In 2010 I wrote an article called Look Out! She’s Got a Gun! It looked at and compared the homicide, or murder rates as we Brits would say, between Australia, England and Wales and the USA.
I had already decided I was doing an update on that post today and as part of that I was going to post the same photograph of the police woman with a gun as I did back then. Like this…
Given what happened over there, I’m pretty sure that’s what I would have been shouting…
So I was going to go with that instead, but decided in the end to use both.
Gun deaths and laws Australia, UK and US compared
Well I’m not going to talk about the laws very much, other than to say that in the US it seems everybody has the right to own a gun to defend themselves. In Australia and the UK, gun ownership laws are more strict and far fewer people own guns.
So, now let’s look at the deaths.
If you were to go back and check out my original article Look Out! She’s Got a Gun! you will notice that today I added a significant update. Because today I realised that the figures I quoted back in 2010 actually came from a report from 2000 by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. They have since updated their report to 2010’s figures, so I have done the same on that article.
Today I’m going to look at slightly different statistics, this time I’m not looking at murders irrespective of the method. I am looking at deaths caused by gun whether it be murder, suicide or other.
This time I have used GunPolicy.org as my source, who have information from 2014 for Australia and the USA, and 2011 for the UK. They also have an extensive archive for those who want to go back through the years.
Murders/Homicides per 100,000 population by gun
- Australia 0.14
- United Kingdom 0.06
- USA 3.4
Suicides per 100,000 population by gun
- Australia 0.79
- United Kingdom 0.15
- USA 6.69
All deaths per 100,000 population by gun
- Australia 1.02
- United Kingdom 0.23
- USA 10.54
By the way, all deaths by gun include accidental deaths and where it is unknown why the death occurred. In the US, they also have another category which is ‘justifiable gun homicide’. The highest number of justifiable gun homicides in the US for the last 18 years was 686 for 2012.
During that same year there were 11,622 gun homicides; seems the right to defend yourself thing isn’t quite working out.
For the record, here are the overall rates for both murder and suicide, whether a gun was used or not.
All murders/homicides per 100,000 population
- Australia 1.07
- United Kingdom 0.96
- USA 3.82
Source: businessinsider.com/OECD as at 2013
All suicides per 100,000 population
- Australia 10.6
- United Kingdom 6.2
- USA 12.1
Source: Wikipedia/World Health Organisation as at 2012
Australia and guns today
So what made me decide to update these figures now?
Well, there was an article online here in the Australian media with the headline ‘Scary trend in Australian gun crime with more than 200 shooting deaths a year‘.
It talked about the 207 firearms deaths in Australia in 2013 and mentioned that rate of 0.93 (including suicides) per 100,000. It then listed nine specific events which involved murder by gun, all of which took place in 2015. It showed a graph to illustrate how gun related crimes had risen since 2007 here in Australia.
Yes, I know, that’s the year I got here, but it’s nothing to do with me. Honest!
The article also quotes some quite alarming figures and percentages suggesting that illegal use of firearms has increased across many of our states in the last two or three years. Of New South Wales, it suggests that there were ‘an average of 20 drive-by shootings every month in the state.’ Read more at News.com.au
It is, indeed, scary stuff and it may well be true, although they have skilfully included the suicide figures in that scary headline. By my maths, of those 207 deaths by gun, 31 were murders and 176 were suicides.
Here are the figures I have for 2000 to 2014.
Murders in Australia per 100,000 population by gun
- 2000: 0.31
- 2010: 0.13
- 2014: 0.14
Probably the most alarming suggestion in the article is that it says Australian gun lobbyists are doing their best to erode our current tight regulations in Australia and cut some of the ‘red tape’ around gun ownership.
I think the figures above clearly show that we should be learning from the UK and not the USA on this one.