The image above has gone viral on social media, with over 15,000 shares on Facebook and thousands of retweets. It's presumably being shared by gun control advocates, many of whom have been moved to outrage by Friday's mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school.
The poster was created in 1980 by Rick Boyko after John Lennon's assassination. It compares America's handgun deaths to other Western nations, including some with relatively high rates of gun ownership, like Canada and Switzerland. The vastly larger death toll in the US is startling, but the numbers aren't quite so shocking once you control for population size. America has ten times as many people as Canada - so controlling for population, the US saw something like 20 times more handgun deaths than Canada - not 200 times more, as this image suggests.
But since the other countries with low gun death rates have extremely different gun policies to one another, the takeaway on gun control is debatable.
The difference between the US and Canada could be partly accounted for by very different rates of handgun ownership. Less than 3% of Canadians own handguns, compared to over 12% of Americans.
Via Facebook and WaPo.