Following the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School the U.S. has once again become embroiled in debates about the country's gun ownership laws. As a European, living in a country with very strict restrictions on gun ownership, this debate is obviously none of my business. However as an outsider I do find the debate interesting and over the last week I have come across a few maps that may have some bearing on the debate.
This map of Recent World Wide School Shootings shows the location of 78 incidents around the world where guns have been fired in or around schools. Undeniably, for whatever reason, a large proportion of these incidents have occurred in the United States.
The Guardian's US Gun Crime Map uses data from the FBI's uniform crime reports to show the use of firearms in crimes state-by-state across America.
The FBI crime statistics are based on reports to FBI bureau and local
law enforcement and they have no available data for
Florida or Alabama on firearm murders. The map presents a simple heat map of gun crimes in each state and users can click on individual states to view the data in detail.
Lohud.com has mapped the addresses of all pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties in New York state. Using Fusion Tables they have created a Google Map of all pistol permit holders in both counties.
This is the point where most European readers will probably be looking on in slack-jawed wonder. Looking at the map and seeing the prevalence of gun ownership and the number of gun owners on every street is a bit of an eye-opener, at least to my European eyes.
I guess it depends on your point of view as to whether you believe this scale of gun ownership makes you feel safer or scares the living bejesus out of you.