The Americas have by far the worst gun problem in the world, with the weapons used in 66% of homicides compared to 13 — 28% in other regions, according to a new United Nations report.
The region, which includes North America, South America, and the Caribbean islands, also has the world’s highest murder rate at 16.3 per 100,000 people compared to a global average of 6.2 per 100,000.
Here’s a chart of homicide mechanism by region:
To be fair, war and conflict-related killings are not included in the U.N. chart because they are “outside the realm of intentional homicide,” according to the U.N. report. Had these deaths been included, that would likely change the share of firearm homicides in some regions.
Still, even Europe is starkly different from the Americas when it comes to gun homicides. The largest share of homicides in Europe come from the “other” category, and at 3 murders per 100,000 people, the region is safer overall than the Americas.
Unsurprisingly, Europe also has a much lower gun ownership rate than the U.S. Many European countries have fewer than 40 guns per 100 people, whereas the U.S. has closer to 90 guns per 100 people.
Guns are used in an even greater share of murders in the U.S. than across the Americas at 68%:
This has a lot to do with domestic gun laws, as states with loose firearm regulations also have a higher number of gun deaths each year. The U.S. also has far more assault deaths per capita than other industrialized nations.
South America has also been getting more violent in recent years. Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world, and Mexican drug cartels have worsened the violence in Central America. The U.N. report notes that organised crime and gangs account for 30% of homicides in the Americas.
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