Friday, 29 August 2014


Should a nine-year-old be taught shooting for safety?

The United States has one of the highest murder rates in the developed world, and the rate is inflated by the high rate of gun murders. If the United States had gun control laws similar to other developed countries it is likely that America’s overall murder rate would decline sharply.

America’s annual murder rate stands at 4.7 murders per 100,000 of population per year. That compares with Canada (1.6), United Kingdom (1.0), Australia (1.1), China (1.0), New Zealand (0.9) and Singapore (0.2).

Elsewhere, countries that do better than the USA include Malawi, Mauritius, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cuba, Chile, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Greece, Italy, Kosovo, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. All the above countries have a murder rate per 100,000 of population that is significantly lower than the USA.

Most of these countries have tighter gun laws than America, and generally they have federal gun laws rather than state or county gun laws.

Crime rates, including murder, are generally lower in countries that have a higher standard of living, political and economic stability, and lower unemployment. On that basis the United States should be at, or near, the top of the world list for low murder rates, but it fails to make even the top 70.
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The difference in America is the ratio of total murders to gun murders. If the gun murders are subtracted from the total, the rate is closer to normal for a developed country. It is interesting to note that the statistics do not include accidental gun deaths, or shootings in what may be claimed (or believed) to be self-defense.

It is a fallacy that carrying a gun for protection will make the carrier safer. People who carry guns for protection are more likely to die by a gun than people who are unarmed. Furthermore, a person who carries a gun is more likely to be charged with murder than a person who does not carry a gun.

So why would anyone want to teach their nine-year-old child how to handle a gun of any description?

If they want their child to learn how to hunt animals, I believe they would do better to teach their child to be kind to animals. If they want their child to learn self-defense, they should teach their child how to avoid harmful people and harmful situations.

Would they also teach their child about road safety by encouraging the child to play on an interstate highway?