The Big Bang Bang Theory

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I was born and raised in the UK, where there are around 6.6 guns for every 100 people (this is the highest number I could find in any recent statistical study). As an Englishman, I find that figure amazing. Why on earth do 6.6 percent of the people in the UK need a gun? I imagine that the statistics do not include guns used by the police or other law enforcement agencies, so I assume there must be a lot of farmers and hunters who use guns in the course of their daily lives. But those figures reflect the entire population, every man, woman and child, so in real terms, how many guns are there for every person who is old enough or young enough to lift them up and use them?

According to the back of my cigarette packet, about one third of the English population is too old or too young to use a gun, and since the population of the UK is about 65 million people, that means there are roughly 4.3 million guns in England in the hands of about 43.3 million people who could use them. On the face of it, that means around ten percent of able-bodied people have a gun. But I think it’s safe to assume that when they counted the guns (probably by counting the number of gun licences issued) the illegal guns in the possession of criminals were not included, but the criminals were included in the population figure. If we guesstimate that there was just one illegal gun for every legal gun counted, that means there were 8.6 million guns in the hands of 43.3 million people, which means that on average around one in five of the physically capable adults you pass in the street in England probably possesses a gun. So be careful who you bump into next time you’re running for a bus in Britain.

According to the same source of most recent statistics, the United States had 112.6 guns for every 100 people. For ease of calculation, let’s say that’s one gun each for every man, woman and child in the country. According to the back of my Lucky Strike packet, about one third of the US population is too old or too young to use a gun, and since the population of the US is currently about 300 million people, that means there were around 300 million guns in the US in that year in the hands of 200 million people who could use them. On the face of it, that means every able-bodied person had 1.5 guns. But I think it’s safe to assume that when they counted the guns (probably by counting the number of gun licences issued) the illegal guns in the possession of criminals were not included, but the criminals were included in the population figure. If we guesstimate that there was just one illegal gun for every legal gun counted, that means there were 600 million guns in the hands of 200 million people, which means that on average all the physically capable adults you pass in the street in the US probably possess three guns. So be careful who you bump into next time you’re running for a bus in the US.

Official figures show that the total number of violent deaths attributable to firearms in the UK in 2016 was 0.07 per 100,000 people. In the US in the same year it was 3.85 per 100,000 people. Does anyone really believe that stricter background checks will bring the US figures down? Any deranged lunatic bent on cold-blooded murder will surely not think twice about stealing one of the 300 million legal guns that are apparently lying about all over the place, or about obtaining one from an illegal source.

Pro-gun people say, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” My answer is “No. People with guns kill people.” Take that to the extreme. “Biological weapons don’t kill people, people kill people.” Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it?

What’s happening in the US is a miniature arms race, no different to the one that existed during the cold war. Everyone needs a gun because everyone has a gun and the guns keep getting bigger because everyone is frightened. Somebody must break the cycle. The criminals won’t. The deranged lunatics won’t. So, who?

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Indonesia Expat is Indonesia's largest expatriate readership (formerly known as Jakarta Expat and Bali Expat)


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