FINDINGS: Gun violence is a leading cause of death in the United States, where over 36,000 people were killed by gunshot in 2015 [including homicide, suicide, and accident. The gun-murder rate is 25 times as high in the United States as in other high-income nations, and the gun-suicide rate is eight times as high. Interpersonal gun violence has deleterious effects on economic development and standard of living in heavily impacted neighborhoods. [M]any aspects of the body of research on gun violence have been deemed inadequate and inconclusive by expert panels of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
FINDINGS: nearly 1,300 children die annually in the US from firearm injuries, and an additional 5,790 suffer nonfatal gunshot wounds. The leading causes of death from firearms are homicide (53%), suicide (38%), and unintentional incidents (6%). Boys are far more likely than girls to suffer fatal gunshot wounds, accounting in the study for 82% of deaths. The CDC’s 2016 funding for firearm research was $0. States are also showing interest, notably California, which last year gave $5 million to the University of California, Davis, to develop a firearm violence research center.
ABSTRACT: Determining the relationship between gun ownership levels and firearm homicide rates is critical to inform public health policy. Previous research has shown that state-level gun ownership, as measured by a widely used proxy, is positively associated with firearm homicide rates. A newly developed proxy measure that incorporates the hunting license rate in addition to the proportion of firearm suicides correlates more highly with state-level gun ownership. To corroborate previous research, we used this new proxy to estimate the association of state-level gun ownership with total, firearm, and non-firearm homicides. Using state-specific data for the years 1981–2010, we modelled these rates as a function of gun ownership level, controlling for potential confounding factors. We used a negative binomial regression model and accounted for clustering of observations among states. We found that state-level gun ownership as measured by the new proxy, is significantly associated with firearm and total homicides but not with non-firearm homicides.
FINDINGS: There’s ample empirical evidence in support of enhanced regulation & oversight of licensed gun dealers, background checks for private sales, and purchaser licensing. (2) There are compelling case studies from Australia, Scotland, & Brazil that demonstrate effective policy responses to gun violence that have led to significant reductions in gun-related deaths
RESEARCH FOCUS: Childrens injury rates from guns.
FINDINGS: (1) There is a real public health concern for children with access to guns. (2) firearm injures are more likely to result in a death or a treatment in the ICU than other injuries (50.4% of children injured with guns, 50.4% required intensive care, compared with 19.3% for other trauma-related injuries. Some 13.2% died, compared with the 1.7% injured in another way.)
NOTES: data includes period between two mass shootings in the Denver area — the 1999 one at Columbine High School and July’s mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora.
RESEARCH QUESTION: Do “stand your ground” laws (present in 20 states) deter crimes?
FINDINGS: Results indicate the laws do not deter burglary, robbery, or aggravated assault. In contrast, they lead to a statistically significant 8 percent net increase in the number of reported murders & non-negligent manslaughters.
TITLE: Firearm Legislation and Firearm-Related Fatalities in the United States
SOURCE: JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(9):732-740. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.1286.
URL: http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1661390 / Download the PDF
AUTHORS: Eric W. Fleegler, MD, MPH; Lois K. Lee, MD, MPH; Michael C. Monuteaux, ScD; David Hemenway, PhD; Rebekah Mannix, MD, MPH
FINDINGS: having more laws on the books is associated with having lower rates of firearm-related homicide and suicide.
NOTES: (1) Studies show there is very little correlation between heavily armed citizens & democracy around the world. (2) Juxtaposing the US with Switzerland, China, or Cuba (a handful of the 175 countries with data on the subject) is cherry-picking. Counterarguments are easy presented with the majority of countries. (Ghana, Indonesia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Chile, Venezuela, Russia, etc.)
