EUREKA!

Total gun ban now

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After the shooting of 20 primary school children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in December, I e-mailed my cousin, who lives in the United States:  “At least these shootings don’t happen in the Philippines.”

I spoke too soon.  Four-year-old Ranjilo Nemer in Mandaluyong City and 7-year-old Stephanie Nicole Ella in Caloocan City died because of New Year drunken revelry and gunfire.

Three-year-old Jan Monica de Vera and 7-year-old Michaella Caimol were shot, together with six adults, in what was said to be a drug-induced killing spree in Kawit, Cavite, a few days after.

Are we going the way of the United States, the country with the most number of gun owners and one of the highest rates of gun killings in the world?

Figures

The Small Arms Survey, based in Geneva, Switzerland, estimates the number of privately owned firearms around the world.  Though their latest figures are from 2007, they are instructive.

Not surprisingly, the United States tops the list, 270 million firearms or nine guns for every 10 Americans.

Second is Yemen, with half the rate, 5.5 guns for every 10 people.

Max Fisher wrote in December in The Washington Post: “Yes, Americans have nearly twice as many guns per person as do Yemenis, who live in a conflict-torn Arab nation still dealing with poverty, political unrest, a separatist Shia insurgency, an al-Qaida branch and the aftereffects of a 1994 civil war.”

Surprisingly, Switzerland and Finland follow with 4.6 and 4.5 rates, respectively. Then come Serbia (3.8), Cyprus (3.6), Saudi Arabia (3.5) and Iraq (3.8).

But the high rate of gun ownership in Switzerland is due to the required military service for men, who keep their firearms afterwards. No information is available for Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

The Philippines is ranked 105th, with a rate of 0.5 guns per 10 people and an estimated total of 4 million civilian firearms.

What about gun-related deaths?  Let’s look at statistics from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Honduras is the worst, with 68.43 homicides by firearms per 100,000 people.  Next is El Salvador (39.9), Jamaica (39.4), Venezuela (38.4) and Guatemala (34.8).

What is extremely shocking is that the Philippines’ rate of 8.93 firearm homicides per 100,000 people is much higher than that of the United States (2.97). The rates for Switzerland (0.77), Serbia (0.46), Cyprus (0.46) and Finland (0.45) are not very high and suicides (rather than homicides) accounted for the deaths.

Gun control

Statistically, do more guns lead to more gun-related deaths?  There is no easy answer  but after days of looking through pros and cons, the analysis I found most plausible was done by Mark Reid of Australian National University.

Reid researched on gun ownership rates and homicide rates by firearms in Wikipedia, wrote a program to seek possible correlations and came up with fascinating graphs.  Visit his site at http://mark.reid.name/iem/gun-deaths-vs-gun-ownership.html.

Reid does not claim that his analysis is a strict study (since the data came from Wikipedia).  He says, “Just to be clear, I am not making any claims about the effect of gun ownership on shootings. I just wanted to show how easy it is to use freely available data to help answer reasonable questions about heated political issues like gun control.  I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions.”

Sadly, the Philippines, with its disproportionately high homicide rate, can clearly be seen in the middle left of the chart, which means the Philippines, while having fewer guns than, say, the United States, has more than its share of gun killings. What will happen if we have even more guns?

More guns, more gun homicides, more gun deaths.

Yes, many responsible gun owners do not go around killing people.  Yes, if the Kawit gunman was not on drugs, he might not have gone on a killing spree.  If gun owners were not drunk on New Year’s Eve, they might not have fired their guns.

On the same day of the Sandy Hook massacre, a knife-wielding man stabbed an elderly woman in Chenpeng, Henan province, and ran amok in Chenpeng Village Elementary School, where he injured 23 students. None of the students were critically hurt and everyone survived.

Unlike knives, guns can kill many people very quickly. Let us enact a total gun ban now.

E-mail blessbook.chua@gmail.com.

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  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VCNKUTRR5NA75YMEWP3SXEB7K4 williamd

    Simplistic and moronic commentary. 

    Most statistics will show that with more gun ownership by law abiding citizens the crime rate actually goes down.  The reason is that criminals who are breaking the law having a gun in the first place are out to take advantage of victims who are unarmed.  The last thing a bad guy with a gun wants to come up against is a good guy with a gun.

    If the principal or the the teachers at Sandy hook had been armed, it is doubtful that the 21 year old shooter would have been able to massacre 27 (mostly children).  If we don’t allow the good people to be armed then we need to hire more security.  The bad people will find a gun and unarmed people to victimize.  If Jolliebee is worth protecting, then our little children should be no less a priority for armed protection. 

    I know if someone tries to break into my house to harm my wife or children they will wish they hadn’t.

  • Mamang Pulis

    How I wish that could happen—Yes why not? a total gun ban—where only the state security has the right to bear arms….and of course—while you are sleeping in you multi million pad—people with dysfunctional state of mind are already plotting to gain access in you sweet abode.:))

    then you need an armed guard prowling your exclusive loft.

    How I wish–local politicians can do without  level 5 armored cars, a plethora of armed bodyguards riding behind pick up trucks 

    Maybe you could suggest a total gun ban where the state will go house to house & drag all the rebels and have them surrender their ‘sinapang’…I would love to see mar boy bawang roxas disarm a moro….[then our moro brothers will be on their war path again….]

    Maybe your chief editor and your ilk can do without permit to carry fire arms when they do their thing to expose those erring politicos, rogue cops & soldiers…

    And to the ever thriving–backyard entrepreneurs–the ex military–ex cafgu, ex policemen, ex militia, ex warlord, ex jueteng, ex gun for hires—

    until you have solved the root cause of crime–

    which is greed & poverty

    until then—I will be keeping my firearms.

    maybe–I should give it all up & migrate to Neverland and you could be Tinkerbelle…..and Nandy or the Naga bishop can be Peter Pan—-nice set up…what do you think?  Hansel will be Hansel–Gretel can be Miriam? 

    Would you like to have some merienda at  Font Restaurant in downtown Basilan? Right beside the Cathedral…maybe you want to hear their version of the realm–how their father was abducted from their farm and kept for so many months—and someone offered to the family to return the remains of their father for 50,000 pesos….unbelievable? unreported? imbento?

  • Ommm

    ” What is extremely shocking is that the Philippines’ rate of 8.93 firearm
    homicides per 100,000 people is much higher than that of the United
    States (2.97)”

    Not shocking all…note that all the nations with the highest gun homicide rates are the devoutly catholic countries….

    We give confession, take communion… then shoot each other Monday morning. We are total hypocrites.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/4XVVCOAZXYTPN2X3IPFCFDSKFM Melvin

    Unahin ang total gun ban sa loob ng NBI…

  • rabbitholedweller

    The ‘knife-wielding man’ from Chenpeng did not just stab one elederly woman

    http://edition.cnn.com/2012/12/14/world/asia/china-knife-attack/index.html

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