The USA is an exceptional case when it comes to firearms, and the figures do not lie.
"Turn on your television right now, you`re going to see scenes of children running for their lives. What looks to be the 19th school shooting in this country, and we have not even hit March. It only happens here not because of coincidence, not because of bad luck, but as a consequence of our inaction," said Democrat Senator Chris Murphy, taking the floor of the US Senate in the immediate aftermath of the Florida shooting.
So is Murphy right? US gun laws have been questioned time and time again, with some analysts speculating America is more violent, or its citizens lack proper mental health care. But the numbers show a stark contrast with the rest of the world.
The US makes up 4.4 percent of the world’s population but has almost half of the civilian-owned guns around the world. Inaction appears to be less and less an option.
How does this compare to other countries?
Only Yemen has a higher rate of mass shootings among countries with more than 10 million people. Yemen also has the world’s second-highest rate of gun ownership after the United States.
Switzerland has the second-highest gun ownership rate of any developed country. In 2004 the number of deaths by gun was 7.7 per million people, particularly high but in keeping with the relationship between gun ownership and murders.
Gun control legislation tends to reduce gun murders, according to a recent analysis of 130 studies from 10 countries. These appear to be irrefutable facts but there appears to be little chance of the facts getting in the way of the arguments in the US where firearms, like abortion or freedom of speech, divides people like little else.