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Sunday, May 13, 2018

Links - Guns (13th May 2018)

Why Japan youth gangs don't use guns - "Although the gang rivalry was strong—”messy,” Beck says—and the resulting injuries could be serious, fatalities were virtually nonexistent. Not because of any moral code—the gang members simply didn’t have guns. Beck initially thought this was due to Japan’s strict gun laws, but discovered it had far more to do with the narrative of heroism. Gang members knew where to get guns, legally or illegally, but they weren’t particularly interested in doing so. “Their reasons for remaining gun-free revolved around some loosely held concept of honor,” Beck says. “Being able to move your finger on a trigger is not really a skill that wows anyone.”... “A gun in Japan would earn the wielder scorn,” Beck says, “not respect.”"
"Guns don't kill people. People kill people"

How to Reduce Mass Shooting Deaths? Experts Rank Gun Laws - The New York Times - "We asked dozens of researchers in criminology, law and public health to assess a range of policies often proposed to prevent gun deaths. We also conducted a national poll to measure public support for the same set of measures."
An assault weapons ban is ranked as highly effective by experts - even though pro-gun people keep pooh-poohing it

With AR-15s, Mass Shooters Attack With the Rifle Firepower Typically Used by Infantry Troops - The New York Times - "Joe Plenzler, a 20-year combat veteran of the Marine Corps, is part of a social media movement of military veterans, including those who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, calling for reforms on the sale or possession of modern military-style firearms. “They are the Formula One cars of guns, designed to kill as many people as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Mr. Plenzler said, referring to AR-15-style rifles. “We are seeing battlefield-level casualties because we are allowing those weapons on our street,” he said... The small-caliber, high-velocity rounds used in the military rifles are identical to those sold for the civilian weapons. They have been documented inflicting grievous bone and soft-tissue wounds. Both civilian and military models of the rifle are lightweight and have very little recoil."

New assault weapons ban will prevent mass shootings, experts say - The Washington Post - "For his 2016 book “Rampage Nation,” Klarevas collected data on every gun massacre — which he defines as six or more people shot and killed — for the 50 years before 2016. His aim was to see whether there was any change in the number of gun massacres while the 10-year federal ban on assault weapons was in place. He calls the results “staggering.” Compared with the 10-year period before the ban, the number of gun massacres during the ban period fell by 37 percent, and the number of people dying from gun massacres fell by 43 percent. But after the ban lapsed in 2004, the numbers shot up again — an astonishing 183 percent increase in massacres and a 239 percent increase in massacre deaths. Klarevas says that the key provision of the assault weapons bill was a ban on high-capacity magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. “We have found that when large capacity mags are regulated, you get drastic drops in both the incidence of gun massacres and the fatality rate of gun massacres.” The opinion is shared among many researchers who study gun violence for a living... On a scale of effectiveness ranging from 1 (not effective) to 10 (highly effective), the expert panel gave an average score of 6.8 to both an assault weapons ban and a ban on high-capacity magazines, the highest ratings among the nearly 30 policies surveyed... A number of surveys show that bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines are popular among the general public. A 2017 Pew Research Center poll found that 68 percent of adults favor banning assault weapons, and 65 percent support a ban on high-capacity magazines. More strikingly, substantial numbers of gun owners supported the measures as well"
There is a claim that Americans can't agree on what specific gun control measures should be passed even if they agree more are needed, but this is clearly false

Better gun laws could save thousands of lives, major non-partisan US study finds - "Passing an assault weapons ban might prevent 170 mass shooting deaths a year in the US, experts who support gun control estimate. Passing a universal background check law could prevent 1,100 gun homicides each year. Raising the age limit for buying firearms could prevent 1,600 homicides and suicides. These are some of the new estimates in a groundbreaking study of the potential impact of American gun control laws. The non-partisan analysis, based on a review of existing gun policy research and a survey of the best guesses of both gun rights and gun control experts, was conducted by the Rand Corporation, which spent two years and more than $1m on the project. Rand’s review of the existing research concluded that only a handful of gun control laws were backed by strong research evidence. Child access prevention laws, which are designed to keep guns out of the hands of children, had the strongest evidence behind them, the researchers concluded, and appeared to reduce gun injuries and suicides. The review also found “moderate evidence” that background checks reduce firearm suicides and homicides, and that certain mental health gun prohibitions reduced violent crime. The Rand review also found “moderate evidence” that “stand your ground” laws, which allow Americans to use guns to defend themselves without first attempting to retreat from a confrontation, may increase state homicide rates. What the two-year project revealed most starkly were the gaping holes in both the research and the basic data needed to understand what gun laws might save the most lives. There was only “inconclusive” research evidence about the impact of a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines on mass shootings and on violent crime"

