April 25, 2017
The highest rates of firearm related deaths occur in Honduras, Venezuela, Swaziland, Guatemala, and Jamaica.
Firearm-related-deaths is a term used to describe all fatalities caused by firearm use. These losses of life may be by intentional murders, accidental murders, or suicides. They all stem from the discharge of munition from a gun. In some places, these fatalities are more common than in others. This article inspects the top countries with the highest rates of firearm-related deaths.
Honduras experiences more firearm-related deaths than any other country in the world. Here, 67.18 firearm-related deaths per 100,000 people occur annually. Additionally, this country has the highest homicide rate in the world; 78.6% of all homicides are by gun. San Pedro Sula, in the country’s northwest, is the most dangerous city with a homicide rate of 137.5 per 100,000. Until 1985, this country had no laws regulating the sale and possession of firearms and it was not until 2007 that carrying weapons was made illegal. Citizens are allowed to own up to 5 guns, but can only carry them on private property (like homes, businesses, or farms), and they must be in a case that does not allow for immediate use. The owner must register with the National Arms Registry. The rate of homicides and suicides by gun has decreased slightly since 2011.
The second highest rate of firearm-related deaths is found in Venezuela where 59.13 deaths caused by gun occur for every 100,000 people yearly. In this country, roughly 10.7% of the population is a registered gun owner. To combat these incidences, the government banned gun ownership in 2012. They stopped selling guns and ammunition and set up centers for citizens to turn in their guns. This move did nothing to curb homicide rates which continued to increase. Not everybody turned in their guns and of the 3.2 million privately-owned guns, half are registered to police or military personnel, and the other half are unregistered. The vast majority of these homicides, some estimates are over 90%, are caused by guns. Caracas, the capital of the country, is one of the most dangerous cities in the country. In this city, 57% of police deaths occur as the result of a gun robbery.
Swaziland has the third highest rate of firearm-related deaths. In this country, guns are cause 37.16 deaths per 100,000 people every year. All of these fatalities were homicides. The right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by the law in Swaziland. In order to acquire a gun, people must pass a background check and obtain a license, reapplying every year.
Guatemala is next on the list with a firearm-related death rate of 34.1 per 100,000 population each year. Guatemala City is the most dangerous place in the country with a murder rate of over 40 per 100,000 people. Estimates suggest that roughly 11.5% of the country’s population owns a gun; this equates to 1.6 million firearms, including legal and illegal. This country has only 123,000 licensed gun owners. The country’s Constitution protects the right to own a firearm. However, individuals must have a license. In 2013, the government passed stricter gun control laws for unlicensed carry. Police may now take unlicensed gun carriers to jail until their trial as opposed to the previous house arrest policy.
Jamaica has the fifth highest rate of firearm-related deaths in the world. Every year, 30.72 people out of every 100,000 die due to gun shots. Nearly all of these incidences are murders. Within the country, one of the most dangerous cities is Kingston, the capital. The right to own a firearm is not guaranteed by the law and any person interested in purchasing a gun must apply for a license. Part of the application process includes: proving a true need for the firearm, a mental and criminal background check, and a third party character reference.
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This page was last updated on April 25, 2017.
By Amber Pariona
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