8/28/07

America: Armed and Dangerous

According to recent estimates, the earth's population is 6.6 billion--of which 300 million are Americans. A ratio of 22:1.

However, for every three guns in the world an American is the owner of one of them--be it a pistol, rifle or machine gun.

That's a 3:1 ratio, or 270 million American owned guns--and this doesn't even include the gun arsenals of local, state and federal police agencies or those held by the U.S. military.

I suspect that most American children and many adults to do not own guns--although I've not come across actual numbers..

However, a Field & Stream article, The Future of Hunting, refers to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service total count of 13 million hunters in the entire country.

Assuming those hunters use firearms--an assumption which may be incorrect, and that each hunter owns four weapons, the total U.S. hunters' arsenal is 52 million weapons.

Q: Who owns the other 220 million guns?

And how about the cost in dollars? (Certainly, the cost in lives is an even bigger concern.)

Assuming $400 per weapon (which I understand is at the low end for a new handgun and upwards of a couple of thousand dollars for a fancier weapon), and excluding the ongoing expenses of ammunition, maintenance, insurance, target shooting, licences, etc., Americans cough up some $108 billion for their arsenal. These are Iraq War type numbers.

Q: Are Americans such a war-like people that we couldn't find better uses for all of that money? And doesn't this obsession with buying guns, shooting guns, collecting and displaying guns send a clear and distinct message to impressionable boys and young men that gun violence is a normal part of American life?

See U.S. most armed country with 90 guns per 100 people.
Post a Comment