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    Guns Guns Presentation Transcript

    • Guns 36% of American households possessguns, decrease from 50% in last 20years (more female based households) 31% of adults own a gun This percentage constant over the last40 years Number of guns has increased—nowabout 200 million + in circulation
    • Guns How is it that the number of guns hasincreased but the percentage owningguns remains constant Two reasons: (1) growth in adultpopulation in US; and (2) gun ownersnow own more guns (gun-owninghouseholds average 4.5 guns, a majorincrease)
    • Guns Increase in handguns in gun-owninghouseholds Most households that have a handgunalso own rifle and/or shotguns Only 13% of gun owners state that theirguns are for self-protection only Generational tradition
    • Demographics Most owners are male Reside in rural areas or small towns Older and higher income West has highest rate, followed bySouth, then Midwest, Northeast lowest
    • Deaths by guns 30,000 to 40,000 per year Most are homicides and suicides A small percentage (about 5%) areaccidents or unknown The rest are about evenly split betweenhomicides and suicides (usually slightlymore suicides)
    • Deaths Nearly as many people die by guns asby auto accidents (deaths by autoaccidents have declined) Gun accidents are also declining Homicide rates have remained relativelyconstant The majority of homicides occur withhandguns (around 70%)
    • Homicides Victims and perpetrators using guns inhomicides tend to be male, AfricanAmerican and young Homicide is the leading cause of deathfor black males ages 15-34, ten timeshigher than for white males, and 50times higher than for white females This rate has increased significantly
    • Injuries Not all gunshot wounds end in a fatality 6 times as many are shot and arewounded Unknown number are shot at but notwounded Even larger number are threatened
    • Conflicting groups Gun owners older white males, as aremany NRA members Victims of gun violence are youngurban black males Different concerns at stake
    • Current gun laws Federal: various taxes imposed Certain types of machineguns,shotguns and silencers must beregistered Laws for manufacturers involved ininterstate or foreign commerce Prohibition of transport of firearms ininterstate commerce to felons orfugitives from justice
    • Federal Interstate transfer of stolen firearms orthose with mutilated serial numbers isforbidden
    • State laws Vary considerably About ½ require a license to sellhandguns Some require permit to purchase License to possess Waiting period between purchase anddelivery
    • State laws License to carry Many prohibit carrying a concealedhandgun Some require license to carry in avehicle About ½ prohibit carrying a loaded gunin a vehicle A few require registration
    • Limitations Federal laws do not affect localpurchase The variation in state laws makes itpossible to circumvent state laws bygoing to another jurisdiction Mail order houses Large black market of guns Too small for police to track (not cars)
    • Do guns make a difference? Issues Self-defense Are criminals deterred? Will they seekmore vulnerable-looking victims? Crime rates Lethality of crime
    • Self-defense Do people successfully defendthemselves? NCVS indicates it is unusual, < 1% ofviolent crimes 3% against intruders in the home Kleck comes up with much higherestimates based on other surveys
    • Self-defense Based on surveys, there are reliabilityproblems One problem: self-defense usually isused to refer to a law-abiding personwho is preyed upon Surveys may include people engaged indelinquent and criminal acts who carryin self-defense
    • Do guns deter criminals? Some states have passed laws allowingconcealed weapons, and crime rateshave dropped However, crime rates also dropped instates without such laws A survey of imprisoned felons indicatesthat they consider the possibility ofarmed victims
    • Deter? Do they then decide not to commit thecrime? Look for victims unlikely to bearmed? Change or develop moreelaborate techniques? (I.e., take extraprecautions to ensure no one is athome)
    • Do guns affect crime rates? Probably little effect on nonviolentcrimes Does not appear to affect overallvolume of violent crime However, does appear to affect thelethality of our violent crime
    • Lethality More than 90% of LE officers killed witha gun All presidential assassinations Multiple murders (postal shootings,school shootings, etc.) Robberies and assaults have a greaterprobability of death if a gun is used
    • Lethality This tells us little about non-lethalattacks Mandatory sentencing for crimesinvolving guns were found to reducecrime rates in 3 states (may substituteless lethal weapons) However, injury rates may rise
    • Lethality On the other hand, may prevent injuryto victim in cases of self-defense
    • Do more guns mean morecrime? Suicides and homicides more likely inhomes with guns More guns, more homicides committedwith guns Prevalence of gun ownership highlycorrelated with the percentage ofhomicides and suicides
    • More crime? Criminals tend to obtain guns frompeople they know rather than from gundealers—easier in a place where thereare more guns Loans and temporary arrangementsmay be very common A high percentage of crimes involvingguns are stolen—again the # of guns
    • Public health perspective Very high rate of gun deaths in the US How does one reduce injury and death Suicides would probably be reduced ifguns in homes were reduced, andpublic health advocates wantrestrictions on guns Less clear with respect to homicide Emphasis on reducing deaths
    • Welfare economics Is it worthwhile to try to reduce thenumber of guns? Self-defense issue important, as is thedeterrent effect on criminals
    • 2ndamendment issue “A well regulated militia, beingnecessary to the security of a freeState, the right of the people to keepand bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Some argue that it no longer applies(we now have a military and police,which was not the case when theConstitution was framed)
    • 2ndamendment Supreme Court generally has not struckdown any laws regulating guns Meaning depends on the viewer Some argue that we should have theright to guns, but that this would carrycertain responsibilities, such as training,proper storage, safety regulations
    • Proposed policies Taxes, fees: more expensive Limiting the number of guns one couldbuy, usually per month. This wouldprevent buying guns and selling themillegally to inner city youth “buy back” programs Public education and training programs
    • Proposals Requiring licensing Development of national data base tokeep guns from certain individuals (notonly felons—mentally ill, for example)incombination with waiting periods Limiting certain types of weapons—automatic, teflon-coated bullets, etc.
    • Proposals Safety requirements on guns (parallelsafety features on cars) Using technology to eliminate gunsfrom certain places (I.e., bars, schools,etc) Prosecuting illegal carrying ofconcealed weapons (MA’s Bartley-Foxamendment)
    • Proposals Stepped-up activities against illegalmarketing activity Increased cooperation among lawenforcement agencies Use of lawsuits against gunmanufacturers who make and sellunsafe products
    • Challenge Determining what works Disagreement about which valuesshould be most important