The psychology and tradition of gun ownership in the United States has led to our current policies. But the experience in other nations might offer helpful perspective.
Australia shares our “Wild West” heritage. Australia had 13 gun massacres in the 18 years before a psychologically disturbed man used semi-automatic rifles to kill 35 people in Port Arthur, in 1996. That year, Australia sharply curtailed gun ownership. They now require a verifiable reason to own any gun and greatly limit the types of guns one may own. Australia has not suffered any mass shootings since. Australia has a Homicide-by-Firearm rate of 0.13 per 100,000 population, while our rate is 3.6. That’s 28 times greater. And their hunters and ranchers are living with the law.
Japan bans all gun ownership, and, because guns are so hard to find, gun-related crime is extremely rare. An Associated Press article in 2013 told that guns were used in only seven murders in Japan (a nation of about 130 million people) in 2011, the most recent year for official statistics. In the U.S. (with 315 million people), there are more than 11,000 gun-related killings annually. The Associated Press article went on to tell how Japanese must go out of their country to even find a shooting gallery, and shared the experiences with guns of some of those travelers.
Here is a list of recent statistics on gun deaths per year around the world.
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