It’s a tense time in America. After several mass shootings in the last year or so (including one not too far from Tofugu HQ), some people in the US have started looking into reforming our gun laws.

With reform on the table, some Americans are looking at other countries for ideas on how to shape new law. One of the places that’s been getting a lot of attention in Japan.

Japan is at one extreme when it comes to gun culture. There are tight gun laws, few gun owners, and even fewer gun deaths. In recent years, there have only been about a dozen deaths in Japan annually from firearms.

So how do the Japanese do it? What does Japan’s gun culture (or lack thereof) look like?

What Are Gun Laws Like in Japan?

Gun laws in Japan are some of the strictest in the entire world. There are laws against owning a gun, owning bullets, and discharging a firearm. Basically, any sort of interaction with guns is illegal in Japan, unless you’re licensed, or with the police or military.


Photo by Ryan Ozawa

Some Japanese tourists find going to a Hawaiian shooting range easier than buying a gun in Japan

Even if you belong to that small portion of the population that can own a gun, there are a lot of restrictions, even if you’re dead. In one particular instance, a police officer who had committed suicide with his service weapon was posthumously charged with a crime.

And that small population can only own certain types of guns. You can basically buy guns for sporting and hunting, which limits it to shotguns and air rifles. Handguns and semi-automatic weapons are strictly forbidden.

How Do You Get a Gun in Japan?

Getting a gun in Japan is really, really hard. There are many steps that you have to go through before you can actually buy a gun. These steps include:

  • Written test, only offered on certain dates.
  • Psychiatric evaulation.
  • Drug test.
  • Criminal background check.
  • Gun skills competency test.

Only after you pass all of those will you be eligible to buy a gun. Even if you pass all of these tests, it’s not uncommon for the police to periodically and informally check up on gun owners. One retired Japanese police officer recalls that

Sometimes, police officers even go to the neighborhoods where a gun owner lives and interview neighbors to make sure the owner isn’t causing problems or having issues with his spouse.

Clearly, buying a gun in Japan is a serious committment and responsibility.

How Many People Own Guns in Japan?

A very, very small percentage of the Japanese people own guns (close to 0.1% of the population) and that percentage has been declining for years. In 2011 there were only a little over 120,000 licensed gun owners in Japan, down from 140,000 a few years earlier.


Of course, like with any law, there are those who slip through the cracks. Yakuza own guns, but less and less so. Because illegally owning a gun carries such stiff penalties, the yakuza would rather avoid guns altogether than get taken down for such an easily avoidable offense.

How Does Japan Compare to the Rest of the World?

As I said earlier, the Japanese have some of the lowest rates of gun ownership and gun deaths in the world, but I wanted to see how Japan stacked up against the rest of the world.

I grabbed data from the Small Arms Survey, the CDC, and the UN, and graphed the numbers for the five countries who visit Tofugu the most. Here are the numbers:


And here they are graphically:



Obviously, the Japanese approach to gun law has worked well in Japan, but it’s not a strategy that would work everywhere in the world.

For instance, Switzerland has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world, but still has a relatively low crime rate. These sorts of laws are so dependent on a country’s history and culture that it’s not really something that you can just copy and paste law from place to place.

Even if the Japanese approach isn’t something that everybody can adopt, it’s still an interesting example for the entire world to look at.

Read more: Even gangsters live in fear of Japan’s gun laws, A Land Without Guns: How Japan Has Virtually Eliminated Shooting Deaths

  • MrsSpooky

    I should ask – what percentage of those gun deaths in the US were would-be victims killing their attacker with the guns they themselves were carrying? The problem is, the gun and gun ownership is very deeply ingrained in American culture, going back to the revolution from British colonial rule. The founders thought ownership was important enough to guarentee the right in the constitution. The problem we are having now (well, the major problem from where I sit) is that criminals have them and are using them. Home invasions are pretty popular, especially around here, and the homeowner having their gun as a means of self-defense is the only chance we have to protect ourselves. :

    I can tell you that if I lived in another country, especially a country like Japan, I would have no desire for a gun and no doubt would not even notice the lack of one. America is just a different culture altogether.

  • Tiffany Harvey

    And you’ve also got to consider that over half of the gun deaths in the US are from suicides. We know Japan has plenty of those too, they just choose a different method since guns are hard to come by.

  • piderman

    Do you have some links for that data? I’m curious where the Netherlands stacks up. We have pretty strict laws as well :)

  • MrsSpooky

    You’re right. I forgot about suicides. Quite often they’ll release some statistics about the number of children who die in gun violence. What they DON’T tell you as that they are including 16 through 18 year old gang members who are shot during gang warfare.

  • NihongoCake

    Looked it up on wikipedia :) 3.9 per capita, that’s indeed not much at all …

  • Alex

    I would be interested to know about the correlation between guns and knives ownership/crime rates in Japan.

