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[Anecdotes] Guns & Homicide

An old study, one of questionable validity, shows that firearm availability is correlated with homicide rates. [Anecdotes]

Firearm availability and homicide rates across 26 high-income countries.


Among developed nations, the United States has the highest rate of civilian gun ownership, and the highest homicide rate. We examine whether the United States is merely an exception, or if a relationship between gun availability and homicide exists across all developed nations.


Homicide rates for the early 1990s come from 26 of 27 of the highly industrialized or high-income countries with greater than 1 million population as classified by the World Bank. Two common proxies for gun availability are used, the percentage of suicides with a firearm, and the”Cook index,” the average of the percentage of suicides with a firearm and the percentage of homicides with a firearm.


In simple regressions (no control variables) across 26 high-income nations, there is a strong and statistically significant association between gun availability and homicide rates.


Across developed countries, where guns are more available, there are more homicides.

Hemenway D and Miller M. J Trauma. 2000 Dec; 49 (6): 985-8. 



Cedric Dark, MD, MPH, FACEP, FAAEM
About Cedric Dark, MD, MPH, FACEP, FAAEM

Cedric Dark, MD, MPH, FACEP, FAAEM is Founder and Executive Editor of Policy Prescriptions®. A summa cum laude graduate of Morehouse College, where he received a B.S. in biology, Dr. Dark earned his medical degree from New York University School of Medicine. He holds a master’s degree from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. He completed his residency training at George Washington University while serving as Chief Resident in the 2009-2010 academic year. Currently, Dr. Dark is an Assistant Professor in the Section of Emergency Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine. He serves on the American College of Emergency Physicians‘ State Legislative and Regulatory Committee, the Texas College of Emergency Physicians‘ Communications Committee, and produces a health policy podcast for the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Dark’s commentary and opinions on this website are his own and do not represent the views of Baylor College of Medicine, the American College of Emergency Physicians, the American Academy of Emergency Medicine, or the Texas College of Emergency Physicians. Contact: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | YouTube | More Posts

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