15 nations with the highest gun ownership (15 items)

Bethan Owen

May 28, 2014

The violence in California this weekend which resulted in six deaths provoked once again discussions on several different topics related to gun violence, including mental health issues, cultural misogyny, as well as gun laws and even gun ownership.

Listed here are the fifteen countries with the highest rates of civilian gun ownership, based on a comprehensive ranking of countries provided by the Washington Post.

The United States, while it does have the highest rate of civilian-owned guns and the highest rate of firearm homicides among developed democracies, is fairly low on the overall world ranking. The three highest ranked countries in firearm homicides per 100,000 people are Honduras, El Salvador and Jamaica, respectively.

The country with the highest percentage of homicides by guns is Liechtenstein, with a rate of 100 percent — but only because there was only one recorded homicide in Liechtenstein in 2009 and 2010. Following Liechtenstein is Puerto Rico, with a rate of 94.8 percent.

Where necessary, we've also included supplementary information on unique or relevant gun laws in certain countries.

1 of 15. Iceland (Tied for 15)

Firearms per 100 people: 30.3

Firearm homicides per 100,000: 0

Percent of homicides by guns: 0

Iceland, despite being one of the nations with the highest rate of firearms, has a startlingly low violence rate.

The low crime rate is due to many variables, according to the BBC. There is little class distinction, few illegal drugs and a low population, all of which contribute to the low crime rate — which also extends to gun violence.

"There's an inimitable make-up of Iceland which, ostensibly and ideally, could provide guidelines for people in other nations who are looking for solutions to their crime issues," according to the BBC.

2 of 15. Germany (Tied for 15)

Firearms per 100 people: 30.3

Firearm homicides per 100,000: .19

Percent of homicides by guns: 26.3

Germany, another country who has experienced a school shooting, has a fairly restrictive gun policy, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.

"In Germany, you have to have a good reason for owning a gun, like if you’re a sport shooter, hunter or in rare cases, a gun collector," Oregon Public Broadcasting wrote. "You can’t buy a firearm simply for personal protection—self-defense doesn’t count as a necessity here."

3 of 15. Austria

Firearms per 100 people: 30.4

Firearm homicides per 100,000: .22

Percent of homicides by guns: 29.5

4 of 15. Canada

Firearms per 100 people: 30.8

Firearm homicides per 100,000: .51

Percent of homicides by guns: 32

It's illegal for Canadians to posses "automatic weapons, handguns with a barrel shorter than 10.5 cm or any modified handgun, rifle or shotgun. Most semi-automatic assault weapons are also banned," according to
Business Insider.

Acquiring a weapon is a fairly long process in Canada.

"There is no legal right to possess arms in Canada," continued Business Insider. "It takes sixty days to buy a gun there, and there is mandatory licensing for gun owners. Gun owners pursuing a license must have third-party references, take a safety training course and pass a background check with a focus on mental, criminal and addiction histories."

5 of 15. France

Firearms per 100 people: 31.2

Firearm homicides per 100,000: .35

Percent of homicides by guns: 9.6
1. Karen R.
Houston, TX,
May 29, 2014

That isn't a beacon of light at the top of the hill. It's the flash of gun fire.

2. LovelyDeseret
Gilbert, AZ,
May 29, 2014

I am not sure if this article has an agenda, but it really should include the countries that outlaw guns and have a high rate of firearm homicides like Mexico and the effect that has on the social and economic policies and growth of the country.

3. LOU Montana
Pueblo, CO,
May 29, 2014

Nice propaganda article! Here are the facts........the U.S. has 88 guns per 100 people and 10 gun-related deaths per 100,000 people — more than any of the other 27 developed countries studied.

Japan had only .6 guns per 100 people and .06 gun-related deaths per 100,000 people, making it the country with both the fewest guns per capita and the fewest gun-related deaths.

Death by gun violence is a lot like lawsuits, it is a lot of nonsense till it happens to you.

4. oldcougar
Orem, UT,
May 29, 2014

Three of the deaths in California were stabbings, not shootings. What are the statistics on knife ownership?

5. fish8
Vernal, UT,
May 29, 2014

A better stat would be households where there is a firearm Most gun owners own more that one gun. So if I have 5 guns and my 4 neighbors don't have any, the stats in this article make it look like there is gun in every home.