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Gun control statistics. Lots of them. January 17, 2013

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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First, let’s get one thing straight: the people who want to sell more guns don’t want anyone else looking too closely at the effects of selling more guns. It’s Big Tobacco all over again.

Paul D. Thacker for Slate, “How Congress Blocked Research on Gun Violence: The ugly campaign by the NRA to shut down studies at the CDC

PT: About as many people in the United States are killed in auto accidents as by firearms. How does the amount of research and number of scientists in auto safety compare to firearm safety?

GW: I believe that 2012 will turn out to be the first year in which the United States has more deaths from firearm violence than motor vehicles.

An entire federal agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has as its mission the understanding and prevention of death and injury on our roads and highways. It reports fiscal year 2012 funding of $62.4 million overall for research and analysis: $35.5 million for vehicle safety and $26.9 million for highway safety.

These funds are well spent. For nearly 50 years, this agency has worked to reduce death and injury. And it has succeeded. […]

PT: Have you experienced personal attempts at intimidation for your research? How about colleagues?

GW: I won’t speak for colleagues. The president of one of the largest handgun manufacturers in the country once told me, face to face, how much money he had committed to an intimidation effort and advised me to keep my life insurance paid up. There was a time when federal law enforcement agents recommended that I wear a ballistic vest.

And now, on to a whole lot of people who’ve come up with numbers anyway.

Wiebe DJ, 2003, via PubMed, “Homicide and suicide risks associated with firearms in the home: a national case-control study

CONCLUSION:

Having a gun at home is a risk factor for adults to be shot fatally (gun homicide) or commit suicide with a firearm. Physicians should continue to discuss with patients the implications of keeping guns at home. Additional studies are warranted to address study limitations and to better understand the implications of firearm ownership.

Charles Blow for the New York Times, “On Guns, America Stands Out

Sometimes I think the best argument is raw data. This is one of those times.

In the wake of the horrible school shooting in Connecticut and on the heels of politicians finally being smoked out into the open to talk seriously about sensible gun control policies, it’s important that we understand just how anomalous America is on the issues of guns and violence among developed countries. This table shows how shamefully we measure up against other countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Among the O.E.C.D. countries that the World Bank groups as “high income,” America has the highest gun homicide rate, the highest number of guns per capita and the highest rate of deaths due to assault. In fact, America has more homicides by gun than all of the other high-income O.E.C.D. countries combined.

The editors of the New York Times, “In Other Countries, Laws Are Strict and Work

Australia is an excellent example. In 1996, a “pathetic social misfit,” as a judge described the lone gunman, killed 35 people with a spray of bullets from semiautomatic weapons. Within weeks, the Australian government was working on gun reform laws that banned assault weapons and shotguns, tightened licensing and financed gun amnesty and buyback programs.

At the time, the prime minister, John Howard, said, “We do not want the American disease imported into Australia.” The laws have worked. The American Journal of Law and Economics reported in 2010 that firearm homicides in Australia dropped 59 percent between 1995 and 2006. In the 18 years before the 1996 laws, there were 13 gun massacres resulting in 102 deaths, according to Harvard researchers, with none in that category since.

Research from the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, on the links between gun control and gun homicide:

Our review of the academic literature found that a broad array of evidence indicates that gun availability is a risk factor for homicide, both in the United States and across high-income countries. Case-control studies, ecological time-series and cross-sectional studies indicate that in homes, cities, states and regions in the US, where there are more guns, both men and women are at higher risk for homicide, particularly firearm homicide.

Nicholas Kristof for the New York Times, “Looking for Lessons in Newtown

If you were at home at night and heard creaking downstairs, wouldn’t you want a Glock in your night stand?

Frankly, at that moment, I might. And then I might creep downstairs and fire at a furtive figure in the darkened kitchen — perhaps my son returning from college to surprise the family. Or, God forbid, somebody who lives in the house might use the Glock to commit suicide.

The gun lobby often cites the work of John Lott, who argued that more guns mean less crime, but scholars have since thoroughly debunked Lott’s arguments. Published research makes it clear that having a gun in the home simply makes it more likely that you will be shot — by your partner or by yourself. Americans are safer if they rely on 911 for protection rather than on a gun.

Medical statistics from Mercer University in Georgia, hosted on University of Utah web space: “Gun Control Issues, Public Health, and Safety

A study of 626 shootings in or around a residence in three U.S. cities revealed that, for every time a gun in the home was used in a self-defense or legally justifiable shooting, there were four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides, and 11 attempted or completed suicides (Kellermann et al, 1998). Over 50% of all households in the U.S. admit to having firearms (Nelson et al, 1987). In another study, regardless of storage practice, type of gun, or number of firearms in the home, having a gun in the home was associated with an increased risk of firearm homicide and suicide in the home (Dahlberg, Ikeda and Kresnow, 2004).

[…] Individuals in possession of a gun at the time of an assault are 4.46 times more likely to be shot in the assault than persons not in possession (Branas et al, 2009). It would appear that, rather than being used for defense, most of these weapons inflict injuries on the owners and their families.

Elisabeth Rosenthal for the New York Times, “More Guns = More Killing

I recently visited some Latin American countries that mesh with the N.R.A.’s vision of the promised land, where guards with guns grace every office lobby, storefront, A.T.M., restaurant and gas station. It has not made those countries safer or saner.

Despite the ubiquitous presence of “good guys” with guns, countries like Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Colombia and Venezuela have some of the highest homicide rates in the world. […]

In Guatemala, riding a public bus is a risky business. More than 500 bus drivers have been killed in robberies since 2007, leading InSight Crime, which tracks organized crime in the Americas, to call it “the most dangerous profession on the planet.” And when bullets start flying, everyone is vulnerable: in 2010 the onboard tally included 155 drivers, 54 bus assistants, 71 passengers and 14 presumed criminals. Some were killed by the robbers’ bullets and some by gun-carrying passengers.

Meg at Cognitive Dissonance, “On “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”

In 2009, the latest year for which the Center for Disease Control has national statistics, there were 16,799 deaths from homicide in the U.S. — of those, 11,493 were committed with a firearm. That means of the homicides committed in the U.S., 32% used something other than a firearm. According to the Department of Justice, the likelihood of surviving a violent attack increases dramatically without the presence of a firearm by either civilian or criminal.

[…] In conclusion, it was harder and more arduous to adopt my cat than to purchase a gun. I’m glad it’s tough to adopt. It’s fucked that it’s harder than buying the guns.

Researchers for the Children’s Defense Foundation, “Protect Children, Not Guns 2012

In 2008, 2,947 children and teens died from guns in the United States and 2,793 died in 2009 for a total of 5,740—one child or teen every three hours, eight every day, 55 every week for two years. Six times as many children and teens—34,387—suffered nonfatal gun injuries as gun deaths in 2008 and 2009. This is equal to one child or teen every 31 minutes, 47 every day, and 331 children and teens every week.

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