Talk:Number of guns per capita by country

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I am not sure whether the list presentation is appropriate, as it combines data from different years (a 11 years period) but still list the countries by percentage of gun ownership per household. I very much doubt that the current figures for the N. of Ireland and Spain would be that high at present. --Asteriontalk 14:59, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

Presentation of averages from Small Arms Survey source?[edit]

The 2007 survey used as the main source [[1]] looks reasonable but provides 'high estimate' and 'low estimate' numbers, not a single number per country. These were averaged when brought here -- but I've found at least 1 averaging error, for Finland. I have not checked all the numbers. If that source is to be primary, table should get the same 'high' and 'low' numbers as the source, and displaying an average may not be appropriate at all. Gojomo (talk) 21:13, 1 January 2008 (UTC)


Finnish government claims this survey is "nonsense". There should be a mention. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:59, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

The amount of guns told by the government is licenced, legally owned guns only. Small Arms Survey takes the illegally owned guns (an approximation of their number) into account, which the authorities do not. I suggest displaying both numbers, as to many Finns' experience (me including, the amount of people I know to possess illegal guns is around the same as the amount I know to own them legally), there's a lot of illegal, unregistered firearms, mostly dating back to WWII and before. --XoravaX (talk) 11:15, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

Chart is inaccurate[edit]

Please use this section for comments towards the data used in the article and NOT the "Map removed" section. Bsrboy (talk) 16:20, 3 April 2008 (UTC)


The info at the above link is dated, but it shows that the current chart is wrong. Link to the current version of the chart: [2]

Quote from the page:

Look in “Experiences of Crime across the World” van Dijk, Mayhew and Killias (1991). This reports the result of an international victimisation survey in the US, Canada, Australia and 11 European countries. Handguns were present in 29% of US households. Switzerland was second with 14% (about half of these were identified as army guns). The US also had the highest percentage of households with any sort of gun.

I think the current chart is dividing the population of the USA by the number of guns in the USA. This is NOT the same as the percentage of US households with a gun present. --Timeshifter (talk) 19:51, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

Oh my god. Could this be more innacurate?? Yeah right, .." Finland: 55 guns per 100 residents", .."Philippines: 4.7 guns per 100 residents".. Have any of you realized what's wrong with this table? Places like Nigeria and Philippines have considerably lower number of weapons and European countries like France, Austria and Finland are high up in the list.. If any of you have been to Nigeria or the Philippines, you will soon realize that this table is a load of bollocks. Only 4.7 firearms for the Philippines!? Please one of you, go check for yourself by visiting my home country -the Philippines- and you'll see that up to a dozen private guards armed with M16s and Shotguns on duty outside a bank is a common sight over there. The country is awashed with guns...And Nigeria with 1 gun per 100? I seriously doubt that figure.. Si lapu lapu (talk) 00:27, 18 May 2008 (UTC)Si LapuLapu

Map removed[edit]

See: Image:World map of countries by number of guns per residents.png

This map is NOT representative of the percentage of people in each nation that possess guns. Please see also the image talk page:

The map numbers seem to be based on dividing the total amount of guns in a nation by the total population of that nation. Since many people possess more than one gun, and many others do not possess a single gun, then this map is not a representation of the percentage of people who possess guns in each nation.

Also, there is no legend for the map colors. The darkest color is used for the United States, Yemen, and Finland. Yet these 3 nations have widely differing numbers in the chart. --Timeshifter (talk) 01:26, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

There are only 11 shades of red on Inkscape and since many wikipedians prefer SVGs I used Inkscape. I am not going to get involved in a dispute about the statistics used in this article. I put the map onto the article to represent the data on the article, if you can think of preferred ways in which I should represent the data in the map then please let me know. Hopefully we can come to a decision which we all agree on and put back a map. Bsrboy (talk) 16:18, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

"I put the map onto the article to represent the data on the article" - the article is primarily a table. The data in that table is not at all reflected in the colorization of this map. They're unrelated to the point of being downright misleading, the article would be more reflective of the data contained without the map included at all IMO. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ae35unit (talkcontribs) 00:02, 1 May 2011 (UTC)

Misnamed Article[edit]