  • Luai

    That’s also a matter of culture though. In America, people are more than willing to shoot a non-violent criminal in order to protect their belongings; it’s widely believed that the criminal has sacrificed their right to life by engaging in illegal activity- and it’s also believed that they are likely to become violent. It’s a tough situation because you can’t tell how likely they are to hurt you. Americans have a “shoot first” mentality.
    This isn’t the case everywhere though. There are other cultures where people aren’t willing to kill a criminal unless they are very obviously threatening death. They would be unlikely to shoot a burglar. So they are less likely to feel that they “have to” have a gun to protect themselves, because the number of situations where they would be willing to use it are lower.

  • Chris Heier

    The firearms related death rate you have is inaccurate assuming it is based on deaths per 100,000 (the standard for determining these things). The murder rate as a whole in the United States is 4.8 / 100,000 (Japan being 0.4 respectively). It is impossible to have a gun homicide rate of 10.2 if the overall homicide rate is 4.8.

    Now to break it down further, you can look at it on a state by state basis (or even provincially if you include Canada). For example, did you know that 7 states in the US have a lower homicide rate than the Canadian national average, while 22 states have a lower homicide rate than Saskatchewan?

    On a state by state basis, the safest place to be is New Hampshire, while the most dangerous (after Washington DC) is Louisiana (less than half the homicide rate of DC at 11.8 vs 24 respectively).

    Your graphic states 10.2 as the firearm related murder rate in the US. Louisiana and the District of Columbia are the only places in the US that have an overall homicide rate that is equal to or greater than 10.2. Next is New Mexico at 8.7. California and Texas are similar at 5.3 and 5.4 respectively.

    Back to the numbers you stated, firearms as a percentage of all murders in the most recent data I found was 68%, which would put the firearms homicide rate at 3.3. Now, lets flip this around for a sec and look at the data a different way using the rest of the numbers you have and the US numbers. What is the murder rate per guns per capita? This can be looked at as a measure of responsible gun ownership, or a way to look at the likelihood of gun homicides based on per capita ownership. Maybe you can call it an irresponsibility index, the lower the number, the less irresponsible the gun owning public is with firearms.

    US – 3.3 / 88.8 = 0.037
    Canada – 2.13 / 30.8 = 0.069
    Australia – 1.05 / 15 = 0.07
    United Kingdom – 1.25 / 6.2 = 0.201
    Japan – 0.07 / 0.6 = 0.117

    Like I said, interesting way to look at the figures as it can be inferred that the proliferation of guns in the US has also led to a higher degree of responsibility in gun owners, or in general a significant drop in the rate of the criminal element in gun owners compared to other countries like the worst, in this case, the UK. It could also be stipulated that the harder it is for the law abiding citizen to own a firearm, the more likely it is for a criminal to be using a firearm to commit their murder among the gun owning public.

    Food for thought.

    Of note, the homicide figures I’m quoting are from the UNODC.

  • MrsSpooky

    I live in Florida and the law is very clear – just to protect property is not an excuse to shoot and you will be prosecuted. I’m sure there are probably people out there willing to shoot when they shouldn’t (heck, some cops do it too). It’s not ‘allowed’ and one had better be darned sure before even pulling the gun. Even pulling a gun and waving it about or threatening someone with it is considered aggravated assault. The gun shops I frequent are big advocates of pepper spray in an effort to avoid wanting to pull the gun. It’s strictly last resort and only when there is imminent danger of death or serious injury from an attacker. All new permits in Florida are shipped with a copy of the statutes. Everyone I know with a permit keeps that handy and learns it.

  • Chris Heier

    Most recent UNODC figures on the Netherlands has their homicide rate at 1.1 / 100,000. Note that this is overall homicides, which includes firearms related, stabbings and other methods of murder.

  • Jake

    This was a very well written article on the issue. I wish the major news outlets wrote their stories like this article is written. I like that you presented data but you made no effort to use that data to support an opinion one way or the other. You just presented the data as it appeared and even included a very objective summary to keep others from jumping to conclusions themselves.

    I am an American gun owner and carrier and I don’t like it when people present data to support their opinions one way or the other. When this happens you can pretty much guarantee that the data being presented has been skewed to some extent in an effort to prove a particular point. It is generally very difficult to find accurate data that provides a full scope on a particular subject because in many cases the data was collected by people trying to either support their own argument or down play someone else’s

    Like I said, I am a gun owner and carrier and support the rights of American’s to own, carry, and protect themselves with guns. Even so I don’t like when data is improperly presented even in support of an opinion I hold.

    For example, I have heard many times by supporters of gun ownership about Switzerland’s high gun ownership and low crime rate. The folks presenting the data to support gun ownership try to imply that the 2nd thing is the result of the first. They fail to recognize many other factors however that affect that data, like the fact that the majority of gun owners in Switzerland acquire their fire arms as a result of mandatory military service. This means that each and every one of them has received military firearms training before receiving a firearm. Their military service although mandatory, is generally viewed as a duty that their citizens are happy to perform. It doesn’t feel forced from the point of view of the citizens and is viewed more as a means of safety than patriotism. Here in America, military servicemen are viewed as heroes who sacrifice their lives to serve the greater good of the people. In Switzerland I think that aspect is much more downplayed because it’s something that everyone does as a means of protection and not heroism. It’s patriotism but without any sort of Fascism mixed in, it’s a more humble sort of service for love of the people more than the country.

