A Bloody Journey into the World of Firearms.
This is an updated version of an article first published on June 24, In June the Charleston killings renewed the sporadic debates over whether gun control might have prevented this terrible tragedy.
We know that other countries, in response to one mass shooting, have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings. Friends of ours, allies of ours — Great Britain, Australia, countries like ours.
So we know there are ways to prevent it. Certainly, the type of comprehensive response that has been effective in other countries is unlike to emerge in the United States. The NRA stranglehold on appropriate anti-crime measures is only part of the problem, though.
The fact is that if NRA claims about the efficacy of guns in reducing crime were true, the US would have the lowest homicide rate among industrialized nations instead of the highest homicide rate by a wide margin. The US is by far the world leader in the number of guns in civilian hands.
The state of gun control in the US Eighteen states in the US and a number of cities including Chicago, New York and San Francisco have tried to reduce the unlawful use of guns as well as gun accidents by adopting laws to keep guns safely stored when they are not in use.
Safe storage is a common form of gun regulation in nations with stricter gun regulations. The NRA has been battling such laws for years.
But that effort was dealt a blow earlier this month when the US Supreme Court — over a strident dissent by Justices Thomas and Scalia — refused to consider the San Francisco law that required guns not in use be stored safely.
This was undoubtedly a positive step because hundreds of thousands of guns are stolen every year, and good public policy must try to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and children.
The dissenters, however, were alarmed by the thought that a gun stored in a safe would not be immediately available for use, but they seemed unaware of how unusual it is that a gun is helpful when someone is under attack.
For starters, only the tiniest fraction of victims of violent crime are able to use a gun in their defense. Over the period fromwhen roughly six million nonfatal violent crimes occurred each year, data from the National Crime Victimization Survey show that the victim did not defend with a gun in The author of the study, Arthur Kellerman, concluded in words that Justice Thomas and Scalia might well heed: On average, the gun that represents the greatest threat is the one that is kept loaded and readily available in a bedside drawer.
Ten years of additional data have allowed new research to get a better fix on this question, which is important since the NRA is pushing for a Supreme Court decision that would allow RTC as a matter of constitutional law.
The new research on this issue from my research team at Stanford University has given the most compelling evidence to date that RTC laws are associated with significant increases in violent crime — particularly for aggravated assault.
This hardly makes a strong case for RTC as a constitutional right. At the very least more research is needed to estimate more precisely exactly how much violent crime such a decision would unleash in the states that have so far resisted the NRA-backed RTC laws.
Gun control around the world As an academic exercise, one might speculate whether law could play a constructive role in reducing the number or deadliness of mass shootings. Most other advanced nations apparently think so, since they make it far harder for someone like the Charleston killer to get his hands on a Glock semiautomatic handgun or any other kind of firearm universal background checks are common features of gun regulation in other developed countries.
To buy a gun, anyone under the age of 25 has to pass a psychiatric evaluation presumably year-old Dylann Roof would have failed. Handgun license applicants are only allowed to purchase firearms if they can prove they are active members of regulated shooting clubs.
Before they can get a gun, applicants must pass an aptitude test, submit to a police interview, and show they have a proper gun storage unit. To secure a gun permit, one must establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm and pass a background check considering both criminal and mental health records again, presumably Dylann Roof would have failed.
Firearms applicants must have no criminal record and pass a background check that considers the reason for the gun purchase and evaluates the criminal, mental, and health records of the applicant.
Dylann Roof would presumably have failed in this process. United Kingdom and Japan: Handguns are illegal for private citizens.
While mass shootings as well as gun homicides and suicides are not unknown in these countries, the overall rates are substantially higher in the United States than in these competitor nations. The turning point was the Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania, in which a gunman killed 35 individuals using semiautomatic weapons.
In the wake of the massacre, the conservative federal government succeeded in implementing tough new gun control laws throughout the country. A large array of weapons were banned — including the Glock semiautomatic handgun used in the Charleston shootings.
The government also imposed a mandatory gun buy back that substantially reduced gun possession in Australia. In addition, the legislation made it a crime to use firearms in self-defense.
When I mention this to disbelieving NRA supporters they insist that crime must now be rampant in Australia. In fact, the Australian murder rate has fallen to close one perwhile the US rate, thankfully lower than in the early s, is still roughly at 4. Moreover, robberies in Australia occur at only about half the rate of the US 58 in Australia versus How did Australia do it?
Politically, it took a brave prime minister to face the rage of Australian gun interests. John Howard wore a bullet-proof vest when he announced the proposed gun restrictions in June The deputy prime minister was hung in effigy.In politicizing mass murders, gun control advocates, such as President Obama, insist that more laws against firearms can enhance public safety.
Over and over again, there are calls for common sense. [Epistemic status: I think I probably wrung the right conclusions out of this evidence, but this isn’t the only line of evidence bearing on the broader gun control issue and all I can say is what it’s consistent with.
Content warning for discussion of suicide, murder, and race]. Robert J. Mundt, Gun Control and Rates of Firearms Violence in Canada and the United States, 32 Can.
J. Criminology , () [hereinafter Robert J. Mundt, Gun Control]. The quoted homicide rates are the means for the periods and Editor’s note: This is an updated version of an article first published on June 24, In June the Charleston killings renewed the sporadic debates over whether gun control might have.
Donate via Mail: Brother Nathanael Foundation PO Box Priest River, ID The high rates of gun violence in the United States, which has the highest rate of gun-related deaths per capita among developed countries: 29 despite having the highest number of police officers, is sometimes thought to be attributable to its extreme rate of gun ownership, as it is the only nation in which guns exceed people.