Welcome login | signup
Language en es fr
OccupyForum

Forum Post: What Researchers Learned About Gun Violence Before Congress Killed Funding

Posted 1 year ago on March 3, 2013, 5:07 p.m. EST by LeoYo (5767)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

What Researchers Learned About Gun Violence Before Congress Killed Funding

Sunday, 03 March 2013 07:18 By Joaquin Sapien, ProPublica | Report

http://truth-out.org/news/item/14892-what-researchers-learned-about-gun-violence-before-congress-killed-funding

President Obama has directed the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence as part of his legislative package on gun control. The CDC hasn't pursued this kind of research since 1996 when the National Rifle Association lobbied Congress to cut funding for it, arguing that the studies were politicized and being used to promote gun control. We've interviewed Dr. Mark Rosenberg, who led the agency's gun violence research in the nineties when he was the director of the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

We talked to Rosenberg about the work the agency was doing before funding was cut and how it's relevant to today's gun control debate. Here's an edited transcript.

There's been coverage recently about how Congress cut funding for gun violence research, but not much about what the agency was actually researching and what it was finding. You were in charge of that. Tell us a little bit about what the CDC was doing back then. There were basically four questions that we were trying to answer. The first question is what is the problem? Who were the victims? Who was killed? Who were injured? Where did they happen? Under what circumstances? When? What times of the year? What times of the day? What was the relationship to other events? How did they happen? What were the weapons that were used? What was the relationship between the people involved? What was the motive or the setting in which they happened?

The second question is what are the causes? What are the things that increase one's risk of being shot? What are the things that decrease one's risk of being shot?

The third question we were trying to answer is what works to prevent these? What kinds of policies, what kinds of interventions, what kinds of police practices or medical practices or education and school practices actually might prevent some of these shootings? We're not just looking at mass shootings, but also looking at the bulk of the homicides that occur every year and the suicides, which account for a majority of all gun deaths.

Then the last question is how do you do it? Once you have a program or policy that has been proven to work in one place, how do you spread it? How do you actually put it in place?

So what were you were able to find before funding got cut off? One of the critical studies that we supported was looking at the question of whether having a firearm in your home protects you or puts you at increased risk. This was a very important question because people who want to sell more guns say that having a gun in your home is the way to protect your family.

What the research showed was not only did having a firearm in your home not protect you, but it hugely increased the risk that someone in your family would die from a firearm homicide. It increased the risk almost 300 percent, almost three times as high.

It also showed that the risk that someone in your home would commit suicide went up. It went up five-fold if you had a gun in the home. These are huge, huge risks, and to just put that in perspective, we look at a risk that someone might get a heart attack or that they might get a certain type of cancer, and if that risk might be 20 percent greater, that may be enough to ban a certain drug or a certain product.

But in this case, we're talking about a risk not 20 percent, not 100 percent, not 200 percent, but almost 300 percent or 500 percent. These are huge, huge risks.

I understand there was also an effort to collect data on gun violence through something called the Firearm Injury Surveillance System. What did that involve?

We were collecting information to answer the question of who, what, where, when, and how did shootings occur?

We were finding that most homicides occur between people who know each other, people who are acquaintances or might be doing business together or might be living together. They're not stranger-on-stranger shootings. They're not mostly home intrusions.

We also found that there were a lot of firearm suicides, and in fact most firearm deaths are suicides. There were a lot of young people who were impulsive who were using guns to commit suicide.

So if you were able to continue this work, what kind of data do you think would be available today?

I think we'd know much more information about what sorts of weapons are used in what sorts of firearm deaths and injuries. Let's say you look at robbery associated homicides, and you find that in those homicides certain weapons are used in almost all of them and that these weapons come from a limited number of sources and that those weapons are not used by people to defend their home or to hunt or to target shoot. Then you can say, "Here's a type of weapon that seems to be only used in criminal enterprises and doesn't seem to have any legitimate uses, and maybe we ought to find a way to restrict the sales or access to that type of weapon." I think it's also important to look at what the impact of these data might be.

