Killias study shows no statistically significant international correlation between gun ownership levels and total homicide or total suicide

"Volokh, Eugene" <VOLOKH@MAIL.LAW.UCLA.EDU> writes: Martin Killias's "International Correlations Between Gun Ownership and Rates of Homicide and Suicide," 148 Can. Med. Assoc. J. 1721, 1723-24 (1993), purported to show that "the proportions and the rates of homicide and suicide committed with a gun as well as the overall rates committed by any means were related to the rate of household gun ownership."

Don Kates has just pointed out that a recent Killias work, Martin Killias, John van Kesteren & Martin Rindlisbacher, "Guns, Violent Crime, and Suicide in 21 Countries," 43 Canadian J. of Criminology 429 (2001), concludes that there is *no statistically significant international correlation* between gun ownership levels and total homicide, total suicide, total robbery, or total assault. The study found some correlations between gun ownership and *gun* homicide, suicide, and crime rates, but even those were present only as to some categories of gun deaths and gun crimes. The abstract is at, but I read the entire piece and that's precisely what the article shows. A very singificant development, it seems to me.

It would be an error to interpret this result as good evidence that people substitute other means for homicide and suicide when firearms are unavailable. As the authors note, firearms homicide and suicide are a relativley small fraction of homicides and suicides in most of the countries studied. This means that a study like this is not likely to find good evidence either for or against the sustitution hypothesis. Good evidence for sustitution would be significant *negative* correlations between gun ownership and non-gun suicide/homicide. Good evidence against substitution would be significant *positive* correlations between gun ownership and total suicide/homicide.


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