Albania's rate of gun-related deaths almost twice as bad as US

It is estimated 12,000 people have died in Albania as a result of guns since 1991

Emma Henderson
Tuesday 19 January 2016 18:56 GMT
Albania's rate of gun-related deaths remains high despite having reduced in numbers over the years
Albania's rate of gun-related deaths remains high despite having reduced in numbers over the years

A European country has been revealed as having a deadlier gun culture than America, according to research.

A study carried out by the Institute of Health and Metrics and Evaluation shows 1.37 per cent of Albania's violent fatalities are linked to firearms, compared to 0.83 per cent in the US.

According to the research, gun-related deaths have reduced in numbers over the years in Albania, which is a candidate to join the European Union.

In 1995, 2.49 per cent of violent deaths were as a results of firearms.

Gjin Marku, chairman of the Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation (CNR), which helps recon ciliate feuds between families - which is a problem in Albania - estimates that 12,000 people have died in Albania due to guns, since 1991.

1.37 per cent of all violent deaths in 2013 were as a result of guns in Albania, while only 0.83 per cent of deaths in the US were as a result of firearms

The CNR also suggests that post-communist gun warfare led to widespread irresponsibility among gun owners.

The Kanun law, which is thought to stem from an Albanian nobleman named Lekë Dukagjini in the 15th century, also plays a large part in Albania’s gun culture. Known as Gjakmarrja, the tradition dictates that in blood feuds, murder must be committed to maintain family honour between rival families.

It is thought there are at least 210,000 illegally held firearms in Albania, which is only home to just under three million people.

The International Firearm Injury Prevention and Policy organisation estimates Albania has around 270,000 legal and illicit guns, held by civilians.

Many were looted from army depots following the collapse of the Albanian government in 1997.

Similarly to America, possessing guns is a cultural phenomenon for Albanians, many of whom claim they need to obtain guns for protection.

* This article has been updated to clarify that Albania's Kanun law stems from a set of rules thought to have been developed in the 15th century by Lekë Dukagjini, a nobleman of northern Albania. It does not originate from ancient Islamic law as we initially reported. Update added 21/1/16

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