GUN HOMICIDES, SUICIDES & INJURIES
The Relationship Between Gun Ownership and Firearm Homicide Rates in the United States, 1981–2010
(American Journal of Public Health, 2013)
- Results. Gun ownership was a significant predictor of firearm homicide rates (incidence rate ratio = 1.009; 95% confidence interval = 1.004, 1.014).
- This model indicated that for each percentage point increase in gun ownership, the firearm homicide rate increased by 0.9%.
When Concealed Handgun Licensees Break Bad: Criminal Convictions of Concealed Handgun Licensees in Texas, 2001–2009
(American Journal of Public Health, 2013)
- Objectives. We explored differences in criminal convictions between holders and nonholders of a concealed handgun license (CHL) in Texas.
- Results. CHL holders were much less likely than nonlicensees to be convicted of crimes. Most nonholder convictions involved higher-prevalence crimes (burglary, robbery, or simple assault). CHL holders’ convictions were more likely to involve lower-prevalence crimes, such as sexual offenses, gun offenses, or offenses involving a death.
- Conclusions. Our results imply that expanding the settings in which concealed carry is permitted may increase the risk of specific types of crimes, some quite serious in those settings. These increased risks may be relatively small. Nonetheless, policymakers should consider these risks when contemplating reducing the scope of gun-free zones.
Suicide, Guns, and Public Policy
(American Journal of Public Health, 2013)
- Suicide is a serious public health concern that is responsible for almost 1 million deaths each year worldwide. It is commonly an impulsive act by a vulnerable individual. The impulsivity of suicide provides opportunities to reduce the risk of suicide by restricting access to lethal means.
- In the United States, firearms, particularly handguns, are the most common means of suicide. Despite strong empirical evidence that restriction of access to firearms reduces suicides, access to firearms in the United States is generally subject to few restrictions.
- Implementation and evaluation of measures such as waiting periods and permit requirements that restrict access to handguns should be a top priority for reducing deaths from impulsive suicide in the United States.
Gun-control legislation and the impact on suicide by Antoon A. Leenaars
(Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention, 2007)
- ABSTRACT: Gun control is the prototypical example of controlling the environment for the means of suicide, an effective public health approach to suicide prevention. Canada’s Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1977 (Bill C-51) provides an excellent opportunity to illustrate the effects of legislative gun-control laws and the impact on suicide. The research in Canada supports the significant effect of C-51 in reducing suicides and firearm suicides, even if one controls for socioeconomic factors, although not equally for all ages. The young, a high-risk group, show the most significant decrease, without significant substitution of other methods (displacement). Studies on gun-control laws from New Zealand, the United States, and Australia support the Canadian findings. It is concluded that, although not equally applicable in all countries, gun control may well have significant applications in reducing suicide worldwide.
Network Exposure and Homicide Victimization in an African American Community
(American Journal of Public Health, 2014)
- Objectives. We estimated the association of an individual’s exposure to homicide in a social network and the risk of individual homicide victimization across a high-crime African American community.
- Results. Forty-one percent of all gun homicides occurred within a network component containing less than 4% of the neighborhood’s population. Network-level indicators reduced the association between individual risk factors and homicide victimization and improved the overall prediction of individual victimization. Network exposure to homicide was strongly associated with victimization: the closer one is to a homicide victim, the greater the risk of victimization. Regression models show that exposure diminished with social distance: each social tie removed from a homicide victim decreased one’s odds of being a homicide victim by 57%.
- Conclusions. Risk of homicide in urban areas is even more highly concentrated than previously thought. We found that most of the risk of gun violence was concentrated in networks of identifiable individuals. Understanding these networks may improve prediction of individual homicide victimization within disadvantaged communities.
Gun Violence: Prediction, Prevention and Policy
(American Psychological Association, 2013)
Gun violence and murder are on the decline in Chicago
(MSNBC, November 23, 2013)
The California Model: Twenty Years of Putting Safety First
(The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, 2013)
- Over the last twenty years, the number of people injured or killed by guns in California has decreased dramatically. In 1993, 5,500 Californians were killed by gunfire; by 2010, the most recent year for which data is available, that number had dropped to 2,935.
- In just two decades, the state’s gun death rate has been cut by 56%, a reduction that translates to thousands of lives saved every single year.
