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Do guns kill people? What the numbers say

March 03, 2015 21:52 IST

The map, above, shows the number of civilian firearms (both licit and illicit) per 100 population across countries.

You can also explore the interactive map to see the number of gun deaths per 100,000 population and the firearm regulation for each country.

The data, taken from, shows that United States has the highest number of civilian firearms with a whopping 101.1 firearms per 100 population.

To put this in perspective, the second and third highest number of civilian firearms per 100 population are reported for Serbia at 58.2 and Yemen at 54.8.

Guns, however, don't kill people, as the cliche goes. And the numbers seem to confirm this.

The highest number of gun deaths have been reported in Turkey (165 gun deaths per 100,000 population) where the civilian ownership of firearms stands at 12.5 per 100 people. The second and third highest number of gun deaths per 100,000 population are reported in Columbia (53) and Venezuela (36)


In comparison, the US, despite its 101.05 firearms per 100 population, reports 10 gun deaths per 100,000 population.

It is also interesting to note that Turkey, Colombia and Venezuela have 'restrictive' firearm regulations whereas the US has 'permissive' firearm regulation.

To classify firearm regulation as restrictive or permissive, uses the definition given by Newton and Zimrig in Firearms and Violence American Life. It is as follows:

Permissive Firearm Regulation:
Before an applicant can be denied a licence or a firearm owner's identification card, the administering agency must show that the applicant is a member of one of the prohibited groups. (Prohibited groups include minors, felons, persons of unsound mind, etc.)

Restrictive Firearm Regulation:
The applicant must give a sufficient reason to have a gun rather than the licensing authority being required to show a reason for denying the request.

In India where firearm regulations are restrictive, the estimated number of civilian firearms is 3.36 guns per 100 population. Gun death is estimated at 1 per 100,000 population per year -- among the ten lowest gun death rates in the world.

Explore the map and share your interesting findings with us.

For more data driven journalism, check out Rediff Labs.