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UK Gun Ownership Up, Deaths Down Offering Stark Comparison with US Figures

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Gun deaths last year in the UK at 51 were down by 18 percent , yet private gun ownership continues to grow with 1.8 million legally held. Obviously there's no way of telling how many illegal guns are in circulation. But, before you begin yelling for even tighter gun laws, compare this to the annual American bloodbath.http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/mar/25/gun-ownership-firearms-certificates?INTCMP=SRCH

In 2010 there were 12,996 murders in the US. Of those, 8,775 were caused by firearms. But, that figure is small compared to accidental shooting deaths which brings the annual total to more than 30,000.http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/jan/10/gun-crime-us-state

The fact is gun ownership to millions of Americans has become sort of an obsessive-compulsive disorder, almost a reason to be alive...or dead.

The offensive defensive posture of the gun lobby and right wing politicians in the wake of the Tucson bloodbath, in which six people died, points out how sensitive and militant these hardy frontier characters are in their pick-ups and RVs. Just give them a gun rack and a "proud to be an American" sticker for the rear bumper of their Japanese car and its almost like being in heaven...a destination some may annually reach.

Now, I have nothing against people owning guns for sport or self-defense. I once owned one. What I find about as hard to swallow as a slug from a Colt .45 is their almost sensuous love for these weapons and the need to buy more and more of them, from automatic hand guns to assault rifles. To me, some of these people seem less than civilized morons...morons who feel they have a God given right to buy guns. They feel these weapons will act as a safeguard against tyranny and protector of liberty. Or perhaps they are just powers symbols, similar to owning a pit bull in council flat.

They apparently haven't been paying too much attention to national and world events to not notice that the liberties they so cherish are gradually being eroded, and without a shot from their guns being fired in their defense.

The US Constitutions guarantees citizens the right to bear arms. But bearing arms doesn't specifically mean owning arms. It means we have the right to carry guns. So, the mere mention of gun control after incidents such as Tucson and its panic stations for the gun lobby.

Yet, I have to ask myself are more than 32,000 gun deaths, 9,000 by criminal acts, the mark of a civilized society? Because, as an American I would like to think I'm part of an advanced civilized nation that puts the welfare of its citizens above all other concerns.

Firearm injury in the United States averaged 32,300 deaths annually between 1980 and 2006. It's the second leading cause of death from injury after motor vehicle crashes.

Firearms are involved in 68% of homicides, 52% of suicides, 43% of robberies, and 21% of aggravated assaults. In the last twenty-four years, an average of 32,300 Americans died each year from firearm
Injuries.

Firearm death rates in the United States vary by state and may show a correlation between urban wealth and education vs. rural poverty and unsophistication. The states with the highest firearm death rates are California, Louisiana, Alaska, Nevada, Mississippi and Alabama. The states with the lowest rates include Hawaii, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York.

Compared to high-income Asian countries (Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan), the firearm mortality rate in the U.S. is more than 70 times higher (14.24 per 100,000 in the U.S. compared to 0.1925 per 100,000 in Asia).

The correlation between firearm availability and rates of homicide is consistent across high-income industrialized nations: where there are more firearms, there are higher rates of homicide overall. The U.S. has among the highest rates of both firearm homicide and private firearm ownership. In 2001 an estimated 35% of U.S. households.

Compared to other developed countries, no one can come near the US. The following are gun deaths for 2008: Germany - 381, France - 255, Canada - 165, UK - 68, Australia - 65 and Japan - 39. On the other hand, even the US figures are dwarfed by South Africa where gun murders annually often total more than 30,000 in a nation with one-sixth the US population.

Aside from that, you can't escape the conclusion: There's something terribly wrong with America...because these aren't one-off stats...they happen every year. And as economic conditions continue to be depressed and the impoverished numbers grow, so will gun violence. Granted, we are not the most violent nation in the world, but as I said, for developed and so-called civilized societies, we seem to be way out in front.

What to do about it? Look to London, as an example, where yobs mainly knife, not shoot, people. http://knifecrime.blogspot.com/search/label/Knife%20crime%20statistics%20map%20of%20UK%20for%202008