Guns per 100 residents: 45.3
The culture: Finland was an overwhelmingly rural society until recent decades and still maintains something of a frontier attitude toward gun ownership: The legal age for buying a gun in the country is 15. Finland's gun culture is closely tied to hunting -- self-defense is not considered a legally valid reason for gun ownership -- but the use of handguns for target practice is common. Gun clubs are popular venues for bachelor parties and corporate events.
The country's casual attitude toward guns was called into question by two school massacres in 2007 and 2008, which killed a total of 18 people. While the country once had virtually no anti-gun lobby to speak of, public attitudes have begun to shift. Finnish politicians are now debating whether to raise the gun ownership age to 18 and ban semiautomatic weapons. Finland's laws have also put it at odds with the European Parliament, which has voted to set 18 as the minimum age for gun ownership throughout the European Union. But gun advocates in Finland point out that firearms are involved in only 14 percent of the homicides each year there, compared to 67 percent in the United States.