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Thursday, March 08, 2018

Links - Guns: Gun Laws

Gun utopias? Firearm access and ownership in Israel and Switzerland - "Swiss and Israeli laws limit firearm ownership and require permit renewal 14 times annually. ICVS analysis finds that the US has more firearms per capita and per household than either country. Switzerland and Israel curtail off-duty soldiers firearm access to prevent firearm deaths. Suicide among soldiers decreased by 40% after the Israeli armys 2006 reforms. Compared with the US, Switzerland and Israel have lower gun ownership and stricter gun laws, and their policies discourage personal gun ownership."

Change in suicide rates in Switzerland before and after firearm restriction resulting from the 2003 “Army XXI” reform. - "The authors found a reduction in both the overall suicide rate and the firearm suicide rate after the Army XXI reform. No significant increases were found for other suicide methods overall. An increase in railway suicides was observed. It was estimated that 22% of the reduction in firearm suicides was substituted by other suicide methods. The attenuation of the suicide rate was not compensated for during the follow-up years. Neither of the comparison groups showed statistically significant changes in firearm suicide rate and overall suicide rate.:"
Contrary to what pro-gun people claim, a reduction in gun suicides is not made up for by an increase in other suicides

Israel’s gun control laws can make the US safer, too - "Even those Israelis who pass through extensive hoops to get a firearm permit can only own one gun. And that’s a handgun — not a semi-automatic rifle capable of rapid fire. There are also limits on ammunition... Israel relies on professional members of the military and police force for security, rather than “good guys with guns” or even Civil Guard volunteers... The Israeli government has even restricted firearm access to current Israeli soldiers when off-duty on weekends as part of a successful prevention program that has halved firearm suicide — and 80 percent of the suicide reduction appears to have come from the gun restrictions, rather than counseling."

Does Gun Control Reduce Violent Crime? - "Although a minority of laws seem to show effects, they are as likely to imply violence-increasing effects as violence-decreasing effects. There were, however, a few noteworthy exceptions: requiring a license to possess a gun and bans on purchases of guns by alcoholics appear to reduce rates of both homicide and robbery. Weaker evidence suggests that bans on gun purchases by criminals and on possession by mentally ill persons may reduce assault rates, and that bans on gun purchase by criminals may also reduce robbery rates."

Gun Law Reforms and Firearm Deaths in Australia - "Following enactment of gun law reforms in Australia in 1996, there were no mass firearm killings through May 2016. There was a more rapid decline in firearm deaths between 1997 and 2013 compared with before 1997 but also a decline in total nonfirearm suicide and homicide deaths of a greater magnitude. Because of this, it is not possible to determine whether the change in firearm deaths can be attributed to the gun law reforms."
Yet according to pro-gun people, banning firearms doesn't change the total suicide and murder rate

Violence and mental illness: an overview - "the prevalence of violence among those with a major mental disorder who did not abuse substances was indistinguishable from their non-substance abusing neighbourhood controls. A concurrent substance abuse disorder doubled the risk of violence. Those with schizophrenia had the lowest occurrence of violence over the course of the year (14.8%), compared to those with a bipolar disorder (22.0%) or major depression (28.5%). Delusions were not associated with violence, even 'threatcontrol override' delusions that cause an individual to think that someone is out to harm them or that someone can control their thoughts... mental disorders are neither necessary, nor sufficient causes of violence. The major determinants of violence continue to be socio-demographic and socio-economic factors such as being young, male, and of lower socio-economic status. Second, members of the public undoubtedly exaggerate both the strength of the relationship between major mental disorders and violence, as well as their own personal risk from the severely mentally ill. It is far more likely that people with a serious mental illness will be the victim of violence."
So much for the real problem being mental illness
Why is it okay to stigmatise people with mental illness?


