|Gun Debate: U.S. Murder Rate Actually Low Worldwide|
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, January 10 2013
Joe Biden suggested this week that the Obama Administration can simply bypass the democratic process and impose new federal gun regulations.
This is the same man who, during debate with Sarah Palin in 2008, incorrectly referred to Article I as the source of executive branch power under the Constitution.
Americans can rest comfortably, however. Attorney General Eric Holder, that model of competence and good faith, will work alongside him in the effort. “The President is going to act,” Mr. Biden said this week. “There are executive orders, executive action that can be taken,” he added, “but we’re compiling it all with the help of the Attorney General and all the rest of the cabinet members as well as legislative action, we believe is required.”
Perhaps Americans can just buy guns that Holder’s Justice Department has steered toward Mexican drug lords.
None of this, however, should surprise anyone.
This administration’s record of lawlessness includes “recess” appointments while the Senate actually remained in session, illegal environmental regulations overturned by courts and flagrant disregard of employers’ First Amendment religious freedoms.
Nor should it come as a surprise that Obama would be violating earnest campaign promises he made in 2008. From forswearing the individual mandate Hillary Clinton favored during the primaries to closing Guantanamo, one struggles to recall a single pledge he hasn’t broken. Already this new year, Obama issued an executive “signing statement” while extending anti-terrorism policies initiated by President Bush, thereby violating promises against such statements as well as the underlying policy he once denounced.
It all simply unmasks the left’s longstanding stealth agenda, notwithstanding claims that they support the Second Amendment. Recall the words of Nelson Shields, founder of the anti-Second Amendment Brady Campaign (formerly Handgun Control, Inc.):
“We’re going to have to take this one step at a time, and the first step is necessarily – given the political realities – going to be very modest. … Right now, though, we’d be satisfied not with half a loaf but with a slice. Our ultimate goal – total control of handguns in the United States – is going to take time. … The final problem is to make possession of all handguns and all handgun ammunition – except for the military, police, licensed security guards, licensed sporting clubs and licensed gun collectors – totally illegal.”
But one aspect of this debate demands greater scrutiny.
Specifically, Second Amendment opponents frequently rest their beliefs on the assertion that America’s “gun culture” makes it a dangerous society compared to others around the world.
But that’s simply not correct. The reality is that America’s murder rate is quite low.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in 2012 the American murder rate was just 4.8 per 100,000 people.
Providing perspective, Honduras suffers the world’s highest murder rate at 91.6 per 100,000, with El Salvador second at 69.2. Venezuela, that gun-banning socialist paradise, stands at 45.1 per 100,000, and other nations that effectively prohibit firearms are also of a different magnitude than the United States. Mexico’s murder rate is 22.7 per 100,000, Brazil’s is 21.0, vacation destination Costa Rica’s is 10.0 and police state North Korea is at 15.2.
Even European nations Greenland (19.2), Lithuania (6.6), Estonia (5.2) and Ukraine (5.2) exceed the American murder rate, as do Asian Thailand (4.8) and Indonesia (8.1).
In all, the U.S. stands 104th in worldwide murder rate, hardly the bloodbath that prohibitionists attempt to portray. They cherry-pick various European nations with lower rates than America, but the reality is that murder rates in both places are very low.
None other than Pravda of Russia, which outlaws firearms but suffers a murder rate of 10.2 per 100,000, ran an editorial this week pleading, “For those of us fighting for our traditional rights, the U.S. 2nd Amendment is a rare light in an ever-darkening room.” Sadly, it contrasted our Second Amendment rights against what it sees as America’s more generalized decline:
“These days, there are few things to admire about the socialist, bankrupt and culturally degenerating USA, but at least so far, one thing remains: the right to bear arms and use deadly force to defend one’s possessions. … So do not fall for the false promises and do not extinguish the light that is left to allow humanity a measure of self-respect.”
Moreover, the European nations with the highest rates of gun possession also enjoy the continent’s lowest murder rates. Switzerland, Austria and Norway have higher gun possession rates than Germany, Italy and Britain, but their murder rates are substantially lower.
Accordingly, when gun prohibitionists emphasize U.S. murder rates relative to selected European countries, they’re not being entirely forthright. Not only are American murder rates in the low single-digits alongside those nations compared to the world more broadly, but other European countries with higher gun possession rates have lower murder rates.
Numbers don’t lie, but anti-gun extremists often do.
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