Firearms and suicides in US states
(The International Review of Law and Economics, Volume 37, March 2014, Pages 180–188)
- 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.
Infographic: Gun deaths since December 14, 2012
Correlation of firearms and death
(Archives of Internal Medicine, 2013)
Quiz: Will I be Safer if I Buy a Gun? Can you separate gun violence fact from fiction?
(Psychology Today, November 2013)
CHILDREN AND GUNS
At least 44 school shootings since Newtown — new analysis
(The Washington Post, 2014)
- In the fourteen months since the mass shooting in Newtown, CT, there have been at least 44 school shootings including fatal and nonfatal assaults, suicides, and unintentional shootings — an average of more than three a month. In the first six weeks of 2014 alone, there were 13 school shootings including one eight-day period in which there were four shootings in K-12 schools.
- These school shootings resulted in 28 deaths and 37 non-fatal gunshot injuries. In 49 percent of these incidents at least one person died.
- Of the K-12 school shootings in which the shooter’s age was known, 70 percent (20 of 28 incidents) were perpetrated by minors. Among those shootings where it was possible to determine the source of the firearm, three-quarters of the shooters obtained their guns from home.
- In 16 cases — more than a third of all incidents — at least one person was shot after a schoolyard argument or confrontation escalated and a gun was at hand.
- The shooters ranged from 5 to 53 years of age.
- The 44 school shootings occurred in 24 states across the country. Sixty-four percent of the shootings took place at K-12 schools and thirty-six percent took place on college or university campuses.
- Thirty-three shootings (75 percent) involved an assault or homicide; of these, 12 incidents resulted in at least one homicide. In 11 incidents, the shooter attempted or completed suicide — in 4 incidents after shooting someone else. In 4 other incidents, no one was injured.
- Many of the students who perpetrated these shootings had easy access to guns at home. In several cases, investigators declined to comment on how the child obtained a firearm because the incidents are under active investigation. But in the eight incidents where the source of the firearm was known, three-quarters of the shooters used a gun they obtained from home. This includes three cases where a minor used a gun to attempt or complete suicide in his school.
- CONCLUSIONS: On average, 20 US children and adolescents were hospitalized each day in 2009 due to firearm injuries. Public health efforts are needed to reduce this common source of childhood injury.
- About 20 children and adolescents head to the hospital for gun-related injuries every day, according to a new report from the medical journal Pediatrics. Host Michel Martin speaks with Dr. Robert Sege, one of the study’s authors, about the wide effect of gun injuries.
A Series of Special Reports: “Newtown: One Year Later”
(Mother Jones, December 14, 2013):
- At Least 194 Children Have Been Shot to Death Since Newtown
- More Than Half of Americans Now Have Tougher Gun Laws
- The Gun Lobby’s Stealth Assault on Small Town America
- The Producer of Bushmaster Assault Rifles, Cerberus Investment Firm, Has Made a Killing
- Here’s How the Rifle That Just Killed a 2-Year-Old Girl Is Marketed for Kids
- Portraits of the Hundreds of Children Killed by Guns Since Newtown
- Explore the Data: Child Gun Deaths
- How the Barrage of Gun Laws Passed in 2013 Breaks Down
20 Children in Newtown: 116,385 Kids Killed Since 1979. The human cost of our pervasive gun culture: how we have been brainwashed
(Psychology Today, December 2012)
- More kids were killed by guns in 2008-9 (5,740) than military personnel (5,103) killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in the same time period. Why do we accept this?
- Between 2000 and 2008, 272,590 people were shot to death in the United States—an average of 30,288 gun deaths per year—a shocking number compared to other developed nations. During that same time period, another 617,488 people suffered nonfatal gunshot injuries in the U.S. The total number of people shot in 2008 totaled 110,215.4 Many if these injuries alter lives forever: e.g., fifteen percent of spinal injuries are due to gunshot wounds. On a purely financial basis, we cannot afford the billions of dollars in lost incomes, lost productivity, and medical bills, to say nothing of the psychic distress guns cause each and every one of us, from our children to our elderly. Why do we accept this?
Elderly and Guns
Current Considerations About the Elderly and Firearms
(The American Journal of Public Health, 2012)
- In the United States, more than 17 million people aged 65 years or older own a firearm. They have the highest rate of suicide by a firearm, and recent data suggest that a disproportionate number apply to carry a concealed weapon. At least one new handgun has been designed and marketed for older people.
