Strict Gun Laws Won’t Stop Violence But It Can’t Hurt

Jonathan Cohn and Nick Wing: “Would stricter gun laws have saved the lives of Alison Parker and Adam Ward? Probably not. Would stricter gun laws have saved the lives of many other people? Probably.”

“That’s a fair reading of the latest research — and something to remember now that Wednesday’s killing of the two television journalists, during a live interview, has politicians and pundits talking about gun violence again.”

“No other developed country has a gun homicide or gun violence rate even approaching that level … And while America’s high rate of gun violence undoubtedly reflects many factors, researchers like David Hemenway … have found a clear, strong relationship between gun ownership and gun-related deaths. In places where more people have guns, more people get killed by them.”

“Demonstrating that gun laws might cut down on gun deaths is even more difficult than establishing a link between firearms ownership and the extent of violence. But here, too, academics have recently produced important scholarship that bolsters the case for more regulation. ”

“The shootings that feature large numbers of casualties or spectacular circumstances … become national stories and galvanize the public. The vast majority of killings, which usually take place in the home and are twice as likely to be acts of suicide than murder, barely register. Yet it’s on these routine killings, which happen by the dozens every week, that stronger gun legislation is most likely to have an effect.”

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  • S1AMER

    It’s our culture that impels people to grab a gun when they get angry or have a grudge or grievance or whatever. It’s the easy legal availability of guns that gets the weapons within easy reach.

  • embo66

    Frankly, the key to turning the tide on the gun control argument is probably to drop all discussion of mass killings and mental illness, period — and to focus instead on the hundreds of handgun deaths every month that occur one household at a time.

    It’s the ready availability of a gun that turns a domestic argument into murder, an accident into manslaughter, and a depressed person into a successful suicide.

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