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More of the numbers on guns. Plus the reason why we don’t have as much research as we should February 3, 2013

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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The attention span of the American media seems, miraculously, to be holding. The NYT picks a week and pulls stories from every day. The Twitter @GunDeaths links all the gun deaths in the US since Sandy Hook (or rather, all of the subset that it hears about).

Five people accidentally shot at gun shows on “gun appreciation day.” And that’s not even getting into all the other people shot around the country.

Other recent incidents include a 22-year-old getting shot and killed on the way to visit a friend, because his GPS led him into the wrong driveway and the homeowner decided it was a “home invasion”; and two men killed at a gun range — where they still had to call the police, because evidently a Texas gun range still doesn’t contain enough ~good guys with guns~ to be of any use.

“Across the United States, more than 5,700 children and teens were killed by guns in 2008 and 2009 — a number that would fill more than 200 public school classrooms — according to data compiled by The Children’s Defense Fund. That number includes 173 preschoolers, nearly double the number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty during the same time.

“Now, researchers who’ve studied the effect of the laws have found that states with a stand your ground law have more homicides than states without such laws. […] Hoekstra checked to see whether police were listing more cases as “justifiable homicides” in states that passed stand your ground laws. If there were more self-defense killings, this number should have gone up. He also examined whether more criminals were showing up armed. In both cases, he found nothing.”

I say all of this as a gun owner. I say it as a conservative who was appointed to the federal bench by a Republican president. I say it as someone who prefers Fox News to MSNBC, and National Review Online to the Daily Kos. I say it as someone who thinks the Supreme Court got it right in District of Columbia vs. Heller, when it held that the 2nd Amendment gives us the right to possess guns for self-defense. (That’s why I have mine.) I say it as someone who, generally speaking, is not a big fan of the regulatory state.”

[O]ne of the loopholes that enabled passage of the original ban limited research on the law’s effectiveness to the first year’s data rather than allow more conclusive long-term studies. A long–range, independent study issued as Congress allowed the ban to expire in 2004 found criminal use of assault weapons had fallen by one-third or more as a share of gun crimes in major jurisdictions.”

That bizarre loophole isn’t an isolated incident, either. The NRA actively pressures the government and institutions not to do research on the effects of guns, leaving us with a dearth of up-to-date research. Gosh, could it be that they’re afraid actual data will undermine the myths they count on to make money?

That includes the myth about just wanting to ~protect women and children~ (which is apparently not “emotional manipulation” when they say it): “Far from making women safer, a gun in the home is ‘a particularly strong risk factor’ for female homicides and the intimidation of women. In domestic violence situations, the risk of homicide for women increased eightfold when the abuser had access to firearms, according to a study published in The American Journal of Public Health in 2003. […] Another 2003 study, by Douglas Wiebe of the University of Pennsylvania, found that females living with a gun in the home were 2.7 times more likely to be murdered than females with no gun at home.”

If everyone who got shot felt the need to speak to Congress about gun control, we’d never hear the end of it.

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