- Memory, thinking, and judgment as well as physical and behavioral competence issues related to an elderly person’s safe operation of a motor vehicle apply to firearms, too. Gun availability can pose a particular risk to those with dementia and to their caretakers.
- The elderly constitute a substantial and rapidly growing population and market segment for whom the public health implications of firearm production, promotion, access, ownership, and use merit consideration.
GUN ACCESS, PSYCHOLOGY, AND MENTAL HEALTH
Assessing Competency for Concealed-Weapons Permits — The Physician’s Role
(The New England Journal of Medicine, 2013)
- Moving forward, we believe policymakers and physicians’ organizations should consider several issues. Federal legislation or rule making could help define national standards and guidelines on what constitutes mental and physical competence to carry a concealed weapon and who can make those assessments.
- Additional research can help establish standards, along with protocols to assess and test for substance abuse, with input from physicians and public health and legal experts. Using these standards, physicians could review patients’ health histories, conduct physical examinations and laboratory testing, and recommend appropriate intervals for reassessments.
Gun activists have a new craze — and it’s more dangerous than you think. The new front line in the battle over gun rights is “open carry.” Here’s why it has psychologists deeply concerned
- A recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology suggests that when people are holding a gun, they’re less capable of evaluating a threat than they would be if they didn’t have a weapon in their own hands.
- Even when you’re not holding a gun, you can be psychologically affected by seeing one. Since 1967, researchers have been observing the “weapons effect,” a phenomenon in which the mere presence of a weapon can stimulate aggressive behavior.
Guns, Public Health, and Mental Illness: An Evidence-Based Approach for State Policy
(Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy, 2013)
The “Weapons Effect”: Research shows that the mere presence of weapons increases aggression
(Psychology Today, January 2013)
- “Guns not only permit violence, they can stimulate it as well. The finger pulls the trigger, but the trigger may also be pulling the finger.” —Leonard Berkowitz, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of Wisconsin
Action alters object identification: Wielding a gun increases the bias to see guns by Jessica K. Witt and James R. Brockmole
(Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, October 2012)
- ABSTRACT: Stereotypes, expectations, and emotions influence an observer’s ability to detect and categorize objects as guns. In light of recent work in action-perception interactions, however, there is another unexplored factor that may be critical: The action choices available to the perceiver. In five experiments, participants determined whether another person was holding a gun or a neutral object. Critically, the participant did this while holding and responding with either a gun or a neutral object. Responding with a gun biased observers to report “gun present” more than did responding with a ball. Thus, by virtue of affording a perceiver the opportunity to use a gun, he or she was more likely to classify objects in a scene as a gun and, as a result, to engage in threat-induced behavior (raising a firearm to shoot). In addition to theoretical implications for event perception and object identification, these findings have practical implications for law enforcement and public safety.
Mass Murders, Madness, and Gun Control: Guns do kill people.
(Psychology Today, July 2012)
- There is no psychiatric solution for mass murder. Armchair analyses of the individual culprits are interesting (but harmful) distractions. We really have only two choices: 1) accept mass murder as part of the American way of life, or 2) get in line with the rest of the civilized world and adopt sane gun control policies.
Gun Criminality & Trafficking
Identifying Armed Respondents to Domestic Violence Restraining Orders and Recovering Their Firearms: Process Evaluation of an Initiative in California
(American Journal of Public Health, 2013)
- Objectives. We evaluated a law enforcement initiative to screen respondents to domestic violence restraining orders for firearm ownership or possession and recover their firearms.
- Results. Screening relied on an archive of firearm transactions, court records, and petitioner interviews; no single source was adequate. Screening linked 525 respondents (17.7%) in San Mateo County to firearms; 405 firearms were recovered from 119 (22.7%) of them. In Butte County, 88 (31.1%) respondents were linked to firearms; 260 firearms were recovered from 45 (51.1%) of them. Nonrecovery occurred most often when orders were never served or respondents denied having firearms. There were no reports of serious violence or injury.
- Conclusions. Recovering firearms from persons subject to domestic violence restraining orders is possible. We have identified design and implementation changes that may improve the screening process and the yield from recovery efforts.
