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Old May 7 2013, 04:38 PM   #162
gturner
Admiral
 
Location: Kentucky
Re: 5 year old given rifle as gift, kills 2 year old sister

^ That sounds about right. Fortunately murder rates aren't quite as subject to differences in reporting standards and definitions as most other aspects of crime (a dead body gets more attention than a missing purse or a drunken complaint) but there are still differences enough to complicate comparisons. And of course the numbers bounce all over the place from year to year.

The US has seen its murder rate drop in half after almost all the states approved concealed carry and the number of guns per capita went way up, so obviously guns aren't the driving factor in homicide. In all of Russia there are fewer privately owned rifles and pistols than just my own city, yet their murder rate is about four times higher than the US. Europe's murder rate is overall about two to four times lower, but European firearm laws vary more than the US states' laws do. Some European countries allow teenage open carry, some ban guns almost entirely. They just don't seem to kill each other as much. US states show similar patterns. Some states are highly restrictive and have a low murder rate, and some allow pretty much anything and have a low murder rate. Some are highly restrictive and high very high murder rates, and some have high murder rates while not restricting guns hardly at all.

The determining factor seems to have something to do with the number of killers and potential victims roaming the streets, the number of reasons for violent disputes, the number of violent gangs and drug cartels, and cultural proclivity toward violence.

The proclivity toward violence is probably the main factor. Italy used to have fatal stabbings daily, and Italian women didn't want to date a man who wasn't good in a knife fight. The stabbings would occur between diners in cafes, in bars, between old men playing checkers. Knife control wouldn't have solved the problem because they also killed each other with barstools, lamps, and broken bottles. They just liked to fight to the death at the drop of a hat as a matter of honor. They quit doing that, as did the rest of Europe.

Americans still have subcultures that fight like that, as does most of Central and South America and large parts of the Caribbean, along with Africa. If you really wanted to reduce the murder rate, banning alcohol makes a lot more sense, but as we know, that just gives people another reason to form criminal gangs and kill each other.
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