"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Links - 21st March 2019 (Guns)

Firearms and suicides in US states - "This study investigates the relationship between firearm prevalence and suicide in a sample of all US states over the years 2000–2009. We find strong, positive effects of gun prevalence on suicide using OLS estimation, across a variety of measures for gun possession, and with several sets of controls. When using instrumental variable estimation, the effect remains significant, despite also finding significant evidence that gun ownership causes substitution towards gun-suicide rather than other methods of suicide. There is also evidence for non-linearities in the effects of guns on suicide."

A history of violence - Free Exchange - "even as the number of guns in America has grown, the share of households with a gun has dropped steadily. Research published in 2000 by Mark Duggan of the University of Chicago concluded that the homicide rate had been falling in tandem with the proportion of households where guns were kept. What’s more, the homicide rate was falling with a lag, suggesting that reduced gun ownership was causing the decline, and was not simply a side-effect of a falling crime rate. Other studies have reached similar conclusions. An analysis published in 2014, for example, using detailed county-level data assembled by the National Research Council, a government-funded body, suggested that laws that allow people to carry weapons are associated with a substantial rise in the incidence of assaults with a firearm. It also found evidence that such laws might also lead to increases in other crimes, like rape and robbery. A recent survey of 130 studies concluded that strict gun-control laws do indeed reduce deaths caused by firearms... Australia has suffered only two shooting sprees since [stricter gun control], claiming a total of seven lives. A decline in the rate of killings with guns, which was already under way before these rules came in, accelerated rapidly. Total gun deaths including suicides also fell. Before the change in the law the rate of deaths from firearms in Australia was about a quarter of that in America; afterwards, it fell to about a tenth of the American rate. In 2014 America suffered about 10.5 fatal shootings per 100,000 people; Australia recorded just 1... It is not just the relationship between gun ownership and gun violence that is becoming clearer. Evidence is also building that even relatively modest gun-control measures reduce gun deaths. An analysis published in 2015 in the Annual Review of Public Health noted that state laws banning possession of a gun by individuals under a restraining order for domestic violence reduce the incidence of “intimate partner homicide” by 10%. The same analysis reports that firearm homicide rates rose by 25% in the five years after Missouri repealed its law requiring permits to purchase a gun, even as the national rate nationwide fell."

Switzerland has a stunningly high rate of gun ownership — here's why it doesn't have mass shootings - "Swiss authorities decide on a local level whether to give people gun permits. They also keep a log of everyone who owns a gun in their region, known as a canton, though hunting rifles and some semiautomatic long arms are exempt from the permit requirement.But cantonal police don’t take their duty dolling out gun licenses lightly. They might consult a psychiatrist or talk with authorities in other cantons where a prospective gun buyer has lived before to vet the person... People who’ve been convicted of a crime or have an alcohol or drug addiction aren’t allowed to buy guns in Switzerland.The law also states that anyone who “expresses a violent or dangerous attitude” won’t be permitted to own a gun.Gun owners who want to carry their weapon for “defensive purposes” also have to prove they can properly load, unload, and shoot their weapon and must pass a test to get a license."
Would gun lovers who claim Switzerland has lax gun laws like to be denied the 'right' to bear arms by a 'tyrannical' government?

Arms and the man - "The state of Massachusetts counted all privately owned guns on several occasions. Until 1840, at any rate, no more than 11% of the population owned guns—and Massachusetts was one of the two centres of gun production in the country. At the start of the war of 1812, the state had more spears than firearms in its arsenal. What was true at the state level was true nationwide. “It would appear,” says Mr Bellesiles, “that at no time prior to 1850 did more than a tenth of the people own guns.” So, contrary to popular belief and legend, and contrary even to the declarations of the founding fathers, gun ownership was rare in the first half of America's history as an independent country. It was especially low in parts of the countryside and on the frontier, the very areas where guns are imagined to have been most important. By no stretch of the imagination was America founded on the private ownership of weapons... Militias, it seems, were neither adept nor well-armed... guns were rare. Perhaps the fact should not surprise. Gunpowder and firing mechanisms had to be imported, so a gun cost about a year's income for an ordinary farmer. (For comparison, a basic rifle now costs the equivalent of three days' work at the average wage.) And guns were hard to maintain: muskets were made mostly of iron, which rusted easily and needed constant attention. Many busy farmers had better things to do with their time... So when did mass ownership of guns begin to develop, if not at the start? It was during the civil war, from 1861 to 1865, and the agent of change was industrialisation... The civil war thus transformed America from a country with a few hundred thousand guns into one with millions of them. It was this war, rather than any inherent belief in the right of individuals to carry guns, that first armed America—and then created the first crime wave to go with it. In the decade immediately after the war, murder rates soared, and guns became the murder weapon of choice
More guns, more murder

