Places Not to Go if You Want to Stay Alive-Mostly Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
A chain email lists the murder rates of 109 countries and makes the argument that all of them have “100% gun bans” and are far less safe than America.
The murder rates of various countries listed in this email were probably accurate at one time, but many of them have since changed.
And the claim that the 109 countries listed have “100% gun bans” is false in most cases, which is why we’re calling this one “mostly fiction.”
First, let’s start with claims about murder rates. We’re not going to verify the murder rate of all 109 countries listed, but a look at the top five countries shows that data cited in the email is outdated. In some case, murder rates have gone up, and in other cases murder rates have gone down.
The World Heath Organization reported in 2014 that the murder rate in Honduras was 103.9 per 100,000 people, even more than the 91.6 reported in the email. The murder rate in El Salvador, however, was 43.9 per 100,000, far less than the 69.2 cited in the email.
Murder rates in the other top five countries were both higher and lower than reported. In El Salvador, the murder rate had dropped to 41.7 per 100,000 (not 91.6, as reported in the email). Similarly, the murder rate in Cote d’Ivoire, which has been embroiled in civil war within the last five years, was 12.2 per 100,000 (not 56.9, as reported). The murder rate of Jamaica (45.1) was down slightly, while the murder rate Venezuela (57.6) was up significantly.
So, the data cited in the email is generally outdated.
And when it comes to the claim that all of the 109 countries listed have “100% gun bans,” this email jumps the rails and heads into pure fiction.
Civilians in Honduras, for example, are allowed to own up to five guns. In 2013, there were 850,000 firearms officially registered in the country, and officials said they believed that was only 23% of the total civilian-owned guns in the country. According to the Small Arms Survey:
The most popular firearms in Honduras are 9 mm handguns, which can be legally purchased and owned. These weapons are banned for civilian use in nearby Mexico, thus creating a regulatory imbalance that encourages illicit weapons flows between the two countries.
For its part, Venezuela has expanded restrictions on carrying guns in public places, and it banned the commercial sale of guns in 2012. Still, legislation passed a short time later allowed for the re-opening of gun shops.
El Salvador, meanwhile, has strict gun laws, but not an absolute ban. You must apply for licenses with local authorities to possess and carry guns.
Cote d’Ivoire, commonly known as the Ivory Coast, is a different scenario. The high murder rate cited in the email was likely fallout from a civil war there that left 3,000 people dead in 2011. Human Rights Watch reports that gun control measures there have since focused on disarming former combatants and returning security functions from the military to the police.
And there are strong gun laws in Jamaica, but firearms aren’t 100% banned there, either. The Firearms Act of 1967 required that all guns be licensed with an annual registration fee of $6,000 Jamaican dollars. All gun crimes committed there are tried through a special Gun Court that was established in 1975.
A quick look at gun laws in the countries with the highest murder rates listed in the email proves that none of them have “100% gun bans,” as it claims. That’s why we’re calling that claim fiction.