Friday, June 23, 2006

Six Nation Gun Survey

Here's an interesting survey. Note that the sponsor of the survey isn't exactly unbiased. So you can decide for yourself whether pollster had truth or desired results as a motivation.
Three in 10 people questioned in a six-nation survey have been the victim of gun crime or know someone who has been in the last five years, gun control campaigners said on Monday.

The survey of about 1,000 people in each of Brazil, Britain, Canada, Guatemala, India and South Africa found widespread support for tighter international restrictions on trade in firearms, the Control Arms campaign said in a statement.

Control Arms is a joint initiative by human rights group Amnesty International, charity Oxfam International and the International Action Network on Small Arms, made up of hundreds of groups from around the world seeking tighter gun controls.

The survey, carried out by pollsters Ipsos MORI in April and May, was released a week before a major United Nations conference on illicit trade in small arms opens in New York.

Control Arms says there are around 640 million small arms and light weapons in the world and eight million more are produced each year. Weapons kill more than 1,000 people every day, it says.

Control Arms called on governments to introduce global principles to regulate transfers of weapons and ensure that they do not end up in the hands of human rights abusers.

Thirty percent of respondents in the six countries said that either they, someone in their family or someone they knew had been threatened, injured or killed with a gun in the last five years.

The number of people answering "yes" to the question ranged from three percent in India, nine percent in Canada and 11 percent in Britain to 51 percent in both Brazil and Guatemala and 54 percent in South Africa.

More than 60 percent of those questioned said they were "worried about becoming a victim of armed violence", with Brazil recording the highest figure at 94 percent and Canada the lowest at 36 percent.

An average of 62 percent of all those surveyed said it was too easy to obtain a gun in their country.

Eighty-seven percent of all respondents wanted "strict international controls on where weapons can be exported to" and 89 percent backed better controls on arms coming into their country, the survey found.

I'd like to know why they chose these countries for the survey. Especially Brazil which seems inordinately nervous about gun violence. Didn't they recently have a referendum on gun control? And I'd say South Africa and Guatemala aren't exactly what I would call stable countries (See Below). Funny though that India, Canada and Britain were much less anxious about guns.

Check out Control Arms Website. You can also download the "Shattered Lives" report if you're a glutton for punishment. I honestly believe that this should be read. It's an interesting report on other countries and their small arms issues. I have yet to find anything in the report that would be considered a reasonable excuse for stripping Americans of their gun rights.

Here's some interesting bits that their own report states:
Guatemala continues to be a very violent country. Although the Peace Accords were signed in 1996, a survey in 2000 found that 75 per cent of people felt that insecurity was increasing, and 88 per cent perceived a marked increase in the acquisition and proliferation of firearms.20 Deaths from firearms increased from 69 per cent of all fatalities involving weapons in 1999 to 75 per cent in 2000, and firearms injuries increased from 52 to 60 per cent of all accidental injuries.
Hmm. Looks like the choice of Guatemala is indeed front loading the above Ipsos MORI survey.

And South Africa:
Guns can become so central to communities that their role goes far beyond their original purpose. In South Africa, AK-47s were used as currency and described as "Soweto Black Cheques"
In South Africa, illegal weapons ownership is increasing, all types of crime involving firearms have increased, and firearms-related homicide as a proportion of total homicides is increasing annually, from 41 per cent in 1994 to 49.3 per cent in 2000. In the USA, armed homicides have been declining from a peak in 1993, but the tide may be turning again, and gang activity and gun violence are re-emerging in some cities.
I'm not particularly surprised that they include a mention of violence decreasing in the US so that they can prod that fear that the trend is actually reversing. They don't actually provide much in the way on US stats, and they don't because they'd have to show that gun violence is increasing in areas with the most stringent gun controls.

Also look up Amnesty Internationals related website.

The issue I have with the gun controls by the UN is mainly that it refuses to acknowledge that there are legitimate personal uses for small arms. I'm fully aware that there are countries that have extreme issues with small arms, but that isn't a justification to force gun prohibition on countries that are fully in control.

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