What America’s gun fanatics won’t tell you - "A “well-regulated militia” didn’t mean guys who read Soldier of Fortune magazine running around in the woods with AK-47s and warpaint on their faces. It basically meant what today we call the National Guard... The one big difference between this militia and a professional army? It shouldn’t be made up of full-time professional soldiers, said the Founding Fathers. Such soldiers could be used against the people as King George had used his mercenary Redcoats. Instead, the American republic should make up its military force from part-time volunteers drawn from regular citizens. Such men would be less likely to turn on the population. And the creation of this “well-regulated militia,” aka the National Guard, would help safeguard the freedom of the new republic because it would make the creation of a professional, mercenary army “unnecessary,” wrote Hamilton... Hamilton was scathing about the idea that the “militia” could just mean every Bob, Billy and Benjamin with his musket. Such amateurs would stand no chance in modern warfare against professionals... Today we have a professional army, anyway. Military matters have become so complex that no part-time soldiers could do it all. So you could argue that makes the Second Amendment null and void, like the parts in the Constitution about slaves and Indians being counted as “three-fifths” of a person in the Census... if you’re running around waving your AK-47 under the Second Amendment, and you haven’t shown up yet at your local National Guard headquarters, you’re not a “patriot.” You’re a deserter."

This Gun Instructor Says Many Who Carry A Gun Aren't Trained To Respond To A Shooter - "On what kind of training someone would need to stop an active shooter
"You would need more training than 50 percent of the sworn active law enforcement officers in this country ever get. And by the way, when you go to the range, of course even if you're shooting at a target, the target is standing still. A person doesn't stand still""

Mass Shootings: What Role Do Guns Play? - "There appears to be little correlation between mental illness and mass shooting rates... what a young white male mass shooter may experience is relative deprivation—they compare their lives to those around them and manifest increased prejudice and rage. These young men may have been told they have privilege yet everywhere they look in their lives, they see privilege denied... bullying cannot be a predominant factor in gun violence, as disparities in respect, privilege, or opportunity exist around the globe. Bullying is not unique to the US and the US, with all of its opportunities, far outshines other nations in relation to mass shootings... patriarchy and the association between masculinity, power, and violence are hardly unique to the US. Yet, the extreme frequency of mass shootings is distinctly a US identifier... the US is not the only consumer of violent video games or media. Yet, we outpace these other nations with respect to mass shooting... prejudice and discrimination against the “other” exist around the globe, as does organized hate or extremism. Yet, it is in the US where such hatred translates into mass shootings... The key feature that separates the US from other nations around the globe is the availability and access to guns, particularly highly destructive semi-automatic weapons of war. According to the McCarthy, Beckett, and Glenza (2017), the US, which constitutes less than 5% of the world’s population, makes up between 35-50% of the world’s gun ownership with 88 guns per every 100 individuals. Just the mere presence of a gun—otherwise known as the “weapons effect (see Bushman, 2013)—makes it more likely that someone will be a victim of gun violence"
This is an interesting echo of Study: Poor Kids Who Believe in Meritocracy Suffer (aka "Why the Myth of Meritocracy Hurts Kids of Color")

US mass shootings blamed on high gun ownership and 'American Dream' - ""My study provides empirical evidence, based on my quantitative assessment of 171 countries, that a nation's civilian firearm ownership rate is the strongest predictor of its number of public mass shooters"... shooters abroad were 3.6 times less likely to use multiple weapons, something he attributed to the vast number of weapons in circulation in the US compared with any other country (200 million more). He also found that victim numbers were lower in the US, at 6.87 percent per incident rather than 8.81 in other nations -- this, he attributed to the fact US police are more used to responding to such tragedies and therefore are better prepared. US shootings were more likely to take place in schools, factories and office buildings, however, versus military posts where incidents occur more frequently abroad. "The most obvious implication is that the United States could likely reduce its number of school shootings, workplace shootings, and public mass shootings in other places if it reduced the number of guns in circulation.""

The "weapons effect" - "A review of 56 published studies confirmed that the mere sight of weapons increases aggression in both angry and nonangry individuals"
So much for pro-gun people's claims that seeing another person's gun will deter a criminal from using his (and thus more guns will lead to less crime)

How Leaving America Changes What People Think About Guns - "the likelihood of dying by gun violence in Japan "is about the same as an American's chance of being killed by lightning—roughly one in ten million." (In the US, the likelihood of dying by gun violence is on par with dying in a car accident.)"

