The fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk
, a dual Australian-US national who had settled in Minnesota in 2014, has made headlines in both her native Australia and her adopted home in Minneapolis -- once again reigniting the all too familiar debate surrounding the role that firearms play in both law enforcement and in the civilian population throughout the country.
The United States arms some 900,000 law enforcement officers, according to 2014 FBI figures
-- in concert with the majority of the world's police forces who are also armed.
However, a small club of 19 nations do not routinely arm their police forces, including most of the UK, Ireland, Iceland and Norway. Three-fourths of the southern Pacific islands do not give guns to their officers either. Countries without armed police officers on average exhibit gun-homicide rates markedly lower than countries with armed police forces.
In the US, 41 police officers were killed in the line of duty in 2015, according to FBI data. Civilians killed by police, classified as "justifiable homicide," by the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, are also reported each year.
According to the UCR, between 2008-2012, an average of 400 people were killed by police annually in the United States. But many human rights organizations place this number far higher, citing lack of transparency in how the shootings are reported to the public. The Washington Post has reported 547 fatal police shootings
so far this year alone.
Although America's unique relationship to guns sits at the forefront of the national psyche, gun culture in the US is often seen as an outlier globally.
Here's a comparative look at how individual gun ownership -- and gun violence -- in the US compares to the rest of the world.
The number of firearms available to American civilians is estimated at around 310 million, according to a 2009 National Institute of Justice (NIJ) report.
India is home to the second largest civilian firearm stockpile, estimated at 46 million.
The most updated estimates -- now nearly a decade old -- place the worldwide civilian gun cache at around 650 million. According to Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey, the number of civilian guns has most likely risen since 2007. Firearm production continues to proliferate worldwide, outweighing the effects that gun destruction might have.
According to the Small Arms Survey, the exact number of civilian-owned firearms is impossible to pinpoint because of a variety of factors including arms that go unregistered, the illegal trade and global conflict.
Americans own the most guns per person in the world, about four in 10 saying they either own a gun or live in a home with guns, according to a recent Pew Center study
. Forty-eight percent of Americans said they grew up in a house with guns.