15 nations with the highest gun ownership (15 items)
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)
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)
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
Firearm homicides per 100,000: .22
Percent of homicides by guns: 29.5
4 of 15. Canada
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
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
Firearm homicides per 100,000: .35
Percent of homicides by guns: 9.6