The third presidential debate finished a few days ago and one of the first topics discussed concerned the second amendment, the right to bear arms. Pro-gun advocates claim that more guns make an area safer, while gun regulation advocates claim the opposite. What does data reveal on the topic?
Each year the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence releases the “Gun Law State Scorecard”. This scorecard grades states from A to F on the laws in place to regulate firearm purchases. Above is a map of the US displaying these grades: An “A” grade is colored black, B dark grey, C light grey, D pink, and F red.
Comparing state grades with the suicide rate reveals some insightful findings. Why compare gun regulations to suicide rates you ask? From 2010 to 2014, suicide was the highest cause of gun related deaths in the US – 64.9% of all gun deaths in the US resulted from suicide. The comparison with gun laws revealed there is a high correlation between the number of gun laws and the number of suicides. States with grade A or B gun laws tended to have the lowest suicides rates per capita. In fact, their is a consistent trend of increasing suicide rates for decreasing gun law grades. Said differently, as gun regulations decrease, suicide rates increase. This increase are not trivial either. The average grade F state has 3 times the number of suicides than the average grade A state.
The legal systems of countries around the world can be said to fit generally into three distinctive categories – Civil law, Common law, and Sharia law. Civil law makes up the majority of countries in the world and is derived originally from Roman law and later the Napoleonic code spread by the French empire across Europe. Civil law can be described simply a law structure that is highly codified into a referable system. It leaves little room for interpretation from judges as each law should be referable to a previous statute.
In contrast to Common law, also know as case law or precedent law, is derived from the English legal tradition. Common law puts much more power into the hands of judges and their interpretation of the law over time. These judge-made decisions create precedential authority to prior court decisions which bound the judge’s opinion to pervious court rulings. This legal system was spread by the British Empire to it’s dominions across the globe including: the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and is a hybrid system in many others.
Sharia law or Muslim law is present in muslim majority countries in the Middle East and North Africa. This legal tradition is derived directly from the Quran and was spread during Islamic Caliphate in 750 AD. The remaining parts of the world including most of the countries in Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia have some hybrid law system mixed between Civil, Common, Sharia, and Customary law. Refer to legend below for what category your country falls into.