Background: When this country was a baby, we did not have a standing army. Therefore, it was deemed necessary that we have a well- regulated militia, so began a 240 year struggle between the right to safety from the gun and the right to bear one or more—of whatever size our forefathers and mothers could never have imagined.
The way it is…
By way of comparison to ourselves, let’s take a look at homicide rates per 100,000 in several well-regulated European countries and compare this with the United States.
Britain—Homicides 0.05/100,000 people. Guns are tightly controlled by law. The lowest anywhere.
- Requirements: Applicants must show they can safely store firearms, have no criminal record, no drug or alcohol abuse, no medical condition/disability, no depression or mental/nervous disorder or epilepsy.
- Firearms Permitted: Single shot, multi-barreled and repeating shotguns of lever action, pump action or semi-automatic with no more than two rounds of ammunition plus one in the breech.
Switzerland—Homicide: 0.6/100,000 people: Strict gun control enforcement with high gun ownership (46 guns for every 100 persons)
- Requirements: Must not have criminal record, addiction or psychiatric problems.
- Firearms Permitted: All Swiss men—18 to 34—are issued an assault rifle or pistol to undergo military service in a citizen militia as Switzerland has no standing army. Automatic weapons are banned for all other citizens.
Spain—Homicide 0.8/100,000 people: Firearm laws in Spain are restrictive.
- Requirements: One can obtain a firearm for hunting (shotguns, rifles and assault rifle versions).
- Firearms Permitted: Automatic weapons are strictly forbidden except to the military or police forces. To obtain a license for a handgun one must pass several tests and be a member of the Spanish Federation of Olympic Shooting.
Italy—Homicide 0.9/100,000 people: In Italy gun usage is limited to three kinds of licenses: A Hunting License, A Shooting Sports license, and a Concealed Carry license.
- Requirements: People must be over the age of 18. To obtain a concealed carry license one must prove there is a real threat to their life—e.g. they have been already shot. A shooting sports license allows use only in designated shooting ranges.
Netherlands—Homicide 0.9/100,000 people: Gun ownership is restricted to law enforcement, hunters, and target shooters.
- Requirements: People with felonies, addictions and mental illnesses may not possess any firearm. For a hunting license one must pass a safety course test.
- To get one for target shooting, one must be a member of a shooting club for a year.
United States—Homicide 5.1/100,000* people: Regulation varies from state to state. Perhaps we will discuss this later.
* Of this 5.1, 3.5 are firearm homicides.
Just thought you should know. ®
SOURCES: “Fast Stats: Homicide,” CDC.gov, 5/15/16. Feilding Cage, “Gun Laws in The US: Seven Things You Need to Know about The Data,” usconcealedcarry.net, 5/16/16. “Intentional Homicides Per 100,000 people,” data.worldbank.org, 5/13/16. Jonathan Masters, “America’s Gun Laws: How the Rest of the World Compares,” theatlantic.com, 1/12/16. “List of Countries by Intentional homicide Rate,” wikipedia.com, 5/10/16.