There is no simple answer to just how much guns influence crime and murder, and there is no clear reason why there are more female gun owners in the USA nowadays. The only thing that seems clear is that gun ownership and any related crime appears to be a cultural thing. Culture may also be the reason more women own guns. Local news is often hyped up to engage people more, and local crime is scary enough to get people watching. Add that with the fact that women in movies are predominantly carrying guns more, and you have a culture that gives birth to more women owning guns.
1. The USA Has the Highest Rate of Firearm-Related Murder in the Developed World
The Washington post broke news of a worldwide study that showed the USA has the highest rate of firearm-related murders in the developed world. This does not include the undeveloped world because it is very difficult to get reliable information in such areas.
The Washington Post showed that the percentage of homicides that were gun related was 67%, which is a massive amount as the use of a gun is also an indication of premeditated murder. This means that in technical terms only, the USA also has the highest rate of premeditated murder in the developed world.
2. The USA Has More Guns Owners than Any Other Country
There are over 270,000,000 people with guns in the USA. Compare this to China where there are 4x more people than in the USA, and they only have 40,000,000 people with guns. Over 88 people out of 100 in the USA have a gun and over 9960 gun murders are committed in the USA on average every year, which is the highest in the developed world.
3. There is No Statistical Excuse for Such a High Murder Rate
We cannot say that having more people means there is higher chance of gun murder because the country with the second most guns is India, with over 46,000,000 people having guns, yet only 7.6% of their homicides were firearm related.
Why there are so many gun murders in the USA may be directly related to the fact there are simply more guns. However, these figures also suggest that the more people that have guns then the higher the chances are they are going to kill people because the murder rate in the USA is so high.
4. The Figures do Suggest That Gun Ownership Alone is Not Significant
There are more murders in the USA and the figures suggest there are more murders because there are more guns, but it is not that cut and dry. Consider the figures in Italy where there are only 7,000,000 gun owners, but their firearm related murders are at 66.7%.
That figure suggests that owning a gun increases the chances you will murder someone. However, in France, there are 19,000,000 people with guns, which is significantly more than in Italy, yet firearm related murders are only 9.6%. In France’s case, we see that having a gun doesn’t make you more likely to commit murder with a gun.
5. This Means Guns Both Cause More Murders and Don’t Cause More
The murder rate alone will go up in a country that has a lot of guns, but the figures also show that having a gun doesn’t always make you more likely to use it to commit murder. The figures published by the Washington Post make understanding gun crime more difficult. What it does show is that gun crime, gun ownership and murder rates in general are directly related to culture.
In Italy, there is a very different culture to France, which is why fewer guns somehow commit more murders in Italy. The USA has a very different culture to somewhere such as India. India has a lot of people and a lot of guns, but few use them for murder because they have a different culture to that of North Americans.
6. How Many Women Own Guns in the USA?
There are various lobby groups that are skewing the issue in this matter, which makes it difficult to figure out what is true. At the moment, only 15% of gun owners are women according to owner registration, but there is a chance the true number is closer to 23%. This is because there is a theory that many female owners register the gun in their partner’s name and that there are many times where he is the one that picks the gun, buys the gun and registers the gun in his name. The number of “registered” gun owners may have reached 23% in 2015, but the figures are not out yet.
Estimates suggest that there are 17 million female gun owners. If you think that figure is surprising, the “Latest.com” broke a story proving that more guns have been smuggled into female prisons in the US than male prisons.
7. Women Are More Likely to Be the Victim of Gun Crime
Nationwide, 52% of homicides where women were killed were committed with a firearm. To clarify, on average, over 52% of women murdered are killed with a gun. In cases where there is a history of domestic violence, having a gun in the house makes the woman a whopping 500% more likely to die from being shot.
8. How Many Women Belong to Gun Clubs?
There are no official numbers, but there are reports suggesting that attendance to gun clubs is going down after the spike after 911. Female attendance is going neither up nor down. The overall downward trend in attendance actually means there is slightly more interest in guns coming from the female population (a statistical paradox). The number of male members is going down. Part of the reason is attributed to just too many shootings in schools souring people on guns. The other reason is because owning, maintaining and shooting your gun costs money and people have less of it after the global economic downturn.
