We have frequently been asked about this false internet meme and we have referred them many times to the research that we have done on this issue. Anyone who follows our website would know is completely false.
The claim is that the US has the 3rd highest murder rate, but if you removed Chicago, Detroit, DC, St. Louis, and New Orleans, the US would have one of the lowest in the world. In particular, the claim is that we would be the fourth lowest.
- The US’s homicide rate is well below the average homicide rate and also below the median homicide rate. Given that homicides include justifiable self-defense by police and civilians and that the gap between murders and homicides is much bigger in the US than other countries, if you looked at murder rates, the US would be even lower. For example, from 2011 to 2015, the US averaged 8,786 murders per year and 11,577 homicides. Murders in the US were 24% lower than homicides.
- The worst 60 counties in the US make up 52% of the murders. The worst 30 counties make up 37% of murders. As can be seen from this post, cutting the US homicide rate by 37% or even 52% would not get the US down anywhere near to the bottom four countries in terms of homicide rates. If 37% of the murders were removed, the US rate would decline from 5.4 to 3.4 per hundred thousand, and the US would be tied for the 76th lowest rate. If 52% of the murders were removed, the US rate would decline to 2.59 and would be tied for 66th lowest.
- Not all those cities have strict gun control laws. That said, there are lots of reasons that different places have different murder rates, and stricter gun control is associated with a higher murder rate. See here for a simple example and here for much more sophisticated work.