oil rich Gulf of Guinea last year, said “You can’t blame us for Zimbabwe.”

  2. Jerry, the gun-related homicide stats speak for themselves. There’s no getting around the fact that guns do kill people. It just takes someone to pull the trigger.

  3. Guns don’t kill people, people with guns kill people.