An NRA spokeswoman blamed an ‘insane monster’ for the mass shooting in Florida — here’s the truth about mental illness and guns - "according to the American Psychiatric Association, people with serious mental health problems account for just 3% of all violent crime, though as many as one in five people in the US experience a mental illness every year. Most mentally ill people are never violent. Information from the National Center for Health Statistics similarly shows that fewer than 5% of the 120,000 gun-related killings in the US between 2001 and 2010 were perpetrated by people diagnosed with mental illness. Only 1% of discharged psychiatric patients commit violence against strangers using a gun. And the mentally ill also account for less than 3% of all violent acts with guns. Data from American Psychiatric Association suggests Americans are about 15 times more likely to be struck by lightning than to be killed by a stranger with a mental diagnosis... given that mental health problems are more common among women than men, and just as common in the US as all other highly developed countries, mental health is not a logical explanation for America’s mass shooting problem"

Why Do Firearm Injuries Drop During NRA Conventions? - "The greatest reductions in firearm injuries happened on convention days in these groups: men, people in southern and western U.S. states, people in states within the top one-third for gun-ownership rates and people who lived in the state hosting the convention... The finding overturns the idea that most firearm injuries are caused by inexperienced users, as people of all skills attend the NRA annual meeting, the researchers said. "There is active belief that guns themselves are not inherently unsafe, but that they are only unsafe in the hands of untrained and inexperienced users," Jena noted. Instead, "our results suggest that firearm-safety concerns and risks of injury are relevant even among experienced gun owners""
This is about gun accidents, not gun crime - but still shows they're inherently dangerous

A spike in gun sales after the Sandy Hook massacre led to a tragic increase in accidental deaths — especially among kids - "In the five months after the mass shooting, approximately 3 million more guns were sold than would have been expected based on historical trends... states with the biggest spikes in gun sales also saw the highest spikes in accidental death rates... Researchers have also looked at the impacts of the Lautenberg Amendment to the 1968 Gun Control Act, which disqualified people with a conviction for domestic violence from buying or owning weapons. The policy was challenged in certain states, but data shows the states that did ban domestic abusers from gun ownership reduced gun murders by 17%. Analyses have also been conducted on “right to carry” laws, which require states to issue concealed-carry permits to anyone who is allowed to own guns and can meet minimum conditions (as opposed to holding concealed carry status to stricter standards). According to Cook and Donohue, such laws increase the rate of firearm homicides by 9% when state-by-state homicide rates are compared. Many people have argued that right-to-carry laws deter crime, since there are more armed people around to stop a criminal. That idea was supported by a controversial 1997 analysis, but these newer, more thorough analyses show the opposite effect. That could be because confrontations are more likely to escalate to a shooting, because there are more guns around that can get stolen, or some other factor.
More leads to more gun deaths, unless you're a gun nut, who always have voodoo logic
The number of adhoc hypotheses by pro-gun people makes addressing them all difficult, but this is evidence against claims that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, that potential criminals are deterred by gun availability or visibility (e.g. one being brandished but not shot - since we have clear data that when guns are fired outcomes are worse) or that more guns lead to less crime


4 Laws That Could Stem the Rising Threat of Mass Shootings - "One clear flaw in federal gun laws is that prospective buyers do not get background checks when buying from private sellers, only when buying from licensed dealers. An effective solution would be to require people to apply, in-person, at local law enforcement agencies for gun purchase permits. This approach would “make it harder for bad guys to buy guns,” Wintemute says. These laws are already in place for handgun purchases in 10 states and in Washington, D.C. In a 2009 study involving 53 cities Webster and his colleagues found this approach, which gives law enforcement officials discretion about who they gave permits to, was linked with a 68 percent reduced risk of guns being diverted to criminals post-sale. But after Missouri repealed its permit-to-purchase handgun law in 2007, firearm homicide rates increased by 25 percent, a jump that was not seen in neighboring states or the rest of the country, Webster’s team reported. Missouri’s repeal was also linked with a 52 percent increase in handgun murders of law enforcement officers in the line of duty...
Americans with convictions for domestic violence are already banned for life from buying guns (although again, Kelley fell through the cracks). But that is not the case for other violent offenders... California is an illustrative exception: In 1991 the state passed a law preventing individuals with violent convictions from buying guns. And in a study published in JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association in 2001 Wintemute and his colleagues studied its effects. Convicts who were allowed to buy guns before the law passed were nearly 30 percent more likely to be arrested later for a gun crime or other violent act compared with convicts who tried, but were unable, to buy guns after the law was passed...
The federal statute preventing domestic violence criminals from having guns has a big loophole: Guns often aren’t taken away unless criminals voluntarily relinquish them to local law enforcement agencies... restrictions based on restraining orders were associated with a 19 percent reduction in the risk for intimate partner homicide in large U.S. cities... intimate partner violence is strongly tied to mass shootings"

