Gun Violence Around the World: Little in Japan, Switzerland, Lots in Brazil


Compared with just about anywhere else with a stable, developed government, and many countries without even that, the 11,000 gun-related killings each year in the U.S. are off the charts, says the Associated Press. AP tells what is happening in three other nations. In Japan, guns were used in only seven murders in a nation of about 130 million in 2011. More people — nine — were murdered with scissors.

U.S. gun-rights advocates often cite Switzerland as an example of relatively liberal regulation going hand-in-hand with low gun crime. The 8 million people own about 2.3 million firearms. Firearms were used in just 24 Swiss homicides in 2009, a rate of about 0.3 per 100,000 inhabitants. The U.S. rate that year was about 11 times higher. How about a country that actually bans guns? Since 2003, only police, people in high-risk professions and those who can prove their lives are threatened are eligible to receive gun permits. Anyone caught carrying a weapon without a permit faces up to four years on prison. Yet Brazil also tops the global list for gun murders. A 2011 study by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime said 34,678 people were murdered by firearms in Brazil in 2008, compared to 34,147 in 2007. The numbers for both years represent a homicide-by-firearm rate of 18 per 100,000 inhabitants — more than five times higher than the U.S. rate.

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