Since this is a table of the number of guns owned divided by population, and does not take ownership into consideration, it is inaccurate to call it a "List of countries by gun ownership". Mal7798 (talk) 03:53, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

Good point. What should the article be renamed to? List of countries by gun density? I don't know. --Timeshifter (talk) 16:05, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
List of countries by gun per capita. bsrboy (talk) 17:34, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
I have to object to this article name as well. "Per capita" is generally understood to mean 'per person', when in fact the statistics provided here are 'per 100 persons'. Playing around with the definition of 'per capita' can be misleading. --TinMoth Dec 29, 2014
Yes, I agree. Though grammatically it should be "List of countries by guns per capita". --Timeshifter (talk) 09:07, 16 July 2008 (UTC)


This list fails to mention Norway which seems a major omission given that the Gun Politics article asserts that Norway has a high gun-ownership rate. The cited source shows Norway's gun-ownership on several graphs and yet I couldn't find a number. --Eugenwpg (talk) 19:24, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Refactored table[edit]

Changed the table to allow qualifying comments that highlight subtle mistakes/overlooked items in data. ► RATEL ◄ 14:44, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

New Discussion[edit]

A discussion has been started at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Countries/Lists of countries which could affect the inclusion criteria and title of this and other lists of countries. Editors are invited to participate. Pfainuk talk 12:18, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Templates for deletion nomination of Template:Lists of countries[edit]

Nuvola apps important.svgTemplate:Lists of countries has been nominated for deletion. You are invited to comment on the discussion at the template's entry on the Templates for Deletion page. Thank you. Cybercobra (talk) 07:09, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

Only private small arms?[edit]

Does this article only refer to small arms possessed by private citizens (i.e. not by police, military, etc.)? If so, it might be better to explicitly state it in the article, and maybe even move it to the title "List of countries by private gun ownership". Otherwise the numbers would be skewed for countries with large militaries but little or no private gun ownership. Also, for countries like Switzerland where citizens are issued military weapons for storage at home, how should those weapons be classified? They aren't privately owned, but they are possessed by private citizens.--Witan (talk) 22:45, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

Based on the "Small Arms Survey", it seems like this indeed does only refer to civilian firearms.--Witan (talk) 22:55, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

Switzerland is VERY MISLEADING. These are not private citizens, these are militias, part of the armed service. These weapons were paid for by the government, issued by the government, trained in use by the government, and ready to be mustered on call by the government.


Comparability of numbers[edit]

Most of the numbers in the list are indeed from the Small Arms Survey. I'm not sure whether it is an impartial and reliable source, but it's safe to say it's an estimate - or two per country, actually.

I think it's problematic that the number for Finland is a "corrected" one: it's based on the Finnish ministry of interiors own estimate, that there are only "tens of thousands" of non-registered firearms among civilians in Finland, in addition to the 1,62 million registered ones. Now this may be true or false, but I think it's safe to say that this is an low estimate, as it's lower than the Small Arms Surveys low estimate, and it really couldn't get much lower.

Now when you give an "average" number for some countries, but a "low" (even lower than the low estimate of the survey) for others, the numbers are not comparable. This is important, because many readers will look at this list to see how high or low on the list an individual country is and how it performs against other countries.

I suggest that either we use only numbers from this particular survey, or we have several columns like "Survey Low", "Survey High" and "official data" or something like this. -- Piisamson (talk) 22:45, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

Reliability of information[edit]

I've looked through this article as well as the supporting information. The information is a reprint of only five sources: #1 is no longer a viable link, #4 is an excerpt from #3 and as such their use as references (and content derived from them) should be removed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:27, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

Violent Crime[edit]

It would be interesting to have statistics for violent crime (or just murder) and or death due to guns in the same table. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:45, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

It is impossible to get reliable statistics on that on a worldwide scale. Perhaps the table should be restricted to the western world (say, OECD states) where statistics of comparable quality exist. For these countries, a comparison of gun ownership, gun-assisted suicide rates and criminal gun use would be rather interesting. --dab (𒁳) 10:07, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

"gun ownership rate"[edit]

The term "gun ownership rate" cannot mean "guns per capita" as it is used here. I would naively assume it meant "the proportion of people who own at least one gun". In fact, after searching on the term, I see it commonly means "the proportion of households that own at least one gun". E.g.