    I think this is something that needs to be factored in when looking at Switzerland. Here in the US we view guns as being cool and as having a sense of mystery and ultimate power. In Switzerland they view guns and gun ownership with much more respect than we do. To them guns are a very dangerous tool as a means to protect the people from invaders. I know that Americans say the same thing but in Switzerland it’s everybody’s duty to protect and here it’s the Government’s duty to protect. I think that’s where Americans fear the power of the Gov’t over the people via military power and superiority. We have to trust the military who works for the Gov’t to protect the people without abusing that power and using it as a means to control the people. This fear of the Gov’t is fueled by American History and is a central point that drives American gun ownership here. In Switzerland, I don’t believe they have that same mentality because in Switzerland the military are the people. They don’t work for the Gov’t so to speak, they work for people with the goal of protecting each other. I’m not sure if my point is coming through but to me there seems to be more of a sense of community. Here we protect ourselves because we believe we are the most powerful nation in the world and our military is much more arrogant about it. Our military is a show of power and pride in how great we feel we are. In Switzerland, they know what it feels like to be occupied, they know that they are weak compared to nations with a more powerful military and their main goal is to protect themselves from invasion.

    Their gun ownership I think can be more directly compared to how the Founding Fathers of America intended gun ownership to be. They felt that everyone in the country should own a gun so that everyone in the country could be ready to defend against foreign invaders. Guns in Switzerland are viewed as a last means of the people to protect themselves from foreign invaders. They are used as a tool of protection that the people hope they never have to use much like a fire extinguisher or AED. You have it in case you need it but the hope is that you never will have to use it.

    Overall though, I feel like the Swiss view of military service and how each person fits in their place in their country is more comraderous than in America. It’s more like a small community, they have a very realistic view of their place in this world and that carries over into their society. I think this more than anything has the greater affect on their crime rate. I don’t think the criminals there think to themselves that if they commit a crime that they will be shot by the large amount of armed citizens. As far as I understand it, most citizens keep their firearms locked up and do not carry personally. Their firearms I believe are primarily rifles and not handguns as well. I think the criminals (as funny as it may sound) have a better sense of community and wouldn’t think of a gun the same way criminals here do.

    Thank you again for a very objective view of gun ownership in Japan without the purpose or means to push an agenda one way or the other. I believe that we need changes in the gun laws here but I think we need more education and not more control. If you change the way people view guns, you change the way people feel about them and that will change the way people use them too. If you can successfully educate people about guns in an objective way and allow them to decide for themselves you will find a much more realistic view will begin to form. Once you try to “educate” in an effort to push an agenda you will find that the opinions formed will be formed in ignorance and without understanding and that will solve nothing at all.

  • ジョサイア

    If america makes guns really hard to own people will start using swords like in japan…Or maybe chainsaws O_o

  • Viet

    I haven’t looked at the sources, but I imagine suicide by firearm is not classified as homicide. But then again, I don’t think it would account for 100% of the difference in the gap.

  • Viet

    Nerf guns. All the nerf gun war training in the office isn’t just for fun.

  • Tora.Silver

    After seeing that graph, I want to run screaming from the US.

  • persianOUTKAST

    not sure why people are down-voting you.
    your numbers are accurate.
    other than the CDC, another great source for gun statistics:

  • Michael Flux

    Perhaps it’s just me, but it feels like the vast majority of the ‘gun ownership’ problems in US stem from a very insecure, overcompensating and paranoid culture as a whole.

  • Jeremy Rawley

    The numbers are fudged.Britain has a much HIGHER murder rate than America.

    People kill people. Inanimate objects don’t. You don’t see us banning cars every time someone drives drunk. You don’t see us banning computers every time someone commits identity theft. You don’t see us banning fists after bar fights and sports riots.

    Anti-gunners just hate freedom, and Japan is no exception. They need to ditch those barbaric laws and acknowledge the fact that their people have the right to bear arms or come under American rule as punishment for their crimes against humanity. Wonder how they were able to colonize Korea and Manchuria? Nanking? The Bataan Death March? Put two and two together.

  • Chris Heier

    No idea… it’s just data, and straight from the source too. Maybe it has more to say about the people voting me down rather than the information presented. Or maybe it has to do with me right of the bat saying the authors US stats were inaccurate.

  • Chris Heier

    While I agree with your sentiments, here are a few facts.

    The murder rate in the US is higher than the UK (4.8 to 1.2 respectively). What I think you are thinking about is the crime rate in general (which includes violent crime).

