World’s biggest gun lovers: Americans, Yemenis… and Finns?

As mentioned in this morning’s Brief, the town of Tuusula, Finland was the tragic site of school shootings Wednesday when an 18-year-old gunman shot and killed seven classmates and the principal of his school. Having been an exchange student in Finland many moons ago, I can imagine this coming as a huge shock to the ...

598245_SmallArms5.jpg
598245_SmallArms5.jpg

As mentioned in this morning's Brief, the town of Tuusula, Finland was the tragic site of school shootings Wednesday when an 18-year-old gunman shot and killed seven classmates and the principal of his school. Having been an exchange student in Finland many moons ago, I can imagine this coming as a huge shock to the Finns, whose violent crime rates are exceedingly low. 

That said, Finland does have a robust gun culture. Any adult can own a handgun as long as it's registered with a shooting club. And just from my experience there, the gun culture is largely centered around hunting (reindeer meat*, anyone?) and target shooting. I personally knew more people who owned guns over there than I do in the United States, which makes me think that gun ownership is more concentrated here. Anyhow, Finland ranks third in the world in gun ownership, with 56 firearms per 100 people, compared to a whopping 90 in the United States and 61 in Yemen, which ranks second. That's according to this fantastic graphic by the Washington Post, which was tucked away on page A14 in today's paper:

Source: Washington Post

As mentioned in this morning’s Brief, the town of Tuusula, Finland was the tragic site of school shootings Wednesday when an 18-year-old gunman shot and killed seven classmates and the principal of his school. Having been an exchange student in Finland many moons ago, I can imagine this coming as a huge shock to the Finns, whose violent crime rates are exceedingly low. 

That said, Finland does have a robust gun culture. Any adult can own a handgun as long as it’s registered with a shooting club. And just from my experience there, the gun culture is largely centered around hunting (reindeer meat*, anyone?) and target shooting. I personally knew more people who owned guns over there than I do in the United States, which makes me think that gun ownership is more concentrated here. Anyhow, Finland ranks third in the world in gun ownership, with 56 firearms per 100 people, compared to a whopping 90 in the United States and 61 in Yemen, which ranks second. That’s according to this fantastic graphic by the Washington Post, which was tucked away on page A14 in today’s paper:

Source: Washington Post

Other surprises from this chart? Iraq has “only” 39 firearms per 100 people.

*UPDATE: Finnish reader Timo Riitamaa writes in—

People don’t shoot reindeer, they shoot moose. Moose are wild animals.
Reindeers, while living freely in herds, are earmarked by their owners and killed by a butcher.

Christine Y. Chen is a senior editor at Foreign Policy.

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