The Small Arms Survey that the numbers come from doesn't seem to give a short term for their gun population ratios. At least I didn't find it. But in any case, the term "gun ownership rate" is wrong and misleading for this data. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:59, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

true. But it is difficult enough to find data comparing countries. Even the Small Arms Survey data is probably completely unreliable and heterogenous between countries. I would love to have better data on this, but so far we are stuck with such references as we have. --dab (𒁳) 09:40, 7 March 2011 (UTC)


This talk page contains a number of comments where serious concerns about the accuracy of the article have been raised and not addressed. Because of this, I have tagged the article as being disputed. If you wish the tag to be removed, please address the concerns, either by editing the article with better sources or by discussion the concerns on the talk page. -- (talk) 13:32, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

This article is wrongly named[edit]

It's been pointed out before but nothing seems to have been done about it. It is ridiculous to imply (for example) that the fact that there are 89% as many guns as people in the USA means that 89% of people own a gun. That is what the phrase "rate of ownership" means. In reality lots of people have several guns and the rate of gun ownership is probably less than 40%. This page needs to be given an accurate title that is not misleading, like Number of guns per capita by country. --Lo2u (TC) 12:39, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

That's not the implication at all. It doesn't say anywhere in the article that 89% of people own a gun. It simply gives the number of guns per capita by nation. The article is indeed accurately named. You take the total number of guns in the US and you divide that by the total population. That's it. Nothing complicated. If we did it by % households that have guns or % of people who own a gun, that would be a different figure with a different title. That would be a different page, which you are welcome to initiate. This is a simple calculation. Just because you don't like the results doesn't mean it's wrong.Jasonnewyork (talk) 17:10, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

Jasonnewyork, what makes you think I have a problem with the results? Please look at the history of articles before commenting on old discussions about article names. My comments refer to a time BEFORE I renamed it. The current name is "Number of guns per capita by country", which as you say is accurate. On 5 February the name was "List of countries by gun ownership", which was certainly not. --Lo2u (TC) 08:54, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

Check data before editing...[edit]

The table in the article clearly shows that this is data for 2007. There are multiple edits that were made with references to surveys completed on other years (see Finland and Serbia). Please check your data and ensure that you are completing edits on the correct year. The data in this article will be entirely invalid if different years are used for different countries. See for a complete survey done in 2007. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Das1055 (talkcontribs) 00:54, 27 September 2012 (UTC)


Why is Scotland on this list? Despite the aspirations of the Scottish National Party, it's still part of the UK for the time being. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:07, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

This is not a "problem" exclusive of Scotland. If you pay attention to the list, you'll see UK isn't there. Instead, UK is divided into three: England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. So, you can't complain of Scotland not being together with UK, 'cause there's no "UK" in the list. But now that you brought that up, I wonder why are England and Wales together. Do you have any idea? -- Sim(ã)o(n) * Wanna talk? See my efforts? 21:35, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

I can't tell you why, though I suspect someone is (still yet even more again) making a bit of a political statement with Wiki. It's probably useful to have subheadings for regions within countries (states in the US, provinces in Canada, etc.), but the country should remain the country. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:58, 20 December 2012 (UTC)