If you look at how many deaths have occurred between 1996, when there was this disruption to surveillance and research, and now, so that's 16 years, and if you assume that there are about 30,000 gun deaths every year, you're talking about 480,000 gun deaths over that period of time.

If even a fraction of those deaths could have been prevented, you're talking about a significant impact in terms of saving lives. Lawmakers are now trying to figure out what the most effective policies might be to curb gun violence, and how to implement them. What were you beginning to find on that?

The largest question in this category is what kind of larger policies work? Does it work, for example, if you have an assault weapon ban? Does that reduce the number of firearm injuries and deaths? In truth, we don't know the answer to that. That requires evaluation. Does gun licensing and registration work to reduce firearm injuries and death? We don't have the answer.

The policies that make it easier to carry concealed weapons, do those reduce or do those increase firearm injuries and deaths? We don't have the answer. Do gun bans like they have in the city of Chicago, work? We don't have the answer yet to those.

These require large-scale studies of large numbers of people, over a long period of time to see if they work or don't.

I don't think those studies were fully funded or completed.

How do you think the gun control debate might be different today, if you had been allowed to continue that research?

I would like to think that we would have had answers to what works and what doesn't work. I would hope that we know whether the kind of bans and restrictions that they have in Chicago really make a difference or don't. I would hope that we would have had information about whether an assault weapon ban saves lives or doesn't. Unfortunately, when you don't have those data that really show you, scientifically, whether or not something works, then you end up with people making statements like the following, "Obviously, the assault weapon ban didn't work, because Columbine happened."

That's kind of like saying, "Vaccines don't work because someone got the flu."

The Obama administration is asking Congress for $10 million to pursue gun-related research. If you had that budget and you had your old job, what would you use the money to look at?

I think we'd want to look at what the impact of different policies would be, both restricting and enabling policies.

The other thing that I would make sure we looked at is not just how do we prevent firearm injuries, but how do we also protect the rights of legitimate gun owners? I think it would be very important to look, for example, at legislation that restricts access by certain people to firearms. Let's say these might be people who have committed felonies or people who have been adjudicated mentally ill. People often think that there are maybe three things we should consider passing right now, something like an assault weapons ban, a ban on large capacity magazines, and background checks on all gun purchasers.

The truth is that there's not going to be a simple, magic pill or even three pills that cure the whole problem. If you look at suicides and the whole range of homicides and firearm injuries, the answers are going to come, bit by bit, over time, incrementally.

It's not one, two or even three things that are really going to solve the problem. They may salve our conscience, but they won't solve the problem. The research is really, really important. We really need to find out what works, so that we can save more lives.

It's been presented to people that research is going to hurt legitimate gun owners. That's the threat and how the NRA leadership has often presented it to the NRA membership. "Any sort of research is only going to result in your losing all your guns."

That's a tactic of fear. It's not at all the case. There are things we can do that will both reduce firearm injuries and protect the legitimate rights of gun owners and protect the children and their families.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

2 Comments

2 Comments


Read the Rules
[-] 2 points by bensdad (8977) 1 year ago

GUNS – Facts & opinion & solution


FACTS: There is little difference between a gun owner and a gun buyer
There is no difference between a gun owned and a gun bought
The constitution does give some people the right to “bear arms”
More Americans ( in absolute numbers & per capita ) are killed by guns than in almost any other country ( USA 11,000+; England 35 )
Almost no hunters hunt with semi-automatic weapons

“Assault weapon” is a term well defined in law but not well understood
Legislatures & courts ( including SCOTUS ) have set numerous limits on the 2nd amendment’s right to “bear arms”
Just like legislatures & courts ( including SCOTUS ) have set numerous limits on the 1st amendment’s right to “free speech” [ no “fire in a crowded theatre ]

You can buy a revolver arm but not a grenade launcher arm
A 9 year old cannot buy a shotgun
Australia & England both passed strict new gun control laws –
and drastically cut their gun deaths
The nra uses its members to sell guns for the gun manufacturers
It is illegal to drive an un-registered car
It is illegal to drive if you are unlicensed
It is illegal to drive an uninsured car

The 1994 “assault weapons ban” did not work because it did NOT ban assault weapons – it only banned their sale or manufacture.


