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A Loaded Question: Gun Ownership vs. Gun Deaths Worldwide

Even peaceful Switzerland is reeling from mass murders, and voters are demanding change. Public-health research on firearm deaths is notoriously inconclusive, but it’s safe to say that more guns make for more bodies: High firearm-death rates (totaling suicides, homicides, and accidental deaths) correlate with high levels of gun ownership, at least among countries belonging to the European Union and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The link between gun ownership and gun murder is fuzzier: Gun-loving Finland has more than twice as many firearms as Portugal, but the Finns have only half as many gun murders per capita. Income, development, and culture appear to drive gun-crime rates more than simple gun availability.

Applegate is a contributing graphics editor for Bloomberg Businessweek. Follow him on Twitter @evanapplegate.
McCann is a contributing graphics editor for Bloomberg Businessweek. Follow her on Twitter @atmccann.

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