Would banning firearms reduce murder and suicide? A review of international evidence

by Don B. Kates; Gary Mauser

Apr 1, 2007

The world abounds in instruments with which people can kill each other. Is the widespread availability of one of these instruments, firearms, a crucial determinant of the incidence of murder? Or do patterns of murder and/or violent crime reflect basic socio-economic and/or cultural factors to which the mere availability of one particular form of weaponry is irrelevant? This article examines a broad range of international data that bear on the question whether widespread firearm access is an important contributing factor in murder and/or suicide. Our conclusion from the available data is that suicide, murder and violent crime rates are determined by basic social, economic and/or cultural factors with the availability of any particular one of the world's myriad deadly instrument being irrelevant.

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