The myths of American gun violence

To see this isn’t just a problem for the U.S. or a few small countries, Obama doesn’t need to look any further than reports released by his own State Department. Between 2007 and 2011, there were an average of 6,282 terrorist attacks per year outside of Iraq, Afghanistan and the U.S. The number of people killed, injured or kidnapped averaged more than 27,000 per year.

On Friday, Obama claimed once again that, “You don’t see murder on this kind of scale, with this kind of frequency, in any other advanced nation on Earth.”

Among developed countries, however, the U.S. isn’t anywhere close to having the highest homicide rate. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the arbiter of which countries are considered industrialized, ranks Russia and Brazil far ahead of the U.S., with homicide rates that are respectively 21/2 to five times higher than ours. Our rate was tied with Chile’s, and just slightly above the average for developed countries.

In fact, across all developed countries, more gun ownership is generally associated with lower homicide rates. Switzerland, with widespread gun ownership, enjoys one of the lowest homicide rates in Europe. At the other end of the spectrum, Russia and Brazil make legal gun ownership virtually impossible, yet experience very high homicide rates.