OPINIONS
The real problem never discussed: It is not the gun sellers or the gun buyers – or even the guns - it is the gun OWNERS
I would divide most gun deaths into five categories: the Sandy Hook mass murderers, drug related street crime, non-drug related street crime, “personal” crimes of anger, suicide. Consider each one - all would be reduced if we reduced the number of guns ( and legalized drugs ). The complex, conflicting state laws and the huge number of guns owned by Americans makes confiscation ( that no one is advocating ) totally unfeasible

We need a uniform federal gun law
The “mental health” issue is an nra stall – unless they agree that everyone who OWNS a gun must be psychoanalyzed and certified “safe to own guns” The nra’s “American culture is different” is another stall – most countries have hunters, violent movies, citizen owned guns, violent video games, drugs

Background checks & closing the gun show loophole will help – but ONLY with new sales –
it does nothing about OWNERS – and there are 100,000,000 of them. If just 1/10 of 1% of them are crazy, that’s 10,000 crazy gun OWNERS!


SOLUTION: Based on reducing guns, not confiscation

THOSE WHO CAN – DO
THOSE WHO CAN’T - RANT

1►
learn as much as you can about the numbers that prove what the solutions are

2►
demand a plan:

http://www.youtube.com/user/maigcoalition
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Za8SOVuGHs&list=UUu4Q7iE0z1Jw7yUjs56dvXA&index=1

alex jones – without his straight jacket!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XZvMwcluEg&feature=endscreen&NR=1

multi-millionaire gun manufacturer wayne lapierre who works for koch brothers & gets paid over $1,000,000 / year
to get his army of lemming to keep buying guns.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dar6K2STVVQ

3►
DO: WRITE CONGRESS:

find your congresspeople

house:
http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
senate:
http://www.senate.gov/reference/common/faq/How_to_contact_senators.htm
VP Joe Biden, Gun Panel, 1600 Pennsylvania Av, Washington DC 20006


╬═╬═╬═╬═╬═╬═╬═╬═╬═╬═╬═╬═╬═╬═╬═╬═╬═╬═╬═╬═╬═╬═╬


Dear ............................:

[ _ Y.O.U.R...I.N.T.R.O...H.E.R.E_ ]

While some people may want to confiscate guns, I don’t.
Here is a much more feasible approach.
It will not solve all gun problems, but it will
reduce the number of guns
and that will reduce the number of dangerous people who have access to guns -
and isn't THAT our real goal?

My proposal - for a NATIONAL gun law for all guns & owners:
My four points are SIMPLY based on seeing a logical parallel between cars & guns.

Please consider advocating these four steps below to help America with our 11,000+ gun disasters:


1►
all gun owners must be licensed & tested with all guns they own and pass a written test.

If you own a motor cycle, a dump truck, and a car - you are tested in each.
Require a written gun test - to guarantee the owner's understanding of gun laws
thus being forced to know the law - via the test – also means the police know who you are -
and you may be less likely to commit a crime or be careless storing your guns

2►
every year, you must prove that you have gun liability insurance &
be background checked and prove that your gun is properly locked when not used.

Insurance should be at least as high as car insurance [ I would like at least $1,000,000 ]
You must prove your car insurance.
Require an annual back ground check ( with fee ) to verify your suitability to own guns.
Every gun must be locked in a gun case or have a trigger lock.

3►
as the owner of a gun, you are legally responsible for what is done with it.

You are required to report if your gun is missing within 48 hours,
The owner will be much less likely to leave a gun accessible to a family member or thief.