    If you opened it up to simply crime in general, then you would be correct. The US with 11,877,218 crimes committed including violent crime, and a population of 311,591,917 (give or take), would mean that 3.8% of the population has been affected by crime.

    In the UK, 6,523,706 crimes committed and a population of around 62,641,000 would mean that 10.4% of the population is effected by crime in some form or another.

    This essentially means crime rate is 274% higher in the UK than the US. I’m looking for specifically violent crime, which includes murder, burglaries, rape, etc, but haven’t found a good source yet, but from what I have found thus far, the UK has the highest violent crime rate in the EU.

  • Chris Heier

    Suicide in general is not considered homicide. The CDC separates intentional self harm from assault. Having said that, around half of suicides in the US use firearms. The suicide rate in 2009 in the US was around 12, or 36,909. 18,735 of those were firearm related (about 6 / 100,000). Japan’s suicide rate is nearly double that of the US.

  • Viet

    Gotcha. I’ve looked at the source and it says firearm related homicides. I was basing my understanding of the matter from the graphic above used, where it says “firearm related death rates”. Hence, where the confusion lies.

  • Chris Heier

    In 2007 (I can’t find current numbers at the moment), justifiable homicide (police killing and citizen self defense) accounted for 645 deaths. This would account for nearly 4% of homicides for that year.

  • lychalis

    I really don’t see what you’re on about when you say that anti-gunners hate freedom. It makes absolutely no sense. Guns make it a lot easier to kill people. Unlike knives and fists, where you have to be up close and personal – hence ‘crime of passion’ – guns are impersonal, and it only takes a muscle twitch to shoot it – maybe getting past the actual psychological barrier to consciously pull the trigger is hard, but I’m sure it’s easy enough to do by mistake.

    The funny thing is, America seems to be a largely hypocritical country, since a large amount of it’s inhabitants are not only pro-guns, but hating of the freedom of others, be it through religion or sexual preference or whatever else you can think of. Thus we have a person with the ability to harm someone with a muscle twitch, and holding the belief that someone else is somehow below them for living their life differently. I’m not saying everyone is like this – it’s just an example to show my point. You get people like that everywhere, it’s just that America is a very large country so naturally you’d find more.

    And by the way ‘come under American rule’? So the idea of freedom only applies to Americans? Yes, Japan were dicks in the war but from what I’m aware of, they’re not all that proud of it either. Besides, I thought we’d ditched the colonial idea with the end of the British empire. Guess not.

  • lychalis

    I think I remember reading that switzerland is also one of the countries with a neutral perspective when it comes to how others live their life, so that probably helps as well

  • Guest

    if I could like this I would

  • Jon

    I thought they made katanas illegal in Japan after World War II.

  • lychalis

    yeah but knives are easy enough to get

  • Nobody

    I see clearly, that the firearm-related-death-rate of Japan could be dropped to 0 if they would sell more guns there, if there teachers would have guns and if they would teach 4 years old children how to use a gun – isn’t it ? ;-)

  • 古戸ヱリカ

    Dear America,

    Please, please, please make guns really hard to own. It will be awesome.

    Thank you,
    Furudo Erika

  • 古戸ヱリカ

    Sure, gun related deaths in Japan is uncommon, but look at those stats. They’re all being killed by James Bond!

  • Xaromir

    I think the relation between guns per capita and gun related deaths is much more interesting than those two stats by themselves, and i must say: It’s good that it’s hard to get a gun, though i think having police check up on you and just because you own one and all that, is a little much.

  • Sean Douglas affirms the approximately 10 / 100k rate from firearms, though the data is a bit old (2006 data posted by the CDC in 2009) and seems to include injuries as well as deaths. It’s possible it was just an oversight in the article.

  • unger

    It’s just you.

    It’s only insecurity, overcompensating, and paranoia until something happens to you. But hey, we don’t have to worry about those things, because democracies never go bad, amirite?

    It isn’t just me; it’s a simple fact that the vast majority of the opposition to gun ownership in the US stems from a very historically illiterate, la-di-da, Candy Land view of government power – because the people who oppose civilian gun ownership never have the slightest thing to say about those in power, and imagine that pieces of paper, especially ones deposited in boxes every few years, can stave off power’s corrupting influence.

    Since this is a Japanese forum, it’d be nice to see an article on Hideyoshi’s Great Sword Hunt of 1588, and what followed that. (Hint: it was pretty sweet if you were one of the few who got to keep your arms. Not so much if not.)

  • Jonathan Schultz

    This is the first time I have seen someone be rational and present balanced data since this whole thing got started. Thanks.

  • MrsSpooky

    Chris there are a ton of inaccurate stats going around. The rate of gun ownership has jumped immensely in the past 4 years, yet the overall homicide rate is dropping. Rather interesting trend I would say, no? :)

  • MrsSpooky

    Jonathan, too many media outlets are more about the agenda than they are about the news. It’s so hard to get at the truth these days, because it’s not widely disseminated.

  • MrsSpooky

    Hammers and blunt objects are very popular. More homicides each year from all blunt objects combined than from guns.

