US and Canadian guns

Following today's awful school shooting in Connecticut I wondered what gun ownership / crime was like in the USA versus Canada. So let's take a look.

So in the USA, despite a gun ownership rate that is not massively different from Canada, you are much more likely to be the victim of gun homicide (5x as likely) or gun suicide (3x as likely), and a bit more likely to be the victim of a gun accident (2x as likely, which is about what you'd expect from the ownership rates). Why then do Americans kill each other with guns about twice the rate you'd expect if they were Canadian?

It turns out that the dominant factors for firearm homicide are race, sex, and age group:

The victimization rates for blacks were 6 times higher than those for whites.
The offending rates for blacks were more than 7 times higher the rates for whites.
Males represent 77% of homicide victims and nearly 90% of offenders. The victimization rates for males were 3 times higher than the rates for females. Approximately one-third of murder victims and almost half the offenders are under the age of 25. For both victims and offenders, the rate per 100,000 peaks in the 18-24 year-old age group.
It looks as if the dominant reason for the firearm homicide rate in the USA is the proportion of young black men. 700K Canadians identify as black (2%) compared to 12% in the USA.

That's not the entire explanation - you don't get school shootings in Canada, and the major school shooting perps in the USA were white (or Korean). But it's a disturbing set of statistics.

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