Gunning For It

STEFANO G. PAVESI/CONTRASTO

Children can go to arms shows, like this one, but cannot own guns

Europe's restrictive gun laws may make the American pro-gun lobby recoil like a blunderbuss, but European governments hardly care. They maintain that limiting gun ownership to hunters, collectors and gun-club members has helped keep firearm homicide rates much lower than those of the U.S. According to figures recently compiled by the British Home Office, the European Union's average homicide rate per 100,000 people in 1997-99 was 1.7, compared to 6.26 in the U.S. ? and 20.52 in Russia.

Experts can argue about how much of those differences are due to the restricted availability of guns in Europe and...

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