Four sheriff’s deputies hid during Florida school shooting - "The school’s armed resource officer, Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson, was also outside"
So much for good guys with guns

As a veteran, I'm telling you that allowing teachers to carry weapons is an asinine idea. - "Defending children is a must, but putting a firearm in the hands of even the most trained teacher isn’t the answer. Anyone suggesting this solution has clearly never experienced a situation like the one seen in Parkland because it oversimplifies the complexity of an active shooter situation, especially in close-quarters. It is not as easy as a “good guy with a gun stopping a bad guy with a gun.”... The medic, who had spent at least the last year of his life training for this exact moment, could not move... even the best trained members of the military react differently when bullets start flying... And now we are expecting teachers, even with training, to perfectly handle this situation. I say perfectly because anything less could mean even more tragedy and death... “There is barely enough time in the school year to train teachers on basic lesson planning and data use,” a friend who currently works for CMS told me. “So adding weaponry is just so absurd.” Members of the military and police spend hours, days and weeks at a time training with their weapons... According to an FBI study about active shooter situations, police officers who engaged the shooter were wounded or killed in 46.7 percent of the incidents. We’re talking about individuals who are specifically trained to respond to these situations and not teachers trained over the the weekend or during summer break."

Guess Who Thinks Arming Teachers Is A Really, Really Bad Idea? Military Combat Veterans. - "While arming teachers may sound like a good idea, “it increases the chance of kids dying in crossfire, adds to confusion with SWAT teams trying to identify an armed assailant, and greatly increases odds of an accidental shooting” tweeted VoteVets, a progressive veterans group... A growing number of veterans have been speaking out on social media using the hashtag #VetsForGunReform, many of them sharing photos from their deployments."

The People For Bernie Sanders - Posts - "Every time another one of these mass shootings happen - right when the Republicans start telling us that the answer is more guns, guns for everyone, guns for teachers, guns for students - I think about Chris Kyle. Chris Kyle was the American Sniper guy - a highly decorated Navy Seal sniper with 150 confirmed kills in the Iraq War. Whatever else is true about him, he definitely was very good at shooting guns and used to being in combat environments. On February 2nd, 2013, Kyle and a friend took a 25 year old Marine veteran to a shooting range, in the hope of helping him with his PTSD. On the way Kyle realized that the guy was dangerous, and texted his friend as such; the friend replied affirmatively. If this was a movie the 25 year old would have freaked out and drawn a weapon, and Kyle would have shot him or shot the gun out of his hand or held him at gunpoint. But it wasn't a movie. What actually happened was a Navy Seal military sniper and his friend were both shot to death with Kyle's own guns. Both of them were armed, and neither had time to even unholster their weapons."