Steve Hemmert - With some hesitation born of nostalgia, I turned... - "With some hesitation born of nostalgia, I turned in two AR style rifles to the Miami Police Department as part of their gun buy-back program today. As a former U.S. Army Infantry officer, I was well trained in the use of, and felt very comfortable with, the M-16/M-4 platform. I have always considered myself a responsible gun owner. My 14 year old daughter and I built one of the ARs- from scratch- together... There is no valid need for any civilian to own an AR. They make terrible self defense weapons because they can't safely be stored in a condition that makes them available to use quickly, and the rounds penetrate walls too easily. They aren't hunting rifles (it's not even legal to shoot a deer with one). I know very well that my little AR is never going to be used to stand up to a government that has tanks and heavy machine guns. And God forbid someone steals them and uses them to kill more innocents. Any honest gun owner will admit that the only lawful reason to own an AR is because they are fun to shoot (and they ARE fun to shoot)."

More Americans Than Ever Support Stricter Gun Laws: Poll - "Support for universal background checks, a mandatory waiting period for firearm purchases and an assault weapon ban came in at 97%, 83% and 67%, respectively"

Nuri McBride - I've noticed several people in my feed mention... - "I've noticed several people in my feed mention Israel concerning armed citizens and guns, quoting BS put out by the NRA, so let me set a few things straight. If you want to own a gun in Israel you must consider the following:
1. 40% of applications for firearms permits are rejected. There are only 170,000 active permits currently (population 8.5 million)
2. Only a small group of people are eligible for firearms licenses. Primarily licenses go to high ranking retired military personnel, police officers, prison guards, security guards, and animal control officers. There are a small number of licences for settlers in the West Bank and hunters.
5. You must pass an extensive background check (including criminal check, national security check, health exam, and mental health evaluation)
6. You must establish a genuine reason for possessing a firearm. I like guns is not an option. If you say you need a gun for self-defence, you can only have one gun, and you are limited to an annual supply of 50 bullets
7. You have to justify every gun you possess separately. Owning more than two guns is extremely rare.
10. You have to undergo a psychological assessment every six years.
11. You must have a safe at your residence in which to keep the firearm.
13. There are enormous legal repercussions should your gun be miss-handled, miss-fire, injure anyone unjustly, or be used in a crime. Even if you are not the one that committed these acts.
14. You are not allowed to sell your gun to anyone but a registered dealer or the police. In Israel, gun ownership is a privilege, not a right. It is illegal to own an assault rifle."

The AR-15 Is Different: What I Learned Treating Parkland Victims - "Routine handgun injuries leave entry and exit wounds and linear tracks through the victim’s body that are roughly the size of the bullet. If the bullet does not directly hit something crucial like the heart or the aorta, and the victim does not bleed to death before being transported to our care at the trauma center, chances are that we can save him. The bullets fired by an AR-15 are different: They travel at a higher velocity and are far more lethal than routine bullets fired from a handgun. The damage they cause is a function of the energy they impart as they pass through the body. A typical AR-15 bullet leaves the barrel traveling almost three times faster than—and imparting more than three times the energy of—a typical 9mm bullet from a handgun. An AR-15 rifle outfitted with a magazine with 50 rounds allows many more lethal bullets to be delivered quickly without reloading... With an AR-15, the shooter does not have to be particularly accurate. The victim does not have to be unlucky. If a victim takes a direct hit to the liver from an AR-15, the damage is far graver than that of a simple handgun-shot injury. Handgun injuries to the liver are generally survivable unless the bullet hits the main blood supply to the liver. An AR-15 bullet wound to the middle of the liver would cause so much bleeding that the patient would likely never make it to the trauma center to receive our care... As a doctor, I feel I have a duty to inform the public of what I have learned as I have observed these wounds and cared for these patients. It’s clear to me that AR-15 and other high-velocity weapons, especially when outfitted with a high-capacity magazine, have no place in a civilian’s gun cabinet"