That's true. But note the numbers: England and Wales - 6.2; Scotland - 5.5. These are pretty close and could be together, right? There is no great difference, and there's no need to highlight any of these three. But when it comes to Northern Ireland, we have 21.9. This is nearly 3.5 times as much as the average of England, Wales and Scotland. The creator must have felt that there was a need to highlight Northern Ireland, and it would be sort of "unfair" to include it also with all UK, which would make an average of, maybe, 10. This number would "disguise" Northern Ireland; so they thought it'd be better to divide those stats (yes, stats, not states!) between "The Big Island" and "The Small Island". But, in that case, why didn't they either include the "big 3" together and the "small 1" apart, or separate all of them? It actually makes no sense to include England and Wales together, and Scotland apart... About why not making those divisions in other countries, I don't know, but maybe that 1) the list would become way longer, and 2) there's not such a great difference on other countries and there is no need to divide those regions. But, ultimately, I must say I agree with you about joining Scotland to the UK in this list, but disagree if you intend to join also Northern Ireland to it. -- Sim(ã)o(n) * Wanna talk? See my efforts? 15:10, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
The UK Home office provides officical statistics on crime; all the Home Office data I've seen are for England & Wales. England and Wales have been a single country administratively for what? 12 centuries. Union with Scotland is more recent. One might guess that info on Scotland and Northern Ireland are issued by other entities. (talk) 20:15, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
Yeah! Maybe that's it! See, I don't know almost anything about UK history. You may know it better, so, maybe that's it. -- Sim(ã)o(n) * Wanna talk? See my efforts? 16:51, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
The reason for the split is that there are different statistics agencies for England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. There are no combined statistics published for the whole of the UK and each of the agencies are completely separate and independent (though sometimes cooperate for things like the Census). In particular, as each of the 3 regions has its own legal system, different categories and methods are used in creating the statistics for lots of things, making it difficult to directly compare and combine statistics in many cases. Also, doing so would be OR :) Oh, and England and Wales are together because unlike Ireland and Scotland, Wales was annexed directly into England and became part of it, instead of being a partner. England and Wales is the constitutional successor to the Kingdom of England --iamajpeg (talk) 05:59, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
This is silly. It's a list by country. Sure, it's "difficult to compare statistics" compiled by different agencies, but that is exactly what this entire article does. No doubt there are biases in the data due to "different categories and methods" both within countries and between countries. Point is, this is a list by country based on the best available data. With gun ownership rates of 6.2, 5.5, and 21.9, and populations of 57M, 5.3M, and 1.8M, respectively, the overall gun ownership rate for England/Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland is 6.6. Rracecarr (talk) 19:11, 10 February 2015 (UTC)

Map colours[edit]

Just a note for transparency: please note that the previous version of the map File:World map of civilian gun ownership.svg showing gun ownership in red has been replaced following a discussion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Conservatism#Gun owner map per the argument that red would be POV while blue is supposedly NPOV. I personally think that red is a far better colour as is more suggestive for representing firearms (as explained in more detail here), but will leave to others to decide. --ELEKHHT 00:56, 17 May 2013 (UTC)


When reading about suicide and crime in Greenland, it is often mentioned that just about everyone there owns a gun. Would anyone happen to have the exact statistics on this so that it can be added to the list?-- (talk) 00:26, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

Afghanistan <5 in chart?[edit]

Afghanistan <5 in chart? are you kidding me? :D (talk) 12:34, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

If the position is wrong, add appropriate references and correct it yourself. If you are making a comment on why Afghanistan is or isn't in the wrong place, then that is beyond the scope of this talk page. — Safety Cap (talk) 16:56, 12 May 2014 (UTC)

No Finland?[edit]

Why is there no word about Finland? Why is it not in the table? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:25, 23 June 2014 (UTC)


The Irish figure given by the Small Arms Survey 2007 of 8.6 is wildly inaccurate for three reasons: 1) It uses the total number of firarms legally held in Ireland in 2005 2) It uses the population of Ireland in 2005 3) It includes an estimate of 150,000 illegally held firearms before calculating its number of firearms held by civilians per capita.

(1) and (2) are clearly a decade out of date and the numbers involved have both changed and are known accurately today; (3) is just wildly invalid because nobody has any idea what the actual number of illegally held firearms is and they never have. To quote the Minister for Justice some years ago in the Dail: "The very fact that [illegally held] firearms are held illegally precludes statistics being available of the number of such firearms”, and that view has been echoed in the last fortnight by the current Minister for Justice.

Chief Superintendent Fergus Healy of the Garda Firearms Policy Unit stated to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice in December 2014 that the latest information is that there are 200,436 licenced firearms in Ireland; and the Central Statistics Office’s most recent population estimate from April 2014 is 4,609,600. This puts our firearms ownership rate at 4.34 firearms per 100 people, just over half the figure the Small Arms Survey lists.

For that reason I've changed the figure to 4.3 and corrected Ireland's subsequent location in the table.

MarkDennehy (talk) 14:44, 26 February 2015 (UTC)