  • MrsSpooky

    I can’t agree. Japan is a completely different country with a completely different history and a different culture. What’s right for one country isn’t necessarily right for another. They have a very low crime rate which I think is more a reflection of their culture than the lack of firearms. I would never presume to tell Japan or any other country what they should do, just like I appreciate other countries not telling us what WE should do. From here, it looks like Japan has made mistakes just like a great number of other countries, but it looks like Japan has learned from those mistakes and has taken steps not to repeat them.

    I do worry about them sometimes though. They’re a tiny country that’s very close to a very large and not entirely friendly country. Would they be able to defend themselves? I think even if every citizen there was armed it wouldn’t be nearly enough to protect themselves without outside help.

  • MrsSpooky

    The US has 50 states. Each state has their own laws. Some states it’s very difficult to get a gun or a permit to carry one. Some cities have just about outright banned them – Washington DC for one, and Chicago. Chicago is a mess with the homicides and tons of gun violence in DC. How could that happen if guns aren’t allowed?

    I live in Florida. You are allowed to own guns here. Go to the gun store to buy one, you can but you have to wait three days, and you need a background check. Interesting form that needs to be filled out to buy one too. You want a permit? Submit fingerprints and photo and a form with your money and you get a background check. Even with a permit, you can walk out of the store with a gun the same day, BUT… they call in a background check on your anyway.

    I’ll give up my guns as soon as the bad guys give up theirs first. I’m a female who lives alone, I have no other means of defense.

    And there is that saying that’s very true – “when seconds count, the police are minutes away”

  • MrsSpooky

    Hi Hashi, I like the article, at least the part about gun ownership (or lack thereof) in Japan. I didn’t think it was at all possible for a civilian to own a gun in Japan, but the difficulties could be part of the reason the rate is so low. Does anyone there even WANT to own a gun? Just curious. I know Japan doesn’t have the gun culture that the United States has always had, so the attitude would be much different I would expect.

  • SaraWyatt

    I’d like the stats on box-cutter-related assaults and murders. They seem to be the high schooler’s weapon of choice. I’m surprised they haven’t put restrictions on those. lol

  • milos

    I love you.

  • Chris

    You’re certainly right about New Hampshire being safe in regards to guns. There are gun deaths (mostly in Manchester, Nashua, and Salem, though they do happen everywhere across the state), but they are few and far between. I think the worst gun-related problem NH had while I was living there was a 2-hour or so long standoff with some dude in a small town up north. I remember it drove everyone nuts because it happened so soon after Columbine and happened to take place in a town called Littleton.

  • dvhh

    Japan made laws to regulate the length of knife you can carry after some knife massacre

  • Admiral Awesome

    Personally, I would think it’s 1) because it’s tl;dr for a comment, 2) this article is called
    “Guns in Japan.” He’s going on a huge tangent on little image in the whole article. If people wanted to know statistics of guns in the US, they would be a site that wasn’t this one. There was a simple message in this article: Japan has tight gun control. His comment was outside that idea, and thus probably outside the realm of anyone caring.

  • Kurone Shizuhi

    Hi Hashi, sorry, grammar nazi here, but in your 2nd paragraph, you wrote “One of the places that’s been getting a lot of attention in Japan.” I think you meant to say, “a lot of attention is Japan.” Am I correct to guess that?

  • MrsSpooky

    I posted this comment earlier, but I don’t see it. Hashi, do people in Japan even WANT to own guns? I can’t imagine that they would, there isn’t really a reason.

  • Henderson101

    Possibly because the fact is that living in the UK, the only guns I’ve ever seen have been held by the Police or Military. I’m sorry, I don’t know of a single gun owner and live in a pretty deprived area – one where general crime is pretty high. Gun related crime is restricted mainly to high profile theft (bank robbery etc) and gang related activities. I’m not saying criminals don’t own guns, but I’m saying it’s nowhere as bad as in the US. Yes there are places you might want to stay clear of at night, but that’s the same as in the US. I think you also need to look at the correlation between gun related deaths in the UK (population of 60 Million) and a similarly densely populated area of the US (say, New York state, which has about a third of the population of the UK.) The deaths in the same space of time (2011 when I last compared them) were about 10 times higher in the NT State. That’s just one small area of the US. Proportionally, the difference is more like you are 50+ times more likely to be murdered by gun shot in the US. I think the stats where something like over 9000 deaths in the US vs 40 in the UK, which when adjusted proportionally by population, made the UK figures more like 150.

    The other point is that our culture is very different. No one really wants a gun. Guns are seen as “tempting fate” rather than providing protection. Owning a gun is probably as complicated and almost as hard to achieve as in Japan

    Knives are more or less illegal also. Carrying a lock knife is an offence, carrying any type of knife that doesn’t not have a folding blade (or a folding blade knife with a blade over 3 inches) without a very good reason (e.g. Chef) is an offence. It is illegal to sell any kind of knife to a minor (any, even cutlery.)

