Gun Control

School Gun Violence Is Linked to Economic Insecurity

“Episodes of gun violence at America’s schools are both heartbreaking and disturbingly frequent, but the circumstances that inspire them remain elusive. A new Northwestern University study comes up with at least a partial answer,” Tom Jacobs writes for Pacific Standard.

“It finds such incidents are more common during periods of high unemployment. During an economic downturn, the assumption that a diploma leads to a good job is revealed as false (at least for the moment), leading to frustration, disillusionment, and, sometimes, violence.”

How to Prevent Gun Deaths? Where Experts and the Public Agree

New York Times: “The academics in our panel — many of the country’s best empirical researchers on gun policy — were far more likely than the general public to support gun control. But nearly all of the policies that experts think could work have widespread support from the general public.”

“While Americans remain sharply divided in their overall view of the tension between gun control and gun rights, individual proposals are widely favored. The most popular measures in our survey — policies like universal background checks and keeping guns from convicted stalkers — were supported by more than 85 percent of registered voters. Even the least popular idea, a law that would limit gun sales to people who had to demonstrate a ‘genuine need’ for the weapon, was favored by nearly 50 percent.”

“Public support, of course, doesn’t always translate into legislative action. The Republican Congress, like Mr. Trump, has shown little appetite for measures that would curb gun rights.”

Why Cleaning Up Abandoned Lots Can Reduce Shootings

Francie Diep: “On average, in the year after a clean-up, the areas around remediated lots saw 5 percent fewer shootings than the areas around un-remediated lots, and remediated houses experienced 39 percent less gun crime. That’s a boon not only for city coffers, but for neighbors as well. In a previous study, Branas and his colleagues showed that walking past abandoned lots raised locals’ heart rates and stress levels, perhaps because these places were known crime magnets.”

What 130 of the Worst Shootings Say About Guns in America

New York Times: “The New York Times examined all 130 shootings last year in which four or more people were shot, at least one fatally, and investigators identified at least one attacker. The cases range from drug-related shootouts to domestic killings that wiped out entire families to chance encounters that took harrowing wrong turns.”

“The findings are dispiriting to anyone hoping for simple legislative fixes to gun violence. In more than half the 130 cases, at least one assailant was already barred by federal law from having a weapon, usually because of a felony conviction, but nonetheless acquired a gun. Including those who lacked the required state or local permits, 64 percent of the shootings involved at least one attacker who violated an existing gun law.”

“Of the remaining assailants, 40 percent had never had a serious run-in with the law and probably could have bought a gun even in states with the strictest firearm controls. Typically those were men who killed their families and then themselves.”

Just Three Percent of Adults Own Half of America’s Guns

Washington Post: “Just 3 percent of American adults own half of the nation’s firearms, according to the results of a Harvard-Northeastern survey of 4,000 gun owners.”

“The survey’s findings support other research showing that as overall rates of gun ownership has declined, the number of firearms in circulation has skyrocketed. The implication is that there are more guns in fewer hands than ever before. The top 3 percent of American adults own, on average, 17 guns apiece, according to the survey’s estimates.”

U.S. Mass Shootings Have Gone Up, Particularly During the Summer

Quartz: “There was another mass shooting in Florida this week. It seems like this is happening more and more, that this is shaping up to be an awfully bloody summer in the US. What is it? Does the oppressive summer heat bring this on? Are things really worse or is everything just more heightened after a spate of bad news?”

“So how does this summer compare to the last few? As of July 25, 574 people in the US were killed or wounded during a mass shooting. This time last year, there were 432. Last summer in total: 639. No matter how you count, it’s not looking good.”

After the Orlando Shootings, Americans Rushed to Buy Guns

Bloomberg: “The aftermath of last month’s mass shooting in Orlando followed an all too familiar pattern: While politicians argued for and against tighter restrictions on guns, Americans rushed to buy more of them.”

“A predictable post-shooting cycle has taken hold: Gun control advocates demand stricter laws. Gun rights advocates warn a crackdown is imminent. Sales spike as gun buyers stock up.”

“The National Rifle Association and other gun advocacy groups have worked hard to persuade Americans that President Obama is plotting to take away their right to own firearms.”

“It’s been an effective tactic, even though Obama has done little to push for gun control and no proposed restrictions would stand a chance in the Republican-led Congress.”


How Terrorism Suspects Buy Guns — and How They Still Could, Even With a Ban

New York Times: “According to a study by the Government Accountability Office using data collected by the F.B.I., the vast majority of those on the watchlist who attempted to buy a gun from 2004 to 2015 were allowed to proceed, because they were not stopped by a disqualifying factor like a history of criminal or mental health problems.”

