I don’t think I’m a glass-half-empty kind of person, but I realized that I have a habit of sharing “depressing” charts.
- The “most depressing” chart about Denmark.
- A “very depressing” chart about the United States.
- The “most depressing” chart about Japan.
Well, as the Monty Python folks advised, it’s time to look on the bright side of life.
By the way, it’s not “enjoyable” because it shows more gun ownership.
Yes, I believe in private gun ownership, because I respect the Constitution, because I want to discourage crime, because I support liberty, and because I believe in the right of self-defense in case society goes off the rails. But those reasons don’t bring a smile to my face.
The reason the chart is so enjoyable is that it nicely captures Obama’s total failureto impose gun control. Heck, he didn’t just fail to change policy, he actually wound up being the best thing that ever happened to gun manufacturers. And I confess that makes me feel warm and fuzzy.
But let’s set that aside and actually take a closer look at gun ownership numbers. The data in the chart come from a global survey. Here’s some of the coverage of those numbers from the Associated Press.
The Small Arms Survey says 393 million of the civilian-held firearms, 46 percent, are in the United States, which is “more than those held by civilians in the other top 25 countries combined.” …the report’s author, Aaron Karp, said at a news conference. “American civilians buy an average of 14 million new firearms every year, and that means the United States is an overwhelming presence on civilian markets.” …The estimate of over 1 billion firearms worldwide at the end of 2017 also includes 133 million such weapons held by government military forces and 22.7 million by law enforcement agencies, it said. …The Small Arms Survey released its study to coincide with the third U.N. conference to assess progress on implementing a 2001 program known as Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms… According to the report, the countries with the largest estimated number of civilian-held legal and illegal firearms at the end of 2017 were the United States with 393.3 million, India with 71.1 million, China with 49.7 million, Pakistan with 43.9 million and Russia with 17.6 million. …Americans, who own 121 firearms for every 100 residents. They are followed by Yemenis at 53, Montenegro and Serbia with 39, Canada and Uruguay about 35, and Finland, Lebanon and Iceland around 32.
Given America’s status, I’m tempted to start chanting “USA, USA, USA,” but there are some very important factoids buried in the AP report.
Anna Alvazzi del Frate, the institute’s program director, said that “the countries with the highest level of firearm violence — they don’t rank high in terms of ownership per person.” “So what we see is that there is no direct correlation at the global level between firearm ownership and violence,” she said.
Wow, that’s a remarkable admission. It turns out that more guns don’t lead to more crime. But we already knew that.
Now let’s look at some excerpts from the aforementioned story about the same report from the Washington Post.
There are more than 393 million civilian-owned firearms in the United States, or enough for every man, woman and child to own one and still have 67 million guns left over. Those numbers come from the latest edition of the global Small Arms Survey… The report, which draws on official data, survey data and other measures for 230 countries, finds that global firearm ownership is heavily concentrated in the United States. In 2017, for instance, Americans made up 4 percent of the world’s population but owned about 46 percent of the entire global stock of 857 million civilian firearms. …the United States stands out among the world’s wealthiest nations, with an ownership rate more than three times higher than the rate in the next-highest country, Canada. …Measured in rates or in raw terms, the United States is the civilian gun capital of the world.
Since I already shared the chart about the U.S. having more guns than people, here’s another chart from the story showing how Americans are far better armed than their counterparts in other advanced countries.
P.S. Thinking about whether to create a collection of “enjoyable charts,” the obvious choice would be the one from 2014 that showed how effectively the Tea Party-influenced GOP stymied Obama’s spending plans (that was back when Republicans were in favor of smaller government, unlike 2018).
P.P.S. The AP story mentioned that the United Nations has a pact to restrict private gun ownership. I explained in 2013 why that’s an awful scheme. The good news is that Trump’s new National Security Adviser is very solid on that issue.