Is Gun Violence an Example of American Exceptionalism?

18 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2018

Date Written: April 7, 2018


This paper examines the data used for cross-national comparisons of fatal gun violence and argues that a more valid comparison is to analyze gun-violence rates not against overall population, but against the size of the civilian-owned gun arsenal in each country. Utilizing this latter method, the U.S. rate of fatal gun violence is no greater than the average for all wealthy countries, raising the possibility that gun-control strategies based on population rates rather than gun-ownership rates may need to be rethought.

Keywords: gun violence, violent crime, right to carry, gun ownership

JEL Classification: I30, I31

Suggested Citation

Weisser, Michael, Is Gun Violence an Example of American Exceptionalism? (April 7, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

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