Drop in violent crime tied to immigration
(University of Colorado at Boulder via Futurity.org)
- During the 1990s, immigration reached record highs and crime rates fell more precipitously than at any time in U.S. history. And cities with the largest increases in immigration between 1990 and 2000 experienced the largest decreases in rates of homicide and robbery.
- The findings by Tim Wadsworth, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder, contradict much of the public rhetoric about the relationship between immigration and crime.
Hungry like the wolf: A word-pattern analysis of the language of psychopaths
(Legal and Criminological Psychology, 2013)
- Purpose. This study used statistical text analysis to examine the features of crime narratives provided by psychopathic homicide offenders. Psychopathic speech was predicted to reflect an instrumental/predatory world view, unique socioemotional needs, and a poverty of affect.
- Results. Psychopaths (relative to their counterparts) included more rational cause-and-effect descriptors (e.g., ‘because’, ‘since’), focused on material needs (food, drink, money), and contained fewer references to social needs (family, religion/spirituality). Psychopaths’ speech contained a higher frequency of disfluencies (‘uh’, ‘um’) indicating that describing such a powerful, ‘emotional’ event to another person was relatively difficult for them. Finally, psychopaths used more past tense and less present tense verbs in their narrative, indicating a greater psychological detachment from the incident, and their language was less emotionally intense and pleasant.
- Conclusions. These language differences, presumably beyond conscious control, support the notion that psychopaths operate on a primitive but rational level.
Economic Cost of Gun Violence
The Hospital Costs of Firearm Assaults
(The Urban Institute Publications, 2013)
- This study presents new information on the prevalence and cost of emergency department visits and inpatient hospital stays in U.S. hospitals for injuries associated with armed assault.
- In 2010, young adult men, residents of low income areas, and the uninsured had the highest rates of use.
- The total hospital cost of such injures is very high, equivalent to the cost of the Medicaid program one state.
- The prevention of firearm assaults should receive increased attention as a high public health priority.
The Gun Industry’s Deadly Addiction: Firearms manufacturers are betting their future on the military-style weapons used in Newtown and Aurora
by Tim Dickinson
(The Rolling Stone Magazine, February 28, 2013)
- For gunmakers, the political fight over assault rifles and high-capacity pistols is about more than just profits – it’s about the militarization of the marketplace and represents a desperate bid by gunmakers to prop up a decaying business.
- The once-dependable market for traditional hunting guns has fallen off a cliff. To adapt, the firearms industry has embraced a business strategy that requires it to place the weapons of war favored by deranged killers like Adam Lanza and Jared Loughner into the homes and holsters of as many Americans as possible.
- “They’re not selling your dad’s hunting rifle or shotgun,” says Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center, a top industry watchdog. “They’re selling military-bred weaponry.”
Here’s How the Rifle That Just Killed a 2-Year-Old Girl Is Marketed for Kids
(Mother Jones, 2013)
Freedom Group’s Militarized Marketing
(Violence Policy Center, 2014)
- Freedom Group, one of the largest gun manufacturers in the world, specializes in assault rifles and other military-style firearms. The company made the Bushmaster XM-15 assault rifle used at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
- In the wake of declining household gun ownership, it is no secret that the gun industry has focused on semiautomatic military-style assault weapons, most notably AR‐15‐type rifles, in its marketing and sales efforts.
- The target markets are two‐fold: older males who already own firearms and can be enticed into purchasing one—or one more-of these battlefield‐derived weapons; and, young males, who although they lack interest in the traditional shooting sports such as hunting, are intrigued by what one gun industry trade magazine calls the “tactical coolness factor.”
- A driving factor in Freedom Group’s strategy to not only maintain, but grow, its share of the assault weapons market is the aggressive promotion of the military pedigree of its products.
GUN INDUSTRY’S LOBBY & 2ND AMENDMENT DISCUSSIONS
The Gun Lobby’s Stealth Assault on Small-Town America
(Mother Jones, 2013)
- Since Newtown, a pro-gun group has bullied local governments into repealing firearms ordinances.