“Fuck you, I like guns.” - "I’m an Army veteran. I like M-4’s, which are, for all practical purposes, an AR-15, just with a few extra features that people almost never use anyway... is anybody surprised that nearly every mass shooter in recent US history has used an AR-15 to commit their crime? And why wouldn’t they? High capacity magazine, ease of loading and unloading, almost no recoil, really accurate even without a scope, but numerous scopes available for high precision, great from a distance or up close, easy to carry, and readily available. You can buy one at Wal-Mart, or just about any sports store, and since they’re long guns, I don’t believe you have to be any more than 18 years old with a valid ID. This rifle was made for the modern mass shooter, especially the young one. If he could custom design a weapon to suit his sinister purposes, he couldn’t do a better job than Armalite did with this one already. This rifle is so deadly and so easy to use that no civilian should be able to get their hands on one. We simply don’t need these things in society at large. I always find it interesting that when I was in the Army, and part of my job was to be incredibly proficient with this exact weapon, I never carried one at any point in garrison other than at the range... The military police protected us from threats in garrison. They had 9 mm Berettas to carry. They were the only soldiers who carry weapons in garrison. We trusted them to protect us, and they delivered. With notably rare exceptions, this system has worked well. There are fewer shootings on Army posts than in society in general, probably because soldiers are actively discouraged from walking around with rifles, despite being impeccably well trained with them. Perchance, we could have the largely untrained civilian population take a page from that book?... People have to get a license to operate a car, and if you operate a car without a license, you’re going to get in trouble for that... I can’t drive a Formula One car to work. It would be really cool to be able to do that, and I could probably cut my commute time by a lot. Hey, I’m a good driver, a responsible Formula One owner. You shouldn’t be scared to be on the freeway next to me as I zip around you at 140 MPH, leaving your Mazda in a cloud of dust! Why are you scared? Cars don’t kill people. People kill people. Doesn’t this sound like bullshit? It is bullshit, and everybody knows
Maybe pro-gun people will find some angle to dismiss veterans for gun control as not knowing anything

The study that gun-rights activists keep citing but completely misunderstand - The Washington Post - ""Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year, in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008." So it would appear the "good use" of guns outweighs the "bad use." That may be true, except the study says all of those statistics are in dispute -- creating, in the study authors' eyes, a research imperative. The study (available as a PDF) calls the defensive use of guns by crime victims "a common occurrence, although the exact number remains disputed." While it might be as high as 3 million defensive uses of guns each year, some scholars point to the much lower estimate of 108,000 times a year. "The variation in these numbers remains a controversy in the field," the study notes. The authors also say gun ownership might be good for defensive uses, but that benefit could be canceled out by the risk of suicide or homicide that comes with gun ownership. The depth of the relationship is unknown "and this is a sufficiently important question that it merits additional, careful exploration.""

Firearm availability and suicide, homicide, and unintentional firearm deaths among women. - "Between 1988 and 1997, the suicide, homicide, and unintentional firearm death rates among women were disproportionately higher in states where guns were more prevalent. The elevated rates of violent death in states with more guns was not entirely explained by a state's poverty or urbanization and was driven primarily by lethal firearm violence, not by lethal nonfirearm violence."
More guns, more crime

Gun availability and use of guns for murder and suicide in Canada. - "The accidental death rate from guns in Canada was associated with the percentage of guns used by suicides and on homicide victims except for elderly persons."

Gun ownership and firearm-related deaths. - "The number of guns per capita per country was a strong and independent predictor of firearm-related death in a given country, whereas the predictive power of the mental illness burden was of borderline significance in a multivariable model. Regardless of exact cause and effect, however, the current study debunks the widely quoted hypothesis that guns make a nation safer."
The mentally ill don't need to be stigmatised by gun lovers anymore

The NRA Myth of Gun-Free Zones - "The killers deliberately choose sites where firearms are forbidden, gun-rights advocates say, and because there are no weapons, no “good guy with a gun” will be on hand to stop the crime... Among the 62 mass shootings over the last 30 years that we studied, not a single case includes evidence that the killer chose to target a place because it banned guns. To the contrary, in many of the cases there was clearly another motive for the choice of location. For example, 20 were workplace shootings, most of which involved perpetrators who felt wronged by employers and colleagues... Proponents of this argument also ignore that the majority of mass shootings are murder-suicides. Thirty-six of the killers we studied took their own lives at or near the crime scene, while seven others died in police shootouts they had no hope of surviving (a.k.a. “suicide by cop”). These were not people whose priority was identifying the safest place to attack. No less a fantasy is the idea that gun-free zones prevent armed civilians from saving the day. Not one of the 62 mass shootings we documented was stopped this way. 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. Law enforcement agents train rigorously for stopping active shooters, they say, a task that requires extraordinary skills honed under acute duress. In cases in Washington and Texas in 2005, would-be heroes who tried to take action with licensed firearms were gravely wounded and killed. In the Tucson mass shooting in 2011, 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."
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