Compare gun laws in other countries


Gun control. Two words that incite emotional responses and spirited arguments from both sides of the debate. While I deplore gun violence, I would like to elicit some factual evidence, and remove the emotional response. Let’s face it, we need to take a positive course that will work, and my research has led to evidence that we are barking up the wrong tree.

Switzerland’s 8 million people own about 2.3 million firearms. But 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.

So how about a country that actually bans guns?

Since 2003, Brazil has come close to fitting that description. 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 in prison.

But Brazil also tops the global list for gun murders.

According to a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime study in 2011, 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.

Also, if you want to see a news report on Australia, where weapons are strictly regulated, go to YouTube, and type in ”Gun control – Watch what happens when guns are banned.” If we continue to put blinders on, and act emotionally instead of really opening our eyes to solve the problem, we will never solve it. Gun control laws plainly aren’t working, and ”feel-good” legislation does not help.

My research also found a school where a man put a shotgun barrel through a school window. Luckily, only 10 were wounded, none killed. For emphasis, that was in 1899; One hundred and fourteen years ago. Does any one need more proof gun control is not the problem?

Society, and what it does for, and to, its people is at the root of the problem. I don’t have all the answers, but when each individual is uplifted and valuable to society at large, the propensity for these violent actions drops. Food for thought.

Mark Smith