Letter: Nations’ respective populations not a factor in gun deaths argument

Editor: I’m not sure if your readers are so “propagandized” that they don’t really read my letters, but I’ll try again.

All objections seem to be based on population/homicide rate, but I’ve never made any such comparison.  I am talking about gun-to-homicide rates. This has nothing to do with population.

All the numbers I have quoted are drawn, not from “gun control” websites, or any other source than official numbers published by the FBI, the RCMP and StatsCan or other official government agencies.

And, I stand by my numbers that statistically a licensed gun in Canada is over six times more likely to be used in a homicide than a gun in the United States.

[I will make one modification:  the best evidence I can find is that according to some estimates, there are also approximately 5,000,000 unlicensed guns in Canada.  Assuming that estimate is correct, any particular gun in Canada is about as likely to be used in a homicide as a gun in the U.S.]

Therefore, all the extensive “gun control” in Canada makes it no less likely that any particular gun will be used in a homicide than in the “uncontrolled” U.S.   Unless one is willing to suggest that the Canadian people are generally far more homicidal (by all means, not just using guns) than Americans (in truth, in 2014 Canadians were only 43 per cent as homicidal as Americans), it would suggest that strict gun control laws make no difference in what percentage of those controlled Canadian guns will be used in a homicide.

One might argue from this that if the number of guns in Canada doubled, the number of homicides would also double.  First, a couple of facts need to be considered:  In the U.S., 70 per cent of all homicides are done with a gun; in Canada only 30 per cent of homicide victims are killed with a gun.  It doesn’t follow, however, that if guns were as available in Canada as the U.S. that hundreds of otherwise non-homicidal Canadians would take up murder. It’s more likely that offenders, instead of stabbing, poisoning, strangling, smothering, drowning, exploding (bombing) or bludgeoning the victim to death, might choose to use a gun.

One interesting comparison is knife to gun homicides:  In the U.S. there are 17.6 per cent knife homicides to gun homicides.  In Canada there are 121 per cent knife homicides to gun homicides.  Canadian murderers, it seem, just substitute knives (or other means) for guns.

Another factor that needs to be considered is that Americans seem to have a far more homicidal nature than Canadians.  In 2014 in the U.S. there was one homicide (by all means, not just guns) per 26,028 Americans while in the same year in Canada there was just one homicide (by all means) per 60,140 Canadians.  It would be hard to argue that if guns were as uncontrolled in Canada as in the U.S. that the number of Canadians who choose to use homicide as a “solution” to a problem would increase by 230 per cent.

The only difference would likely be that more homicides would be committed by gun, but fewer by other means.

On the other hand, an analysis of five years worth of statistics collected by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics’ “National Crime Victimization Survey” shows that a gun is used to stop a crime in the U.S. an average of 67,740 times a year.

Not all of those are homicides, of course, but if even one eighth of them do stop a homicide, it means that the potential murder rate has been cut in half.  And, none of this considers how many times a homicide may have been prevented when the bad guy refrains from attempting a homicide because he can’t be sure if his intended victim might pull out their gun to fire back.

One cannot help but wonder how many homicides, rapes and other violent crimes in Canada might have been prevented if we law abiding Canadians were as free to protect us and our families as the Americans are — but here one can’t even use pepper spray to save themselves or their family.

It all boils down to my original contention, it isn’t controlling the guns that makes one whit of difference in how often any particular gun is used in a homicide, rape, or other violent crime.  The lower homicide rate in Canada is not due to gun control, but because Canadians are only 43 per cent as homicidally inclined as Americans.  In short, the bad guys will obtain them and use guns for their crimes whether guns are “controlled” or not, and the good guys, no matter how many guns they own, don’t use them in crime.

The difference is in the morality of the people, not in the “immorality” of guns.

Paul M. Bowman