On Gun Registration, NRA, Adolf Hitler, and Nazi Gun Laws: Exploding the Gun Culture Wars–A Call to Historians
(The Fordham Law Review, Volume 73, Issue 2, 2004)
How to Win an Argument With a Gun Nut EVERY Time!
by Richard Rowe (The AATTP Blog, 2013)
Why can’t we regulate guns as effectively as we do cars?
(The New York Times, 2012)
How Groups Like the NRA Captured Congress—and How to Take It Back
by Lorelei Kelly (The Atlantic, March 7, 2013)
- Lawmakers aren’t corrupt, they just never hear from ordinary citizens. But new technology makes it possible to overcome the power of special interests.
- Why are the House and Senate so dysfunctional? It’s easy to round up the usual suspects — lobbyists, cash, and partisan extremists. But Congress is less corrupt and venal than it is incapacitated and obsolete. The problem is that it cannot think for itself…
Why the ‘Citizen Militia’ Theory Is the Worst Pro-Gun Argument Ever
by Mark Nuckols (The Atlantic, January 31, 2013)
- Two out of three Americans see the Second Amendment as a safeguard against tyranny. What? The notion that an individual right to bear arms guarantees the American people against government tyranny is of course an old one. Given its apparent validation in the Second Amendment of the Constitution itself, it’s not surprising that the notion has survived in some way through to the 21st century. Given its defiance of history and common sense, though, what should be surprising is that it’s survived to remain so widespread…
Revealed: The Truth about the NRA (video)
by ART NOT WAR (MoveOn.org, February 2013)
- Think you know who and what the NRA is? Watch this video and find out the truth about the gun industry money behind the NRA’s fight against common sense gun safety legislation in the aftermath of the tragedy in Newtown.
View this video from the 2nd Amendment Lecture given by Dr. Saul Cornell.
(Newtown Action Alliance)
Myths about Defensive Gun Use and Permissive Gun Carry Laws
by Daniel Webster and Jens Ludwig (Berkeley Media Studies Group, 2000)
The Myth of Millions of Annual Self-Defense Gun Uses: A Case Study of Survey Overestimates of Rare Events
by David Hemenway (Chance, 1997)
“Guns Don’t Kill People, People Do?”: What exactly is wrong with the “guns don’t kill people, people do” argument?
(Psychology Today, February 2013)
- The next time someone quotes the NRA slogan, “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people,” in an attempt to end a discussion about gun control, do me a favor: point out that they have “mistaken the relevance of proximate causation,” pause briefly to enjoy the confused look on their face, and then patiently explain the fallacy to them.
Ten Myths and Realities About Mass Murders and Gun Control: Let’s not be distracted from the danger of assault weapons
(Psychology Today, January 2013)
- This NRA extremism in the face of common sense suggests it has become the marketing arm of the gun industry or the political arm of insurrectionists, or both. You know there is something radically wrong when the stock prices of the major gun manufacturers rise sharply after a school massacre. A sane gun control policy is necessary both to avoid frequent massacres and to reduce our high ambient rates of homicide and suicide. Below are the most frequent arguments offered to support free access to assault weapons and responses to them.
Media & Culture
Violence, Inc. and the Advent of the Hero: Violence is as American as apple pie.
(Psychology Today, November 2013)
- We all, including our kids, swim in a world bristling with gun imagery and violent references. That the average American child witnesses via the media about 7,000 murders, and 100,000 other violent acts during the elementary school years alone is not just a dry statistic. Rather it’s an important truth in need of our diving more deeply into it. Our everyday experiences, including those related to media gazing, often settle into our memory banks, or more specifically the lower brain areas called the hippocampus and amydala. They become encoded there. They conjure the unconscious narrative frames through which we see the world.
- The real issue is that violence is easy and has become easier and that many of the writers in Hollywood may lack personal depth of their own. They may be incapable of writing good drama, profound tragedy and truly gripping romance. They revert to violence as a form of spectacle, a fall back position to hide their own paucity of emotional capacity. Further, since the lure of big money is intoxicating and some huge successes still occur, they have no reason to rethink the matter and try instead to offer us truly meaningful media.
Text of The Connecticut Gun Law upheld by the federal court can be found here:
Bill No. 1160: AN ACT CONCERNING GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION AND CHILDREN’S SAFETY, Introduced by: SEN. WILLIAMS, 29th Dist., REP. SHARKEY, 88th Dist.
(State of Connecticut General Assembly)