When it comes to guns, the United States is exceptional. We have the highest civilian gun ownership rate in the world, with 89 guns per 100 people, according to the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey.
The U.S. gun lobby sometimes cites Switzerland as an example of a country that has many privately owned guns and little violent crime. (Their argument seems to be guns don’t kill people; only lunatic Americans kill people.)
In fact, ammunition kills people. It is true that Switzerland, like the United States, has a strong gun culture with many shooting clubs — but it also has a mass citizen militia. Members of the part-time militia, in which most men serve, are allowed to keep their weapons at home, and the country of less than 8 million people owns at least 2.3 million weapons, many stashed under beds and in cupboards. But while Swiss homes contain guns, ammunition is largely kept under lock and key at local military depots.
Someone once described Canada as “a country in North America where everyone has health insurance.” The same pundit defined the U.S. as “a country in North America where everyone has a gun.”