After spending much of the day commenting on Kiwiblog, I have complied this chart from data at this anti-gun site.
The results are extremely interesting:
1. The gun murder rate pretty much follows the general murder rate.
2. The 30,000 “gun deaths” quoted in the media is very deceptive as this includes suicides.
3. Gun suicides are going up, but so are suicides in general.
4. It’s suicides that are driving the gun deaths trend not murders.
5. “Long guns” (which includes rifles, shotguns and assault rifles) hardly feature. The majority of US gun murders and other deaths are from small, easily hidden hand guns with only a few rounds in the magazine.
(Ok, correction on 5. The data supplied for handguns is also insignificant. Which means that there’s something funny going on with the data.)
So not only are the media playing with the numbers to make the problem seem worse than it is, the focus is on the wrong sort of guns.
FYI, the US suicide rate has now matched the US suicide rate – ours has actually dropped a little. In other words, even without a gun culture and gang issues (which account for many of the murders) we were until recently killing ourselves at a far faster rate that the USA.