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Study Finds 3 Laws Could Reduce Firearm Deaths By 90% (meta.com) 819

An anonymous reader writes: The study, published in The Lancet, used a cross-sectional, state-level dataset relating to a host of topics associated with firearm mortality including gun ownership and even unemployment from across the U.S. to examine the relationship between recorded gun deaths and gun-control legislation. The study found that some laws, such as those that restrict gun access to children through locks and age restrictions, were simply ineffective while others, such as the stand-your-ground law that allows individuals to use deadly force in self-defense, actually increase gun-related deaths significantly. According to the study's model, a federal law expanding background checks for all gun purchases could reduce the national gun death rate by 57%, lowering it from 10.35 to 4.46 per 100,000 people while background checks for all ammunition purchases could lower the rate by 81% to 1.99 per 100,000 and firearm identification could reduce it by 83% to 1.81 per 100,000. If the federal government implemented all three laws, the scholars predict that the overall national rate of firearm deaths would drop by over 90% to 0.16 per 100,000.
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Study Finds 3 Laws Could Reduce Firearm Deaths By 90%

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12, 2016 @09:02PM (#51686941)

    'Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for Gun Policy and Research, told the Washington Post, “Briefly, this is not a credible study and no cause and effect inferences should be made from it.” Webster is later quoted, stating, “What I find both puzzling and troubling is this very flawed piece of research is published in one of the most prestigious scientific journals around Something went awry here, and it harms public trust.”'

  • Who was it? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @09:04PM (#51686947)

    Who was it that said we don't need gun control, we need bullet-control. If a bullet cost five thousand dollars there would be no innocent bystanders. Was it Chris Rock?

  • People are dying in droves. Stop the slaughter! Make it illegal to operate a motor vehicle.
  • So, the question is what will happen in response? Will the pro-gun groups stop claiming that none of these measures will help. Will the pro gun-control groups stop claiming that the ineffective laws are effective? Or will both groups just keep screaming at each other?
  • Slipery slope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chwilliams ( 1139735 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @09:13PM (#51687003)
    Regardless of your position on this, if the Second Amendment can be restricted so can all the others. They are necessary controls on government power (sans Prohibition), be careful what you wish for.
    • Re:Slipery slope (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Insanity Defense ( 1232008 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @09:24PM (#51687063)

      Regardless of your position on this, if the Second Amendment can be restricted so can all the others. They are necessary controls on government power (sans Prohibition), be careful what you wish for.

      The 2nd was restricted from the beginning. No prisoners allowed guns. Use the amendment itself as the restriction. Allow it to MILITIA members without restriction. Not a member you get restrictions.

    • Re:Slipery slope (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Harlequin80 ( 1671040 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @09:25PM (#51687067)

      But the second amendment can be restricted. For a start it is an amendment to the original document. There is nothing constitutionally stopping the government from removing that amendment, there is however no political will or capacity to. These are not the same thing.

    • Regardless of your position on this, if the Second Amendment can be restricted so can all the others.

      FWIW they all can be restricted (although there's never been a court case on quartering troops AFAIK)

      • by rossz ( 67331 )

        FWIW they all can be restricted (although there's never been a court case on quartering troops AFAIK)

        There is a case right now on just that subject. The police kicked a family out of their own home so they could spy on a neighbor. Unfortunately, I don't have a link handy but I'm sure google would help if you are interested enough.

  • Duh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12, 2016 @09:15PM (#51687009)

    "...stand-your-ground law that allows individuals to use deadly force in self-defense, actually increase gun-related deaths significantly."

    Really, no shit. Allowing people to defend themselves with guns leads to gun-related deaths. Shooting people dead that are invading your house trying to harm you is a bad thing? I suppose they want the homeowners/renters dead instead. Way to cherry pick facts. I have no problem with stand-your-ground as long as it is a justified shooting. Conversely those that not justified stand-your-ground should be an immediate firing squad (see what I did there).

    Bullshit facts such as the above are not going to help those who are trying to convince people that all-guns-are-bad.

    "By the way, I hear giving people driving licenses leads to an increase in vehicular deaths. We should ban it immediately." I await the all-guns-are-bad people picking apart that statement (while completely missing the point).

    • Re:Duh... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kenai_alpenglow ( 2709587 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @09:34PM (#51687113)
      Just this week in Vicksburg, MS, there was a gunshot death due to the Castle Doctrine. If the couple hadn't used their *unlocked* firearm, the alternative would likely have been 3 stabbing deaths (this guy had already raped a elderly lady, kidnapped and killed her, and had just escaped prison--pretty sure these folks were marked for death--he was in the process of raping the wife.) Sorry, don't feel any sympathy for this "gunshot victim".
  • Study finds correlation between three laws and decreased gun deaths.
  • by Opyros ( 1153335 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @09:17PM (#51687025) Journal
    Heck, the Three Laws could reduce firearms deaths by 100%! (I'm assuming that the First Law states "no firearm shall harm a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.")
  • by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @09:22PM (#51687059)

    Of 25 firearm laws, nine were associated with reduced firearm mortality, nine were associated with increased firearm mortality, and seven had an inconclusive association....Very few of the existing state-specific firearm laws are associated with reduced firearm mortality

    Not enough information in the Lancet summary to draw any conclusions, but expecting a drop of 90% doesn't sound realistic.