“Even if the Orlando gunman had been denied the purchase of guns from a licensed dealer because of his connections to terrorism, he could have still obtained weapons legally from a private seller at a gun show or online, because federal law does not require a background check for private purchases.”

Sen. Chris Murphy Filibusters Gun Issue

The Hill: “Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and other Democrats have taken over the Senate floor to call for tougher gun control laws and specifically action on keeping people on terrorist watchlists from buying firearms.”

“Republicans argue that could deny constitutional rights to Americans who aren’t actually tied to terrorism.”

“Instead, {Rep. Ben] Sasse (R-Nebraska) and most Republicans support an alternative proposal by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) that would allow the attorney general to delay suspected terrorists from getting a gun for up to 72 hours while seeking a court order to stop the sale.”

Appeals court: No Second Amendment Right to Carry Concealed Firearms in Public

Washington Post: “In a split decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said that there ‘is no Second Amendment right for members of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public.’”

“The majority opinion, written by Judge William A. Fletcher, made a distinction between concealed carry and open carry, and did not try to answer whether the Second Amendment protects ‘some ability to carry firearms in public, such as open carry.'”

The case is likely to go to the Supreme Court.

“The Supreme Court in 2008 used a D.C. case to declare an individual right to bear arms, but it has not yet ruled on whether firearms regulations for carrying in public, such as those in San Diego and the District, are constitutional.”

The Problem With Solving Gun Violence By Going After The Mentally Ill  

A new Health Affairs study suggests combatting gun violence by going after the mentally ill may not be a winning strategy, the Washington Post reports.

“Although people with mental illness were more likely to be arrested for violent crime than the general population over the study period, from 2002 to 2011, the study found they actually had a slightly lower arrest rate for gun-related crimes. And although the rate of suicide was about four times higher among people with such mental illnesses, they were half as likely to use a gun as the general population.”

The study’s findings suggest that policies designed to restrict unstable individuals from accessing guns are not particularly effective. If you know anyone who possesses a weapon, like a gun in their home, they could look into investing something like a gun cabinet (in Sweeden, they would call this a vapenskap) to keep it all secured.

“The study did find that policies to restrict people from obtaining guns don’t seem to be particularly effective — 62 percent of people in the study who committed gun-related violent crimes were not allowed to buy a gun. Those restrictions, however, largely stemmed from their criminal records, not their history of mental illness.”

“Among those who committed suicide with a gun, 72 percent were allowed to buy them. And 38 percent of the people arrested for violent gun crimes weren’t prohibited.”

Vast Majority of Americans Support Background Checks for Gun Purchases

Carl Bialik in FiveThirtyEight: “In dozens of polls over the past two decades, Americans have been asked if they support expanding background checks for the purchase of firearms … Consistently, at least 70 percent of Americans said they favor background checks. Often, far more do. In October, a CBS News/New York Times poll found that 92 percent of Americans — including 87 percent of Republicans — favor background checks for all gun buyers.”

“The popularity of background checks transcends age, political party, gender, education and even gun ownership. Last month, Quinnipiac University asked Americans whether they support a law requiring background checks for sales at gun shows or online. At least 84 percent of every one of 15 subgroups — including Republicans, men, gun owners and people living in rural areas — said ‘yes.'”

“Summarize all the conflicting views on gun control into one question, as the Pew Research Center has done, and you find a nation evenly split since 2010. Since 1993, Pew has asked the following question: ‘What do you think is more important — to protect the right of Americans to own guns or to control gun ownership?’”


For the First Time, Guns Kill More Americans Than Cars

Vox: “Cars are no longer deadlier than guns in America. For the first time in modern history, the age-adjusted death rate for both guns and car crashes is identical: 10.3 deaths per 100,000 people.”

“The data, previously reported by the Center for American Progress and Christopher Ingraham at the Washington Post, doesn’t show that gun violence is on the rise. Over the past decade or so, gun homicides dropped while gun suicides rose, keeping the rate of gun deaths flat. Instead, the real story is in the dramatic drop in car-related deaths — a trend that continued through 2014, in large part thanks to policy changes meant to make roads and cars safer.”

“Gun violence has been treated much less seriously by lawmakers. Although tough-on-crime laws and mass incarceration policies were in part a response to violent crime, the research shows such measures only partly contributed to the crime drop of the past couple of decades. States and the federal government have passed some gun control measures and looked into a Gun detection System… but many of the measures are riddled with loopholes, considerably weaker than those in other developed countries with lower levels of crime, or were relaxed or allowed to lapse over the decades, such as the assault weapons ban.”