“So what we see is that there is no direct correlation at the global level between firearm ownership and violence.” — Anna Alvazzi del Frate (program director, Small Arms Survey)
There are several interesting snippets contained in this study, which blessedly seems to be focused on data and not an agenda.
The one that’s got the most airplay has been of course that the United States constitutes nearly half of all the guns held in private hands — yeah, I know, we need to do better — but the quote above is, I think, the clincher in the study. This is because in the grand scheme of things, who and how many gun owners there are is just a statistic; the more important information is how those gun owners use their guns — and the most interesting observation is that once you exclude military gun use, the most common use for privately-held guns, even with crime included in the incidence, is suicide.
And of course because suicide is going to occur regardless — whether by guns, pills, hanging, falls, jumping in front of trains, whatever — it’s quite clear that including gun suicide in “violent crime” statistics (which is what most of the would-be gun confiscators do) is a mendacious device. (I know, when someone eats their gun there’s a violent outcome because brain splatter, but it’s hardly a more violent outcome than, say, hitting the sidewalk after a jump from a height of twenty stories, where no gun is involved.)
It’s a fascinating read, and it’s so clinical that not even TIME magazine can spin it into a Schumeresque sound bite. In fact, the only reasonable sound bite from the study is the conclusion at the top of this post, which is why it’s the Quote Of The Day.