Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fun With Numbers

I suppose I should chime in on this feel-good news story before it's completely blog-flogged to death. Though, it's about 10:00 at night, so I might a little late for that.

Via Reuters:

U.S. most armed country with 90 guns per 100 people

I'm guessing "U.S. most freedom-loving country with 90 guns per 100 people" probably wouldn't have made it past the editors' desks there at Roto-Reuters.

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United States has 90 guns for every 100 citizens, making it the most heavily armed society in the world, a report released on Tuesday said.

U.S. citizens own 270 million of the world's 875 million known firearms, according to the Small Arms Survey 2007 by the Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International Studies.

About 4.5 million of the 8 million new guns manufactured worldwide each year are purchased in the United States, it said.

"There is roughly one firearm for every seven people worldwide. Without the United States, though, this drops to about one firearm per 10 people," it said.

OK, I understand what they're doing with the math here, but I find this whole "guns per person" reporting of the survey data to be a little on the silly side. I've got a family of four, and eight firearms in my house. But, it's not like my two five-year-olds are each walking around with twin 1911's on their hips.

Well, not yet, anyway.

Putting aside the somewhat ambiguous nature of the "guns per capita" reporting of the numbers involved, there are a few interesting observations contained within the results of this survey.

First up, from the Department of the Painfully Obvious:

On a per-capita basis, Yemen had the second most heavily armed citizenry behind the United States, with 61 guns per 100 people, followed by Finland with 56, Switzerland with 46, Iraq with 39 and Serbia with 38.

France, Canada, Sweden, Austria and Germany were next, each with about 30 guns per 100 people, while many poorer countries often associated with violence ranked much lower. Nigeria, for instance, had just one gun per 100 people.

Well, that would certainly help to bolster that radical notion put forth by many of us in the Dead Horse Flagellation Society that guns themselves don't actually cause violence.

And, then there are these happy little observations.

The report, which relied on government data, surveys and media reports to estimate the size of world arsenals, estimated there were 650 million civilian firearms worldwide, and 225 million held by law enforcement and military forces.


Only about 12 percent of civilian weapons are thought to be registered with authorities.

While I find that 12 percent to be a little high for my liking, the anti-freedom fascists and fuckwits prancing around the UN can't be all that pleased to see how far they are from eliminating civilian ownership of small arms.


UPDATE: Kim's two cents:

Some people are going to greet this news with glee. I’m not one of them.

Come on, people: everyone knows that you need at least a handgun, a shotgun and a rifle to be a functioning member of society. So the correct ratio should be 300 guns per hundred population. (And, as I’ve said many times before, we should ignore .22 rifles from the count, of course, because they are not weapons, but a household commodity like salt or sugar.)