9. Crimes Committed by Women with Guns
Women are 81.7% likely to be victims of sex-related homicide, and figures show that around 200,000 women use a gun at least once per year to defend against sex-related crime (e.g. sex-related homicide, rape, sexual assault, etc).
At any one time, there are 3x to 10x more rapes in the USA than are actually reported. Of the reported cases of “attempted” rape, around 5% fended off their attacker with the use of a gun. The other 95% fended off the attack another way or got help from strangers.
When taken as averages and when taking into account that more men work as police officers than women, the number of women police officers that shoot people is the same as male officers. In other words, if you resist arrest, you are just as likely to be shot by a female officer as you are by a male officer.
10. What’s the Face of Female Gun Culture Today?
A woman owning a gun is not as un-stereotypical as it was. The idea of a soft and sweet woman that is afraid of guns is going out of the public consciousness thanks to a series of strong gun-toting women in the media. Starting with the likes of Buffy and her crossbow, we have moved up to movies where a woman with a gun looks natural.
Angelina Jolie has featured in more gun movies than any other type of movie. Her example is being followed by Milla Jovovich, Kate Beckinsale, and Carrie-Anne Moss (Matrix). We cannot forget the iconic Sigourney Weaver in the Aliens movies and Linda Hamilton from the Terminator movies. There are even iconic female gunslingers in anime comics, features and movies such as:
+ Ghost in the shell
+ Infinite Stratos
+ Angel Beats
+ High school of the Dead
+ Hidan No Aria
+ Baby please kill me
+ Guilty Crown
+ K (Anime)
+ Mirai Nikki
+ Girls Und Panzer
11. Predictions for the Future
As the comedian Lewis Black said, “Relax, nobody is going to come into your house and take your guns away.” And, his other statement is as true that, “North America will never stop relying on oil, even when it is all gone.” The truth is that no government agency is going to undermine or remove one of North America’s biggest industries. There are over 270 million gun owners and there are significantly more guns than that on the market. It is a massive industry and is too big to remove. All the government is going to be able to do is tighten up restrictions to maybe try to stop as many teachers and students walking into schools and shooting them up. America will always be awash with guns.
+ White females have the lowest offending rates of any other group, which includes gun crime.
+ Men are more likely to shoot their own child if said child is under 5-years old.
+ Both men and women are just as likely to be the victim of gun crime.
+ Women are only 23.2% likely to be victims of murder.
+ Women are 63.7% more likely to be the victim of domestic homicide.
+ Women are 81.7% likely to be victims of sex-related homicide.
You can get ill from the mess on a bachelors plates, but you can eat off the barrel of his gun."
- Deb Baker, Murder Bites the Bullet
"I often think we should have tattooed on the back of whatever hand we use to shoot or write, "I might be wrong."
- Louise Penny, A Fatal Grace
They were invented by boys who had never gotten over their disappointment that accompanying their own orgasm there wasn't a big boom sound."
- Lorrie Moore, Like Life
Bird of Paradise
Born in the trenches
Facing the mouth of a gun."
- Emily Bird
People are seldom killed while cleaning their knives."
- Molly Ivins
"We lose eight children and teenagers to gun violence every day. If a mysterious virus suddenly started killing eight of our children every day, America would mobilize teams of doctors and public health officials. We would move heaven and earth until we found a way to protect our children. But not with gun violence."
- Elizabeth Warren, A Fighting Chance
"I had wasted my life in the pursuit of a career, romance, financial independence and the best heels in town when it seems I could have done more for my self esteem with a .38 calibre handgun"
- Tyne O'Connell, Latest Accessory
I am a 5'1 petite female. My pistol is my equalizer."
- Dr. Gina Loudon Author of Ladies and Gentlemen and What Women Really Want.
BBC News: news.bbc.co.uk
Bureau of Labor Statistics: bls.gov
Gary Kleck, "Crime Control Through the Private Use of Armed Force," Social Problems 35 (February 1988):15
Homicide Statistics 2012". UNODC.
Homicide Trends in the United States, 1980-2008" United States Department of Justice (2010)
The Examiner: examiner.com
Wall Street Journal: online.wsj.com