Talk to Me Like I Am Stupid: Understanding International Gun Ownership Rates

Yesterday I was having a discussion in comments about how American gun ownership rates compare to the rest of the world. Someone mentioned Canada and suggested it has higher gun ownership rates, but much less violence. I've heard something like that before. But when I went to look it up, I found that it isn't true at all


In 2007, America had 88 guns per hundred residents, nearly triple the Canadian rate of 30 guns per hundred residents. It's true that Canada is on the higher end of these countries, but it seems like Canada's natural peer is France, Denmark and Norway--all of whom have more, but are in the low 30s--not the United States.

Am I missing something in the data? Am I using the wrong metric? What do people mean when they cite Canada as a place with a lot of guns but low gun violence? Am I not citing the argument correctly? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

As with any TTMLIS please don't comment if your answer is just polemical, or if you just want to let us know about a cool book you read. I do like books, but let's keep on track.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Saving the Bees

Honeybees contribute more than $15 billion to the U.S. economy. A short documentary considers how desperate beekeepers are trying to keep their hives alive.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

From This Author

Just In