If You Want to Know How to Stop School Shootings, Ask the Secret Service - "1. “Incidents of targeted violence at school rarely were sudden, impulsive acts.”
2. “Prior to most incidents, other people knew about the attacker’s idea and/or plan to attack.”... the notion of “snitching” needed to be reframed to being helpful. Unfortunately, it seems that in the case of the Parkland shooting, multiple people did come forward with concerns. The alleged shooter was on several different radars, but unless he was posing an imminent danger to himself or others, he couldn’t be jailed or forced to receive psychological services. It therefore becomes an issue of individual versus collective rights
3. Along similar lines, most attackers “engaged in some behavior prior to the incident that caused others concern or indicated a need for help.”
4. While most attackers—96 percent—were male, the report found that there “is no accurate or useful ‘profile’ of students who engaged in targeted school violence.” Three-quarters of the attackers were white; one-quarter of the attackers came from other racial and ethnic backgrounds, including African-American (12 percent), Hispanic (5 percent), Native Alaskan (2 percent), Native American (2 percent) and Asian (2 percent). Most came from intact families, were doing well in school and were not loners, according to the report.
5. “Most attackers had difficulty coping with significant losses or personal failures. Moreover, many had considered or attempted suicide.”
6. “Many attackers felt bullied, persecuted or injured by others prior to the attack.”...
my research on averted school shootings found that schools that prevented a shooting had done some of the things recommended by the Secret Service."

Are Mass Shootings Becoming More Common in the United States? - "while mass shootings rose between the 1960s and the 1990s, they actually dropped in the 2000s. And mass killings actually reached their peak in 1929, according to his data. He estimates that there were 32 in the 1980s, 42 in the 1990s and 26 in the first decade of the century... Look at the ways so many schools locked down after Columbine: the increase in inflexible zero-tolerance policies, the speed-up in the school-to-prison pipeline. Those changes made a lot of students less secure, not more"

Right-Wingers' Solution to Movie Theater Shootings: More Guns - "none of the 62 mass shootings in the last 30 years have been stopped by armed civilians. In fact, in two cases in 2005, bystanders who attempted to get involved were wounded and killed, and after the 2011 shooting in Tuscon "an armed citizen admitted to coming within a split second of gunning down the wrong person—one of the bystanders who'd helped tackle and subdue the actual killer." As the magazine reports, "Veteran FBI, ATF, and police officials say that an armed citizen opening fire against an attacker in a panic-stricken movie theater or shopping mall is very likely to make matters worse."... the logical response is not to allow guns everywhere, as the presence of guns increases aggression and the odds of deadly violence"

More guns, more crime: New research debunks a central thesis of the gun rights movement - The Washington Post - "The evidence suggests that right-to-carry laws are associated with an 8 percent increase in the incidence of aggravated assault, according to Donohue. He says this number is likely a floor, and that some statistical methods show an increase of 33 percent in aggravated assaults involving a firearm after the passage of right-to-carry laws... Gun rights advocates have undoubtedly placed too much stock in Lott and Mustard's original study, which is now going on 20 years old. The best policy is often informed by good research. And as researchers revisit their data and assumptions, it makes sense for policymakers to do the same."

How U.S. gun deaths compare to other countries - ""Overall, our results show that the U.S., which has the most firearms per capita in the world, suffers disproportionately from firearms compared with other high-income countries," said study author Erin Grinshteyn, an assistant professor at the School of Community Health Science at the University of Nevada-Reno. "These results are consistent with the hypothesis that our firearms are killing us rather than protecting us"... despite having a similar rate of nonlethal crimes as those countries, the United States has a much higher rate of deadly violence, mostly due to the higher rate of gun-related murders... compared to people in the other high-income nations, Americans are seven times more likely to die from violence and six times more likely to be accidentally killed with a gun... Murder is the second leading cause of death among Americans aged 15 to 24, the study found. The research also showed that murder was the third leading cause of death among those aged 25-34. Compared to those in the same age groups in other wealthy countries, Americans aged 15-24 are 49 times more likely to be the victim of a gun-related murder. For those aged 25-34, that number is 32 times more likely, the research revealed... "Differences in overall suicide rates across cities, states and regions in the United States are best explained not by differences in mental health, suicide ideation, or even suicide attempts, but by availability of firearms"... "Many suicides are impulsive, and the urge to die fades away. Firearms are a swift and lethal method of suicide with a high case-fatality rate""
So much for the claim that without guns people will still kill each other with other weapons

Ambrose: Fatherless homes a factor in mass shootings
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