    I think this is a lot like seatbelts and crash helmets for the US. They have always been a legal requirement for my whole life. I’ve never driven a car on a public road without wearing a seatbelt – and any time I’ve driven a car without a seatbelt, it feels like I’m naked – completely unnatural. Same with helmets for motorcycles.

    It’s cultural, it doesn’t need to make sense to you, it makes perfect sense to me and I don’t understand why anyone would want to own a gun.

  • Henderson101

    Ah – so the self proclaimed “greatest country” in the world and “saviour of democracy” are so paranoid that they don’t trust their own government? Right… there’s your issue. If you’re doing the whole “democracy” thing “right”, and were actually the greatest and free-est country, as you love to proclaim, there would be no need for you to worry. Owning guns is therefore a manifestation of America’s paranoia.

  • henderson101

    >Chicago is a mess with the homicides and tons of gun violence in DC.
    > How could that happen if guns aren’t allowed?

    Simple – if you live in a city that bans guns but that is surrounded by gun selling states, and you wanted a gun… you do the maths. Banning guns in an area next to an area where guns are not banned and then allowing free movement – how is that even vaguely going to stop illegal gun ownership? This isn’t exactly rocket science, is it?

  • stefafra

    are you including hunting weapons? Just wondering, as going to shoot pigeons and rabbits around here is considered almost as “biological control of vermin” (I live in Norfolk, UK).
    ps: I lived in Switzerland and news about people going mad and using their “army gun” (long story, as a Swiss male citizen you are supposed to have a gun in your house, to be ready to defend the country, to tell it the short way) to kill the family, the boss and colleagues, and (usually) themselves at the end, or just to menace of doing so (a form of domestic violence) has prompted requests to enforce a separate and controlled storage of the guns in question. Like in a “village armory” instead than at home…No idea haw it went, as I moved and stopped following Swiss news.

  • ジョサイア

    That’s why seiner chaps are the ones that attack people with swords :/

  • ジョサイア

    Umm…If you are not really rich this probably wont be seen by anyone in the government :/

  • ジョサイア

    if everyone used nerf guns the gun death rate would drop to almost 0…Untill someone makes flaming bullets :/

  • ジョサイア

    My toe was appressed by a hammer once! D:

  • unger

    And exactly where did I give the slightest applause for American exceptionalism? Where did I say America was ‘the greatest country’ or ‘free-est country’, let alone the ‘saviour of democracy’? Nowhere, that’s where. In fact, considering that I expressly indicated my distrust of government power and my dislike of people whose insipid parochialism keeps them from seeing the indisputable (and, let us note, undisputed) reasons for that distrust, you should immediately have gathered that I do NOT proclaim that America is ‘the greatest country’, ‘the saviour of democracy’, etc., etc. Hence your objection collapses for want of relevance.

    But thanks for giving the class two nice illustrations: first, of a red herring, and second, of a reading comprehension fail.

  • Chris Heier

    It is an interesting stat, though I’d argue that correlation does not equal causation in this case as homicide rates across the board in many countries are going down, though over the last 15 years, it has dropped 40%, the highest rate of drop of the G20 nations.

  • Chris Heier

    Emotion drives the majority of policy. A good example of this is the focus on mass shootings as opposed to overall homicide. Ben Shapiro pointed this out to Piers Morgan when trying to focus on handguns as causing more death than “assault weapons”. People have big emotion over mass deaths be it shootings, plane crashes, etc. I prefer to look at things purely from a data and statistical standpoint.

  • Chris Heier

    Most statistics I’ve come across will tend to exclude self inflicted harm (suicide) from gun related deaths as those are generally considered to happen regardless of whether a firearm is used or not. Japan and Korea re two perfect examples of this issue.

  • Chris Heier

    I believe that number includes suicides as well, where as I’m trying to focus more on homicides, essentially where the victim didn’t want to or intend to die.

  • Chris Heier

    I guess by your logic, the original poster probably shouldn’t have posted statistics about firearms here?

  • lychalis

    I was talking about kitchen knives, but fair enough ^_^

  • unger

    Like you said: it’s cultural. We Americans have good reason to distrust the police and military, having spent some time under your military’s boots – which, let us not forget, were, at the time, our own military’s boots – a couple of centuries back. Unlike you, we aren’t so naive as to think that human nature has changed in that short time.

    Which is to say that American guns don’t make sense to you, but they ought to. Fortunately, they make perfect sense to us, and we don’t understand why anyone with a lick of self-respect would want to be helpless and utterly dependent on authorities that, in every era, the whole world over, have a long and bloody history of turning on their own people whenever they find it profitable to do so.

  • Jangta

    Great article on a very sensitive issue. For such a touchy issue, I’m glad you presented the topic without any bias and with facts and statistics.

