Obama was right when he said 'this type of mass violence does not happen in other developed countries'

In the aftermath of a tragic shooting Wednesday at a Charleston, South Carolina church in which nine were killed, President Barack Obama spoke out about a recent scourge of gun violence in the U.S.

“Once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun,” Obama said.

Later, he added a point he has made before: “At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other developed countries.”

The data backs him up on that statement. The UN Office of Drugs and Crime maintains a database containing homicide rates for most of the world’s countries. Looking at members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as a guide for comparing the United States to other developed countries, Business Insider found that the US has a much higher rate of homicides than all but three of the 34 OECD nations:

(Note: All countries’ data from 2013, except for South Korea, Israel, Chile, and Turkey, which are from 2012.)

Obama has spoken at length before about Australia’s successes in combating gun violence after instituting stricter gun measures following a 1996 mass shooting. Its rate of homicide per 100,000 people fell below 1.1 in 2013.

“A couple of decades ago Australia had a mass shooting similar to Columbine or Newtown, and Australia just said, ‘Well, that’s it. We’re not doing, we’re not seeing that again,’ and basically imposed very severe, tough gun laws, and they haven’t had a mass shooting since,” Obama said last June.

“I mean, our levels of gun violence are off the charts. There’s no advanced, developed country on Earth that would put up with this.”

Japan and its low homicide rates are also often cited in contrast with those of the U.S. Japan strictly controls gun ownership, and supporters of stricter gun regulations in the U.S. often hold it up as an example. By contrast, the U.S. has the highest firearm-ownership rate in the world.

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