NOTES: Reports on JAMA article (in section 1), “Firearm Injuries of Children and Adolescents in 2 Colorado Trauma Centers: 2000-2008” by Drs. Sauaia, Miller, Moore, & Partrick. JAMA. 2013;309(16):1683-1685. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.3354. (1) There is a morbid pattern of gun violence-related injuries for children; (2) gun violence happens to children on a routine basis (i.e. gun inquiries are not isolated tragedies).(3) Federal funding for gun research is rare & deliberate (Since ‘96, NRA-backed federal law has prohibited all DHHS agencies, including the CDC from using funds, “in whole or in part, to advocate or promote gun control.”
TITLE: Responding to the Crisis of Firearm Violence in the United States SOURCE: JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(9):740. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.1292.
AUTHOR: Garen J. Wintemute, MD, MPH
(1) Gun violence in the US is a public health problem: More than 30 000 people are purposely shot to death each year—more than 300 000 since the World Trade Center was destroyed in 2001. Rates of firearm-related violent crime have increased 26% since 2008.
(2) More research and researchers are needed: The government has abandoned its commitment to understanding the problem and devising evidence-based solutions. There’s almost no funding for firearm violence research, and there are almost no researchers. There are no more than a dozen active, experienced investigators in the United States have focused their careers primarily on firearm violence. Only 2 are physicians. Only 1 has evaluated the effectiveness of an assault weapons ban. No CDC researcher has done more than occasional work in this field in 15 years.
(3) Motor vehicle connection: In the 1960s, the nation recognized a fast-growing crisis related to motor vehicle traffic fatalities. We created an agency, led by internist-epidemiologist William Haddon, MD, to launch an aggressive research effort and recommend and implement evidence-based interventions. The motor vehicle industry waged what the Supreme Court called the “regulatory equivalent of war” against airbags, one of the most important of those interventions. On airbags and other matters, the industry lost; the public’s health and safety won
NOTES: research gives clear evidence that tougher laws on guns have a role in preventing firearms deaths from both homicide and suicide. (2) researchers used CDC data from all 50 states between 2007 to 2010.
NOTE: Gunshot wounds and deaths cost Americans at least $12 billion a year in court proceedings, insurance costs and hospitalizations paid for by government health programs; (2) medical care for a fatal shooting averages >$28K
AUTHOR: Mike Edelman (@HawksLoveDoves)
NOTES: Article deals with the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms (PLCA) Act, the “legal equivalent of a bulletproof vest for gun manufacturers, shielding them from all liability in the majority of civil lawsuits arising out of the unlawful use of their products.” (2) Avoidance for profit: to avoid liability, gun manufacturers could simply stop making the guns that are most frequently used by criminals. Or, gun manufacturers could restrict the marketing of these guns to only law enforcement agencies. (3) Rather, gun lobby passed changed the law so that “courts are required by law to dismiss the vast majority of lawsuits against gun manufacturers arising out of unlawful gun violence.”
FINDINGS (loads of data): (1) overall # of guns has increased to about 1 gun per person, up from 1 gun for every 2 persons in the 1960s. (2) 6,220 of those homicides by firearm (72%) are known to have involved a handgun, (3) 19,392 of 38,264 suicides in 2010 involved a gun (50%), (4) about 40% of households have at least 1 gun, (5) there have been 62 incidents of mass shootings in the US, from 1982-2012. Of these, a semi-automatic handgun was used in 75% of mass shootings whereas an assault weapon was used in 40% of mass shootings, (6) we need better research to evaluate most effective public policies addressing gun violence; (7) The U.S. has the highest rate of civilian gun ownership in the world, by far.
NOTES: References statement from 60 Catholic clergy, theologians, & leaders, urging members of Congress to take greater “moral leadership & courage” to fight for gun control / reduction in gun violence. Analogizes abortion & gun violence. Identifies several Catholic members of Congress who are also “A” rated by NRA: J.Boehner, P.Ryan, J.Donnelly, H.Heitkamp, & urges them to take action.
FINDINGS: 32k+ youth deaths from gun violence since Columbine, Alaska (most deadly state for youth), Hawaii (least deadly state for youth).