    I live here in Seoul, KR, where guns are also extremely hard to get (like Japan). While I admit, it does feel safe to not worry about a shooting walking the streets of Seoul at night, at the same time, I know there are a lot of responsible, safe gun owners in places like the US and Switzerland. It may be easy to say “let’s ban firearms and that will solve a lot of problems.” However, a lot of times, it comes down to educating people about firearms and respecting one another.

    Like Switzerland, Koreans have a mandatory military service (2 years) that all males must serve. They train to learn how to shoot a gun, and thus, have more respect for the firearm once discharged from the army.

    The culture is also dictates the different needs between countries. In Korea and Japan, for instance, the hunting culture isn’t as big as say, the US. Also, the history of the US had the intention of arming citizens to overthrown their government if things went unruly or to expel invaders. But for the two Asian countries mentioned, due to culture and past history, there’s not much of a need to own a gun.

    In any case, there will be people that want to keep their guns, while others have no need to own one. For either opinion, totally cool. I just hope in the future that the guns stay within the hands of the responsible owners and away from the criminals and crazy bunch. Hopefully, not just gun related crimes go down, but all crimes will decline in the years to come :).

  • Admiral Awesome

    Not at all, it’s definitely relevant. By giving people a grasp of the article with some statistics is a nice little addition, but that’s it. A little addition, not the whole articles focus, but you took it from an addition and threw it into a sizable comment, which could have been a blog in itself, which just threw it off topic.

    I read your whole comment so there’s no need to take your down votes out on me, I’ve just known the internet well enough to guess how the generic blog reader would take that comment.

  • Bradley Warren Hanstad

    Pretty sure Singapore beats Japan, but I don’t know current nonsense.

  • Kira

    I think if you mean other factors which sees the reason why Japan has the lowest gun ownership rate despite your claims of a skewered data might be also due to airsofting,and as you you know airsofting is also a well penetrated market in Japan so this can offset the few reasons why despite having a tight law on gun owner ship people still can own guns replicas of course

  • Flora

    I read an article on Cracked a few days ago about gun violence & video games, and the author brought up a very interesting point – he said, “we are a nation of warriors without a war”. We don’t honor our troops, we glorify them, war, and – admit it – violence in general. If we didn’t, what else explains how “Call of Duty” got so popular?

    We usually like to compare ourselves to Rome, but we’re more like Sparta than any other past civilization. In all honesty, we really value machismo & “toughness” more than intelligence & compassion in America. That “warrior” mentality could be a strong factor into why we value gun ownership so much and are convinced that average citizens need to be battle-ready.

  • Chris Taran

    There is never any good reason to own a lethal weapon. Buy a taser or other non-lethal/less-lethal weapon if you want to protect yourself.

  • Jonadab

    Those “guns per capita” numbers look very wrong to me. In particular, I’m almost certain the number of guns per capita in America (overall) is less than 1, or at least not very much more than 1 (everywhere I’ve ever lived, it’s closer to 0.1), and 88 is absurd. No place has anywhere near that that many guns per capita, not South Central L.A., not a military base during wartime, not a hunting lodge, not anywhere.

  • Darren Sander

    I don’t believe that the “gun responsibility” statistic you offered is really accurate or static enough to be worth considering. It’s entirely speculation, especially when we consider simple statistics we have that attest to the opposite. For instance, the US has a .2 ratio of accidental fire-arm related deaths, where as Japan has “0”. We should also consider the fact that the number of firearm related homicide deaths in Japan is .02 in 100,000 (literally a two digit number, annually), whereas America maintains a relatively high 3.6. That is to say that, proportionately, the United States has a gun-related homicide rate 180 times higher than that of Japan. With a much greater general homicide rate (4.8 to Japan’s .40, 12 times higher), we can easily connect the leniency of gun distribution in America to not only an increase in gun related deaths, but general murders as well.

  • Chris Heier

    Comparing murder rates between Japan and America and directly tying it to firearms isn’t really fair. There is a major cultural difference between the two countries which cannot be discounted. There is a lot of culture in Japan directly influenced by the feudal era and oppressive rule, whereas the US was driven mainly by the desire for personal liberties, opportunity and many constitutional rights. Also, as shown in countries with higher rates of murder, the common threads tend to be economic situations, drugs and gang activity. Take Mexico for instance where gun control is severe. Those armed are generally involved in the drug cartels. They also play a major role in the Mexican murder rate.