New Evidence Shows that Regulating Underground Gun Market is Crucial for Reducing Gun Violence - "While most guns are initially purchased legally, many enter the underground market and end up in the hands of dangerous offenders, such as gang members and convicted felons... laws designed to regulate legal gun sales also significantly affect the underground market.
Laws that require handgun purchasers to obtain a license can reduce criminals' access to guns.
After Maryland's passage of the Firearm and Safety act in 2013, 41 percent of surveyed parolees in the state reported that it was more difficult to obtain a handgun due to increased cost, lack of trusted sources, or people being less willing to buy handguns on their behalf.
Laws that restrict firearms buyers to one gun per month can reduce illegal sales of guns."
So much for claiming that criminals will get guns regardless - as if the black market were Star Trek's replicator

Analysis: Lost, stolen guns used in thousands of crimes - "The yearlong investigation found more than 23,000 lost and stolen guns were recovered by police from 2010 to 2016, the vast majority connected to crimes.The black market of weapons has increased in size as more weapons are reported stolen from lawful owners year after year, leading some law enforcement officers around the country to ask gun owners and gun dealers to better protect themselves and lock their weapons"
So much for gun control only depriving law abiding gun owners of their gun while not hurting criminals

Mental illness not to blame for gun violence study finds - "Counter to a lot of public opinion, having a mental illness does not necessarily make a person more likely to commit gun violence. According to a new study, a better indicator of gun violence was access to firearms... individuals who had gun access were approximately 18 times more likely to have threatened someone with a gun. Individuals with high hostility were about 3.5 times more likely to threaten someone"

How Often Do People Use Guns In Self-Defense? - "The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.It's a common refrain touted by gun rights advocates, who argue that using guns in self-defense can help save lives. But what is the actual number of defensive gun uses? ... The latest data show that people use guns for self-defense only rarely. According to a Harvard University analysis of figures from the National Crime Victimization Survey, people defended themselves with a gun in nearly 0.9 percent of crimes from 2007 to 2011. David Hemenway, who led the Harvard research, argues that the risks of owning a gun outweigh the benefits of having one in the rare case where you might need to defend yourself."The average person ... has basically no chance in their lifetime ever to use a gun in self-defense," he tells Here & Now's Robin Young. "But ... every day, they have a chance to use the gun inappropriately. They have a chance, they get angry. They get scared." But the research spread by the gun lobby paints a drastically different picture of self-defense gun uses. One of the most commonly cited estimates of defensive gun uses, published in 1995 by criminologists Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz, concluded there are between 2.2 and 2.5 million defensive gun uses annually.One of the main criticisms of this estimate is that researchers can't seem to find the people who are shot by civilians defending themselves because they don't show up in hospital records."The Kleck-Gertz survey suggests that the number of DGU respondents who reported shooting their assailant was over 200,000, over twice the number of those killed or treated [for gunshots] in emergency departments," crime prevention researcher Philip Cook wrote in the book Envisioning Criminology... if people don't go to the hospital to treat the original gunshot wound, they will inevitably end up there "with sepsis or other major problems."... "The researchers who look at [Kleck's study] say this is just bad science," Hemenway says. "It's a well-known problem in epidemiology that if something's a rare event, and you just try to ask how many people have done this, you will get incredible overestimates." In fact, Cook told The Washington Post that the percentage of people who told Kleck they used a gun in self-defense is similar to the percentage of Americans who said they were abducted by aliens... Even if someone wanted to use a gun in self-defense, they probably wouldn't be very successful, says Mike Weisser, firearms instructor and author of the blog "Mike The Gun Guy." He says many people who carry a gun aren't properly trained to use it in this way, and there is no performance validation standard for police officers"

Guns, testosterone, and aggression: an experimental test of a mediational hypothesis. - "We tested whether interacting with a gun increased testosterone levels and later aggressive behavior. Thirty male college students provided a saliva sample (for testosterone assay), interacted with either a gun or a children's toy for 15 min, and then provided another saliva sample. Next, subjects added as much hot sauce as they wanted to a cup of water they believed another subject would have to drink. Males who interacted with the gun showed significantly greater increases in testosterone and added more hot sauce to the water than did those who interacted with the children's toy. Moreover, increases in testosterone partially mediated the effects of interacting with the gun on this aggressive behavior."
Having a gun makes you more aggressive
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