4►
every gun must be registered and tested & a sample fired bullet stored by the police

Knowing that your gun & its bullets are so easily traced will make you think before using it.

additionally -

Gun fees [ licenses fees & registration fees & fines ] should be
high enough to create a very substantial gun buy-back program

Penalties must be very high in money & jail time -
especially after the first offense

No citizens ( except dealers & collectors ) need more than a small number of guns

Gun fees should be higher for more guns & for bigger guns.

The nra will fight against this –
but will be balanced by the insurance companies fighting for it

But the nra may be in favor of this when the gun companies understand that gun owners
can get paid to turn in their old gun and will be able to buy a new gun -
with an INTEGRATED lock .

If we legalize drugs, we will clear out jail cells to fill with gun law breakers and
free up police "time" for real crime investigation

We WILL get higher compliance and lower opposition if we use high fees & buyback.

Take a position of reducing guns, like assault weapons such as semi-automatic rifles -
rather than punishing a gun nut who spent $10,000 on an armory.

LBJ proposed a gun plan similar to the above 4 point plan


Some real 2011 / 2012 gun statistics:

Americans own almost half of all civilian owned guns in the world.
Per 100,000: America: 88,880 guns owned ; 2.97 homicides Per 100,000
Per 100,000: England.…: 6,200 guns owned ; 0.07 homicides Per 100,000
Per 100,000: Austrailia: 15,000 guns owned ; 0.14 homicides Per 100,000
Per 100,000: Canada…: 30,800 guns owned ; 0.51 homicides Per 100,000
Per 100,000: France….: 31,000 guns owned ; 0.06 homicides Per 100,000
Per 100,000: Japan……..: 1,000 guns owned ; 0.08 homicides Per 100,000
Per 100,000: Israel……..: 7,300 guns owned ; 0.90 homicides Per 100,000


http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/crime-stats/crime-statistics/period-ending-march-2012/rft-annual-trend-and-demographic-tables-2011-12.xls
The above link is to England police statistics - see table D19

The nra & its trolls are claiming that we will fail, where England & Australia succeeded in reducing gun deaths substantially by legislation.


Statistics clearly prove that the number of guns in a state or in a country adds to the risk of homicides.

More complex is the effect of gun laws and restrictions.

When Australia had a massacre in 1996 when 35 people were killed, gun laws were substantially strengthened and a major buy-back was instituted.
There has not been an incident in Australia since then.
Of course, they did not have the benefit of the nra.

In 2011, there were 11,000+ gun homicides in America
In 2011, there were 35 gun deaths in England

For 2011, the average Murder Rate in Death Penalty States was 4.7,
while the average Murder Rate of States without the Death Penalty was 3.1

For 2011, the murder rates were highest in red state regions:
Per 100,000: South 5.5 Midwest 4.5 West 4.2 Northeast 3.9

VERY IMPORTANT:
▬► The 1994 gun "ban" did NOT ban assault weapons.
▬►It banned the MANUFACTURE of assault weapons.
▬►For $300 you can buy an accessory to make an AR15 fully automatic (800rpm)

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said that there are "undoubtedly" limits to a person's right to bear arms under the Second Amendment, but that future court cases will have to decide where to draw the line. That line could be between you and and an AR15.


And of course if we stopped money going from advocacy groups & cororations to buy politicians, this would be a very big step in the right direction
Watch our videos: Hedges, Kucinich, Warren, Chomsky , Sanders ,
Romney, Reich, Hartmann, Maddow, Nader, Feingold, Jefferson Maddow
And read our analysis of Corporate Personhood & Citizens United & evaluate the national polls that prove the truth.


http://corporaionsarenotpeople.webuda.com

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5767) 1 year ago

"It's been presented to people that research is going to hurt legitimate gun owners. That's the threat and how the NRA leadership has often presented it to the NRA membership. "Any sort of research is only going to result in your losing all your guns.""

Let's think about that for a moment. The concern being expressed is not a question of validity behind any implications of research being done but only for a possible consenquence as to what gun owners would have to give up.