Guns Do Kill People

Andrew Sullivan —  Oct 2 2013 @ 10:29am

Matt Steinglass reviews the statistics:

[G]un-rights advocates often argue that there’s no point taking away people’s guns, because you can kill someone with a knife. This is true, but in practice people are nowhere near as likely to get killed with a knife.

In America, of those 14,022 homicides in 2011, 11,101 were committed with firearms. In England and Wales, where guns are far harder to come by, criminals didn’t simply go out and equip themselves with other tools and commit just as many murders; there were 32,714 offences involving a knife or other sharp instrument (whether used or just threatened), but they led to only 214 homicides, a rate of 1 homicide per 150 incidents. Meanwhile, in America, there were 478,400 incidents of firearm-related violence (whether used or just threatened) and 11,101 homicides, for a rate of 1 homicide per 43 incidents. That nearly four-times-higher rate of fatality when the criminal uses a gun rather than a knife closely matches the overall difference in homicide rates between America and England.