  • orenji

    That means there area lot more gruesome deaths in other countries, lol…

  • R

    I’ll not argue about we should have gun or not. But you logic of calculation is incorrect (Yes, ratio value is correct calculate but I’m not means that way). You cant compare it by ratio like that, you must just look it by trend/scale. For example, if we talk about country ‘A’ with 100 people, All people have 4 guns. And they kill each other 40 die. You’ll says rate is 40/400=0.1 Country ‘B’ with 100 people, 2 peoples have 1 gun (All only 2) and kill 1 person. You’ll says rate is 1/2=0.5 Have less gun will have more murder? You can simply says NO. It just because ‘A’ have overly number of gun. So its divider is just large until rate is low. If you still not understand, just take another math says that each people have 400000 guns (it’s just a joke but you can see some misconcept of yours here). So rate is 0.000001? lol
    People have 1 gun or people have 100 guns will have nearly fire-arm related death rate. Your calculation makes latter case look better while it should seem equal

    OK, you still can use ratio if you proper think about people who have gun (Because you’re thinking about ‘irresponsibility’ of what? of ‘people’ not of ‘gun’ itself) Assume USA for who have guns usual have 2 guns (I think in fact it’s more if you really use average value): irresponsibility=
    3.3 / (88.8/2) = 0.037*2 = 0.074 compare to Canada 2.13 / 30.8 = 0.069 Also, you cant compare to other country that huge difference because I just think to take side with your point so I assume 1 people have only 2 guns.

    In fact, forget about above calculation. That just describe that if you want to scale irresponsibility you must base on people, not gun.

    But the point is more gun=more fire-arm related death rate is still real. You seen the number? Gun amount increase->fire-arm related deaths rate increase just that! You dont have to make more ratio by do math.
    1. If you divide like that. It just mean ‘rate is not exponential’. But it’s still increase trend. For more understanding:
    If 10 people not eat any food 5 days they’ll die 6.
    If 10 people not eat any food 7 days they’ll die 7.
    Is not mean if you don’t eat any food 7 days is have die people less than 5 days. Just that increment rate decreased. It’s still means INCREASE Rate, not DECREASE.
    0. It’s already rate. (It’s already calculated in the right manner)
    (#0 here because it’s most important)

    PS. I’m not against people should have gun or not. I just says that your logic is wrong.

  • R

    lol Also here, I’m not math teacher or anything (So.. sorry for interfere with them).

    You must only says that 10.4%-3.8%=UK 6.6% more that US (If you prior calculation for 10.4 and 3.8 is correct and it can be use this way).

    How do you get 274%?
    10.4/3.8 then %? (*100)

    Percent ratio of ratio, ouch. You can increase this ratio, you know?
    UK is 6.6% difference from US, US is 3.8-3.8=0% difference from US

    So UK is 6.6*100/0 = 100 times of ‘infinity’ value of ratio from US.
    lol Just a kidding

    Don’t just divide the number by no means to makes it more and more. You may say some correct but you usually makes over stat. More stat difference may looking good in first glance.. but many people can see through it and think: Wow, is it real.. Nah, I don’t think it’s real stat.. this’s not credible. Sorry, it may seem annoying to you. But as I said, topic’s owner way of using data is better that using it like this. Although some comment says it’s not calculated, ..’just presented the data as it appeared and even included a very
    objective summary to keep others from jumping to conclusions themselves.

    I am an American gun owner and carrier and I don’t like it when
    people present data to support their opinions one way or the other.’..
    But I think another way around: it’s better to give uncalculated correct data. That means you can jumping to conclusions themselves even though he’s already conclude it. If not so.. why have back hand around from the same data as this??

    Use normal stat don’t tend to bias by calculate whatever that have no meaning.

  • R

    It fact, label’s incorrect here. It’s Number of guns per ***100 residents. Which is compare to your though (1 unit): it’s 0.888 for US: means 1 resident have around 1 gun. Don’t forget many people have more than 1 at the same time you have no gun *Just example*. So around 1/resident in US (2007), I think it’s nearly data.

  • R

    I think same as henderson101. Just simple :)

    Also people in US must have gun as you said. I ever have thug neighborhood, cant image if they have gun why I shouldn’t have it. It’s also horrible anyway. It’s better for me that normally people have no gun (I’m not in US). But if I live there, I’m sure I’ll have it as you Mrs.Tiger

  • feloneouscat

    Chris, your numbers are way off.

    The 10.2 number for the United States is, in fact, correct. There are approximately 30,000 firearm deaths for the total population. That works out to about 10.2 per 100,000.

    What the measure is exactly what it says: the firearms related deaths.

    HOWEVER your argument is “oh, let’s IGNORE anything except homicides” – in other words you are throwing out MANY firearms related deaths because you want to make the numbers look different.

    That’s not called science. That’s called propaganda.

    NOWHERE does the OP say “firearm related murder rate”.

    So, what did we learn from your exercise? You want to throw out firearm related deaths because they make firearms look bad. You want to recalculate the numbers. Then you come up with a phony-baloney calculation that assumes that all firearms in the US are fully functional.

    You know, I understand statistics. I work with numbers daily. Mortality and morbidity is done the way it is done for a reason.

    I’m sure you think you are terribly clever by using homicide figures instead of total deaths, but that is, as I said, purely propaganda. That is not how public health is done. it doesn’t throw out deaths because they are inconvenient or don’t fit a narrative.

    The OP was correct and Chris is totally incorrect. If you wish to buy into propaganda or swamp land, then trust his numbers. But they have nothing to do with reality.

  • jacob

    i’d like to know what would happen if Japan did’nt use rifles