Firearms Deaths by Country: Top 20 Per Capita

There is a lot of crap being talked about US firearm deaths in the context of international comparisons and especially comment that Switzerland has lots of guns but low gun murder rates. Ditto Canada. The statistics on gun deaths per 100,000 people show a very clear picture: that the US is in appalling company with its gun death rate of 9 only a little below the countries that are mired in criminal anarchy like South Africa. Switzerland with its high rate of gun ownership post military service has a bad rate proportionately, the worst of wealthy countries after the US, and even Canada does not come out well.


The full data is at:

In comparison, the UK has a rate of 0.22 which is 1 /45th of the US rate

Country Total firearm-related death rate Homicides Suicides Unintentional deaths Year Sources and notes
 El Salvador 50.36 50.36 NA NA 2009 OAS 2011[1]
 Jamaica 47.44 47.44 NA NA 2009 OAS 2011[1]
 Honduras 46.70 46.70 NA NA 2007 OAS 2011[1]
 Guatemala 38.52 38.52 NA NA 2009 OAS 2011[1]
 Swaziland 37.16 37.16 NA NA 2004 UNODC 2006[1]
 Colombia 28.11 27.10 0.87 0.14 2009 UNODC 2011 [2]
 Brazil 19.01 18.10 0.73 0.18 2008 UNODC 2011[3]
 Panama 12.92 12.92 NA NA 2010 OAS 2011[1]
 Mexico 11.14 10.00 0.67 0.47 2010 UNODC 2011[4]
 Philippines 9.46 9.46 NA NA 2002 UNODC 2002[5]
 South Africa 9.41 NA NA NA 2012 UNODC 2012[6] & Stats SA[7]
 United States 9.00 2.98 5.75 0.27 2008-2010 OAS 2011[8]
 Montenegro 8.55 8.55 NA NA 2009 WHO 2012[9]
 Paraguay 7.35 7.35 NA NA 2000 UNODC 2000[10]
 Nicaragua 7.14 7.14 NA NA 2007 OAS 2011[1]
 Switzerland 6.4 0.58 5.61 0.13 1994 Krug 1998[11]
 Argentina 5.65 3.00 2.01 0.64 2001 2008 UNODC 2011[12]
 Canada 4.78 0.76 3.72 0.22 1992 Krug 1998[11]
 Zimbabwe 4.75 4.75

About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
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6 Responses to Firearms Deaths by Country: Top 20 Per Capita

  1. Phl Reuther says:

    I see different numbers when I click on your link to Wikipedia for total firearm-related death rate per 100,000. Examples: 10.2 for the US and 2.13 for Canada. Why the discrepancies?

    • @Phl Reuther. I have no idea. I pasted my table from that source, so I can only suppose that different numbers for a different year have now been posted on Wikipedia. I will look into it. Thanks for pointing this out as I do like accurate numbers.

  2. christopher says:

    stats for Canada are completely wrong that they used Canadian records from 1992 – since in 1996 the gun legislation went through and we have dropped down to .5 deaths per 100k recently. Which just shows that gun legislation works.

  3. The stats will differ in wikipedia for one simple reason: who is (are) the source(s) used… I recall the firearms site even noting that the data was from one source. which unfortunately means the data could be filtered (thoughts and opinions of the provider of the information will sway what is provided). The data will even be swayed by personal views about guns in the first place…

    To have a proper conversation on ANY topic requires looking and working directly with source data… We all remember the game when we were kids of whispering in one ear while in a circle — by the time it came back to us it wasn’t anything close to what we had said in the first place. Why? Filtered to what was thought to be said as well as ad-libing the statement… Kids aren’t allowed to play this game anymore as it is feared it would hurt someone’s feelings — that is another topic altogether but I believe I have made my point…

    Even in the USA there are going to be different stats — why? Where the information is collected from and their stance on guns will be the first factor — one such survey on one website has the USA as the HIGHEST of the developed nations… Data was collected from? Detroit, Chicago, LA, NYC, and DC…. Doesn’t take a brain surgeon to see the flaw there — but the author relented that he focused primarily on the high crime cities as that is where the most deaths occur (and ignoring the laws and policies in place altogether)

    There are several organizations that recognize this issue but even they have differing data — because of the way the data is collected and not collected. Unfortunately, there is no one true set of data when it comes to many things, including guns… Insurance companies are your best bet for source data but they have an admitted weakness when it comes to anything that requires a registration (it doesn’t become part of their database). The ownership of a gun is protected right by the Constitution making this a continuous discussion on who is right and who is not…

    All this said, I can say this much: it takes the average police department 10 minutes in a metropolitan area and up to 2 hours in farmlands to respond to a 911 call.. it takes only 8 seconds for someone with a legally owned gun to stop someone else who has one illegally…

    There will always be scum and evil in this world — and we will never legislate it out of existence. What is needed, and is lacking, is vigilance for oneself. Listening to the news stories everyone wants the government to provide the answers instead of they themselves being vigilant not only to what is going on around their neighborhood but to what is going on in their own homes. Everywhere vigilance is lacking, the problems are higher…

    • @Garrett O’Brien. Thanks for your interesting comments. I think however the latter part of your comment is not very realistic. I know specialist firearms officers in the UK, where I live part of the year, and they get training every month to keep up their skills. Even beat cops in the US often freeze when under fire. Vigilance for the rest of us is a joke. Unless you want to live in a paranoid fortress, you are unlikely to have the gun in hand loaded for anything other than a night time intruder you hear. And if you have an assault rifle with penetrating power in an urban area you are as likely to kill your neighbour as the intruder. If you must have a gun, a Remington 870 with 18 inch barrel is all you need, and maybe a ten shot hand gun. The rest is for the birds and mental instability/insurrectionists. And the latter stand no chance against an organized military. Not even the Yugoslavs in WW2 could defeat the Germans and they had artillery, and the full array of military weaponry and training to act in cohesive units aka they were a form of army themselves. Even the French Resistance were wiped out when they fought formal actions against the Germans.

      And while you can argue the gun death stats are not accurate to the tenth decimal place, they are good enough. It is obvious that here in the UK with the toughest gun laws in the world we have very few gun deaths, and Australia’s gun deaths plummeted when they introduced tough gun laws. Massachusetts has really tough gun laws and the lowest gun deaths in the US per 100,000 and Louisiana lax gun laws and the worst rate.

      The US meanwhile has lost more people to gun deaths since 1970 than were killed in all the wars in its history. So I am afraid I think you are very wrong in your analysis, and argue from preconceived wanting to have guns back to the data, rather than the other way around. But thanks for contributing to the debate.

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