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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Reblog] Finding the Truth About Guns

[Reblog] Finding the Truth About Guns.  Posted by January 15, 2013

Not sure what to believe in the debate on public safety and guns?

On one side, you have the NRA, many Republicans, and conservative pundits / newscasters.  Their central claim is that more guns in the hands of responsible, hard-working citizens is a deterrent to criminals and as a result there is less violent crime and less overall crime.  They argue that an individual has the right to defend themself and their family from violent criminals.  This view is anchored by the perception of natural rights as well their interpretation of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution.

Wayne LaPierre, a prominent NRA official, said that a reason there has been mass shootings in schools, for instance, is that the government created and designated them as gun-free zones which make them easy targets for those that wish to create the most destruction with the least risk.  He went as far as say that we are “advertising them as killing zones” recently in response the tragedy in Newton.

It is often stated that though gun violence and gun homicides are less in the UK, where guns are not legal,but that their violent crime rate is considerably higher than ours in the US.  In fact, it has been recently reported that the UK is the violent crime capital of Europe.

“The worst violent crime and murder rates in America occur in places with the strictest gun control already in places(like) Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, and Washington D.C. Strict gun control clearly does not work…The FBI reports 386 violent crimes per 100,000 in the USA. The UK Home Office reports 1,361 violent crimes per 100,000 in England. Gun control may be a failure, but the UK experience proves that outright gun bans are an unmitigated disaster.” Wayne Allyn Root (W.A.R) is a former Presidential candidate, the 2008 Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee, and a Tea Party favorite. Link

President Obama, most Democrats, university professors / researchers, and their pundits / newscasters as well as many mayors and police chiefs share the view that more guns equals more violent crime.  They say the statistics of gun homicides and violent crimes is extremely higher in the US compared with the UK and other similar countries and states with strict gun enforcement.

The difference on violent crime data comes from what is considered a violent crime.  Burglary, domestic violence, even bicycle theft are classified as a violent crimes in  the UK.  The US classifies violent crime using four categories  Murder, rape, robbery(by force, threat of force, or violence), and aggravated assault.

Here is the comparison:

U.S. 2009 robbery rate: 133 per 100,000.

U.K. 2009 robbery rate: 164 per 100,000.

U.S. 2009 burglary rate: 716.3 per 100,000

U.K. 2009 burglary rate: 523 per 100,000.

And in the U.S., you were nearly four times as likely to be murdered:

U.S. 2009 murder rate: 5 per 100,000.

U.K. 2009 murder rate: 1.49 per 100,000

The truth is that violent crime is much higher in the US than in the UK.  There are more murders and rapes in the US compared with the UK. Bottom line is that you, your family, your neighbors, and your friends are considerably more likely to be murdered or raped in the US than in any other comparable country, including the UK.

Does having a gun for protection make you safer?

According to the American Journal of Public Health, Investigating the Link Between Gun Possession and Gun Assault, “individuals in possession of a gun were 4.46 (P < .05) times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not in possession. Among gun assaults where the victim had at least some chance to resist, this adjusted odds ratio increased to 5.45 (P < .05) more likely to be shot. Read More.  You are nearly five times more likely to be shot if you have a gun during an assault than if you do not.

What about the claim that the worst violent crime and murders occur in cities and States with the strictest gun control laws?

Harvard Injury Control Research Center

  • Across states, more guns = more homicide

From Harvard School of Public Health: “Using a validated proxy for firearm ownership, we analyzed the relationship between firearm availability and homicide across 50 states over a ten-year period (1988-1997).  After controlling for poverty and urbanization, for every age group, people in states with many guns have elevated rates of homicide, particularly firearm homicide…Children in states with many guns have elevated rates of unintentional gun deaths, suicide and homicide.  The state rates of non-firearm suicide and non-firearm homicide among children are not related to firearm availability”

  • Where there are more guns there is more homicide  
  • Guns are not used millions of times each year in self-defense  ”false positive”  

“We find that the claim of many millions of annual self-defense gun uses by American citizens is invalid.”

  •  Gun ownership creates external psychic costs.  

By a margin of more than 3 to 1, Americans would feel less safe, not safer, as others in their community acquire guns

What about arming teachers and custodians with guns?

Columbine High School and Virginia Tech were protected by armed guards prior to two of the deadliest attacks at education institutions in U.S. history.

Family members of the victims in recent shootings are taking a stand against the NRA and are urging law makers to take meaningful action to reduce and limit the amount and type of guns that are currently legally available.

‘“It’s different now because children are being butchered in schools,’ said Dave Hoover, a police officer in Lakewood, Colo., whose nephew A.J. Boik was one of the 12 people killed in Aurora. ‘Because kids were killed at a movie. Because families went to church and were gunned down.”’

He added: “I don’t understand why we are even arguing about this.”

I could not find any studies that show there is a positive correlation to the amount of guns and the safety of the residents.  Not saying they don’t excises but where are they? This letter from 100 public health researchers may offer a clue:  The Letter

What are your views?  Please share.


January 16, 2013 - Posted by | Consumer Safety | , , , ,

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