The United States is the gun-related murder capital of the developed world
In no other developed country do as many people die in gun-related homicides than in the United States. According to statistics compiled by the United Nations, 3.2 out of 100,000 Americans were killed by guns in 2010. As a frame of reference, consider that Japan, a country with one of the world's most notorious mafias, the yakuza, has virtually eliminated gun-related homicides.
Of all the countries in the world, Honduras has the highest gun-related homicide rate, with 68.4 deaths for every 100,000 people. But Honduras, like its fellow Latin American countries Colombia (27.1 gun-related deaths for every 100,000 people) and Mexico (10 per 100,000 people), has been engaged in a brutal drug war against well-funded and well-armed cartels and gangs. These factors are not at play in the United States, which is vastly richer and has a significantly more effective state apparatus.
The United States is nearly alone in enshrining gun rights in its Constitution (sort of)
The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, in full, reads: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." Over time, this amendment has been interpreted as guaranteeing individuals the right to possess a wide variety of firearms and, in many cases, to be able to carry those guns concealed on one's person or openly in a hip holster. U.S. courts have repeatedly upheld that interpretation, most recently in the 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller. In a 5-4 ruling, the justices struck down Washington, D.C.'s ban on handguns and rejected the notion that the Second Amendment permits individual gun ownership only for those participating in a "well regulated militia."
important to note that critics of the Heller ruling argue that it applies a distorted reading of the Second Amendment that deliberately removes the text
from the context of its drafting. Many historians claim that the amendment was
drafted in response to British efforts to disarm unhappy colonists, and that
the maintenance of private arms was seen as an integral part of preserving the ability
to muster a militia. In this reading, the Second Amendment does not protect the
individual right to bear arms.
The Heller ruling places the United States within a decidedly small club of nations -- alongside Guatemala, Haiti, and Mexico -- that guarantee the right to bear arms in their constitutions. According to the United Nations, these countries also experience relatively high rates of firearm-related homicides. While data is unavailable for Haiti, the United States and Mexico both saw around 10,000 gun deaths in 2010, while Guatemala, a significantly smaller country with only 15 million people, witnessed 5,000 gun deaths. If easy access to guns is supposed to guarantee safety and reduce gun violence, the experiences of these countries simply don't support that theory.