In 2008, the U.S. had more than 12 thousand firearm-related homicides. All of Japan experienced only 11, fewer than were killed at the Aurora shooting alone. And that was a big year: 2006 saw an astounding two, and when that number jumped to 22 in 2007, it became a national scandal. By comparison, also in 2008, 587 Americans were killed just by guns that had discharged accidentally.
Almost no one in Japan owns a gun. Most kinds are illegal, with onerous restrictions on buying and maintaining the few that are allowed. Even the country’s infamous, mafia-like Yakuza tend to forgo guns; the few exceptions tend to become big national news stories.
Source: Atlantic Online, July 27
In Canada, the latest StatsCan statistics tell us that there were 190 homicides committed with a firearm in 2006, accounting for 31% of the total number of homicides. The rate of 0.6 victims per 100,000 population was 16% lower than in 2005 and the same as the previous 10-year average.