No, gun laws aren't why Japan has few shootings

Japan" by graffiti living is marked with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED.

Whenever there’s a horrific violent crime, someone will be happy to tell you all about how gun laws really do work. When asked to show their evidence, they often point to other nations.


Earlier today, I saw where Japan was mentioned.

The premise is simple. Strict gun control is why Japan has few shootings.

This looks on the surface like simple cause and effect. However, this is a great example of how someone can lie with facts.

Yes, Japan has strict gun control. Yes, they have few shootings.

Those two factors aren’t nearly as related as some would like for you to believe, however.

See, when you want to determine if a law does something, you have to go beyond the superficial appearance, which is what this report failed to do. Luckily, I’m bored easily and love ripping apart the anti-gun narrative.

First, let’s look at Japan’s total homicide rate. Not their gun homicide rate, and you’ll see why in a moment.

Per 100,000 people, Japan had a homicide rate of 0.25 in 2020. That’s with all weapons, including those readily available to anyone who wants them such as kitchen knives, sporting equipment, and bare hands and feet.

Now, it wasn’t that long ago that we looked at our nation’s non-gun homicide rate for 2020. That turned out to be 1.6 homicides per 100,000 people.


In other words, when you eliminate guns entirely, our homicide rate is still more than six times greater than that of Japan.

Further, that comparison assumes that if guns weren’t a thing, absolutely none of the gun fatalities would have occurred. That’s not remotely true and any semi-rational person knows that to be the case. At least some people who shot and killed someone would have simply used some other weapon if guns were unavailable.

So with our non-gun homicide rate being so many times greater than Japan’s total homicide rate, it’s pretty obvious that simply claiming they have few shootings because of gun laws ignores some important points.

Let’s remember that while Japan is what many would consider a first-world nation, mostly because it is, it’s not remotely similar to us culturally. England, from which our nation was once a part, is profoundly different from us culturally. Japan is downright alien.

As such, there are parts of Japanese culture that likely play more of a factor in reducing violent crime and homicides–including those using a firearm–that aren’t part of the discussion.


While I’m as much of a fan of American Exceptionalism as anyone, that doesn’t mean I believe we’re perfect. Something in our society does lend itself toward Americans simply being more violent than other developed nations. We see that in comparing homicide rates where no gun is involved here to their total rates.

That’s important because too many people get fixated on the firearm.

In their mind, that’s the important part. They focus on the tool rather than the tool using it, but that’s a mistake. As we can truly see from looking at Japan, they have few shootings at least in part because they’re simply not as violent a society.


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