US: In the wake of the school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, and amid renewed nationwide calls for stronger gun control in the US; The Atlantic observed that ‘Big Data’ might have stopped the massacres in Newtown, Aurora, and Oak Creek. But it didn”t, because there is no national database of gun owners, and no national record-keeping of firearm and ammunition purchases. The private sector has all the tools we need to flag rapid weapons build-ups and suspicious purchases. All that”s needed is the political will to build the most basic database.
On the other hand, a suburban New York newspaper published online maps with names and addresses of gun license holders in several counties near New York City. The newspaper obtained this information through the state’s Freedom of Information Act. The published maps sparked uproar on the right and among some readers in the following week.
“We knew publication of the database (as well as the accompanying article providing context) would be controversial, but we felt sharing information about gun permits in our area was important in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings,” Janet Hasson, the president and publisher of the Journal News Media Group, said in a press statement.
According to a chart released by The Washington Post, the US gun murder rate is about 20 times the average of other developed countries. The countries include all Western countries plus Turkey, Israel, Chile, Japan and South Korea. The chart does not include Mexico, which has about triple the US rate due in large part to the ongoing drug war.
The Washington Post also reported that the US is home to 270 million privately held guns, which equates to an average of nine guns per 10 people, which is the highest in the world. The second highest gun ownership rate in the world is Yemen; and, Americans have nearly twice as many guns per person as do Yemenis.