Thursday, December 10, 2015

The U.S. Gun Sellers Map

These days it seems that the only interactive maps coming out of the USA are related to mass-shootings, gun homicides and other gun related maps. Here's another one.

The Oregonian's Gun Sellers in the United States map shows the number of licensed gun sellers per 100,000 people at county level. If you mouse-over a county on the map you can view the number of gun sellers in the county and the total population.

One of the big questions here must be whether the number of licensed importers, pawnshops and sellers of firearms in a county actually has any effect on the number of gun crimes in the area. The Oregonian's own US Gun Deaths Map 2004-2010 provides a neat comparison. This map shows the average number of gun deaths per 100,000 county residents. The map therefore does provide a good overview of where the most gun deaths are occurring, in proportion to the population.

If you compare the two maps it seems that there may be some correlation between the number of gun sellers in some counties and the number of gun deaths - but not in many other areas. For example, in some of the north-western states there are a high number of gun sellers and a high proportion of gun deaths. However, if you look at the gun homicides map on the Oregonian you will see that those north-western states actually have a lower than average number of gun homicides. The majority of those gun deaths in the north-west come from people killing themselves with guns.

The southern states tend to have the highest gun homicides per population. If you look at the choropleth map of gun sellers you can see that the south in general actually has a lower than average number of gun sellers per population. So the link between the number of licensed gun sellers and the number of gun homicides in a county appears to be pretty weak.
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