NOTES: Lots of state-by state-data on gun-based homicides/suicides for youth
NOTES: Gun control laws in Germany (& Italy, Cuba, USSR, Cambodia) did not cause oppression of citizens. Ridiculous to speculate that small number of lightly-armed civilians could have fought off dictators’ governments. German gun restrictions came in 1938, after Nazis thoroughly in power. Castro’s revolution succeeded in part from GIVING people guns, not restricting them. There was no hand gun restriction in Cuba. Cambodia restricted Vietnamese gun traders, but not guns themselves. Stalin & Mussolini passed no gun control laws. Gun laws in Chicago, Switzerland, Israel have worked.
FINDINGS: 2nd Amendment is a mess grammatically & interpretively through history. “Well Regulated” = “Well Trained”; “Militia” = “Military Group”; State = The individual States, specific subsets of people were, are, & should be denied the right (e.g. mentally ill), thus should be repealed. History of NRA attempts to subvert appropriate limitations of right (e.g. mentally ill). Appropriate to limit the right because times change: e.g. free speech has been limited by regulations on who can use which broadcast frequencies. So, evolution of weaponry creates a state interest in regulation. Proposed replacement amendment: “The people retain the right to keep & bear arms, subject to reasonable restrictions deemed necessary by the Congress & the President to secure the lives & well being of others.” To make this practical, he proposes Liability Insurance for gun owners.
NOTES: List of many mass shootings back to 1984; Supports right to bear arms but advocates repeal/replacement of 2nd amendment; different versions of amendment passed by States vs. Congress; review of SCOTUS opinions; some constitutional analysis/analogy.
NOTES: (1) The US ranks 1st against 177 other countries in the number of civilian guns owned – 270 million. (2) Of the countries that have more shootings than the US, most are from Central and South America where criminal elements developed to provide illegal drugs to the US. (3) In Japan, most kinds of guns are illegal…in 2008, there were 11 shooting homicides. Similarly, in 2009,only 18 people were murdered with a firearm in the UK. (4) In high income countries, guns are used primarily for suicides, not homicides. (5) Unintentional gun deaths are much higher where citizens own more guns.
NOTES: Outlines rationale for requiring liability insurance for gun owners. Similar to auto insurance, rate would vary based on type of gun, age of owner, etc. Shifts burden of “regulation” & background checks to insurance industry, which is very good at risk analysis, & more efficient than government.
NOTES: for every time a gun in or around the home was used in self-defense, or in a legally justified shooting, there were four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides, & 11 attempted or completed suicides. That’s one self-defense shooting for 22 accidental, suicidal or criminal shootings — hardly support for the notion that having a gun handy makes people safer. Other studies show that women & children are disproportionately the victims of such gunshots, & that when children commit suicide, guns in their home or at their friends or relatives’ homes are used.
NOTES: (1) Shooting deaths in 2015 will probably rise to almost 33,000, and those related to autos will decline to about 32,000, based on the 10-year average trend, (2) Every day, one of those killed by firearms is 14 or younger, (3) more than 200 people go to U.S. emergency rooms every day with gunshot wounds.
(1) The Second Amendment is not only a matter of law, but a matter of politics. Conservatives put originalism aside to alter a long-held legal interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. (2) The text of the amendment is divided into two clauses and is, as a whole, ungrammatical. (3) Courts have found that the 1st part, the “militia clause,” trumps the 2nd part, the “bear arms” clause. As a result, the 2nd Amendment conferred on state militias a right to bear arms; it did not give individuals a right to own or carry a weapon. This changed after a post-coup d’état-NRA came into the picture in 1977. A novel interpretation of the 2nd Amendment was then sought, one that gave individuals, not just militias, the right to bear arms. An uphill battle was fought and, eventually, won, but not without brute political force. It wasn’t until the 2008 case of District of Columbia v. Heller that the Supreme Court fully embraced the individual-rights view of the Second Amendment.
NOTES: Editorial arguing that gun violence is a pro-life issue. Religious, moral argument “about the sanctity of all human life, no matter who the person is, no matter at what stage of life the person is passing through, and no matter whether or not we think that the person is “deserving” of life.”