  • by zerofoo ( 262795 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @09:31PM (#51687095)

    Background checks won't reduce gun deaths by a dramatic amount as criminals do not get their guns from legal sources:

    https://d3uwh8jpzww49g.cloudfr... [cloudfront.net]

    About 60% of the gun deaths in the US are suicides:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10... [nytimes.com]

    Additional background checks are unlikely to put a dent in that number as suicidal people use legally bought and lawfully owned firearms to do the deed.

  • by habig ( 12787 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @09:42PM (#51687143) Homepage

    This "make background checks mandatory for private sales" thing sounds good, but won't work. It won't work for the same reason that no one pays sales tax at a garage sale: you're supposed to do so, but there's no way for the government to enforce the sales tax laws on people who don't hold a business license.

    The existing background check system works because it's tied to firearm dealers' licenses: they've got to do it to keep their business license.

    Ironically, during the Clinton administration the feds went on a "too many people have FFLs, let's make them much more expensive and hard to get!" spree. Which now means that many fewer people participate in the background check system, as a result of another initiative that sounded good to people who have a tenuous connection to reality.

    For what it's worth, if you do go buy a firearm on the internet, odds are really good that you're getting a background check anyway. Why? Because to ship a firearm, it's got to go from FFL to FFL. And the FFL in your town handling your shipment is required to do a background check.

    But, it sure does sounds good to propose such a law: to people who have no clue how things actually work. Which, it turns out, is true of most of the "feel good!" solutions non-gun owners concoct to impose on gun owners. Comes of trying to legislate to match what they see in movies and in cop shows rather than what actually happens in reality. So, I wonder how this study came up with their numbers. Did they just say "hmm, X% of people buying their guns person to person commit a crime, a BG check would magically change that number to 0%"? I suppose it might, if 100% of the people followed the new, easily ignorable law. Considering that they're going and ignoring other, stricter laws to commit their crimes (like, "killing people is illegal"), that sounds rather optimistic.

    • So, I wonder how this study came up with their numbers.

      If you read the article, mainly by looking at the results of passing various laws at the state level. Which is kind of how it should be: we see what works at the state level and (maybe) implement it at the national level.

      (Seriously, is it too much to ask you to read the article before going off on speculated criticism?)

    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @10:42PM (#51687473)

      Talk to some gun owners sometime. You'll find many of them rather uneasy about the idea of selling to someone without a BG check. Thing is, there's nothing you can do other than to sell the gun to a dealer and have them resell it, which of course eats up money you might get. People do what they can to CYA, you can find forms online they'll print and have the other person fill out (none of which they are required to do). Some will just decide to do it through a shop anyways.

      I'm one of those people. I'm not super in to firearms, but I like them, own 3 of them, and have a reasonably good working knowledge about them. Some time ago I decided to sell off one of my pistols. I had gotten a second one that I liked much better and didn't want the old one. It was a Glock 17, they sell pretty easy. However I was just uncomfortable selling it with no way of checking on the buyer, so I decided to eat the cost and sold it to a dealer. They offered me about half of what I'd get from an individual, no surprise since they were going to sell it for about what I would get (standard retail markup is about 100%).

      I'd love the ability to have a good private BG check system, and you can be damn sure I'd use it.

      How much would such a thing help? I'm not sure but I have trouble believing it would hurt.

      • Most FFL licensees will conduct a transfer between buyer and seller for a minimal fee. I've seen anywhere from $0 for regular customers up to about $50 with most in the $20-$30 range.

        However, the concern about universal background checks had nothing to do with background checks. The legislation that was introduced at the federal level removed significant protections for gun owners; protections that were created in 1986 in exchange for not allowing any more machine guns to be placed on the NFA register.


    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by labnet ( 457441 )

      After the Port Arthur massacre in Australia, tough gun controls were bought in requiring gun safety courses, safes, annual licensing, and restriction of semi automatic type weapons and most handguns. One interesting side effect of this, is I never hear about accidental shootings by children anymore. I live in a large Australian city and have never seen a firearm I public except for police and security guards. A handgun on the black market now costs over $5k.
      This has been a big cultural change for Australia

  • Also call themselves scholars.

  • It's A Feature (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Koby77 ( 992785 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @10:02PM (#51687253)

    while others, such as the stand-your-ground law that allows individuals to use deadly force in self-defense, actually increase gun-related deaths significantly

    I'm pretty sure that part is a designed feature, where a homeowner can kill a rapist or a burglar.

  • by reboot246 ( 623534 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @10:03PM (#51687261) Homepage
    Just enforce the laws already on the books. Nobody has tried that yet, but I bet your next paycheck that it will work.
  • Because the USA does come across as a little insane when it's people turn on each other so viciously. How about a free box of antipsychotics with every box of bullets? The abuse of stimulants seems to be driving similar trends in other countries too, again fundamentally a mental health rather than a legal issue.
  • by Mal-2 ( 675116 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @10:36PM (#51687445) Homepage Journal

    Already the objections are being raised in print [sciencemag.org], so it's not like others are overlooking this study.

    Of course, the eventual corrections or retraction won't get anywhere near the press the original study did. It never does.

  • by AchilleTalon ( 540925 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @10:52PM (#51687513) Homepage
    Given two thirds of deaths by firearms are suicides. I don't believe any of these will reduce the rate as much as it is claimed. In fact, even if you reduce the suicides by firearms, which is the bulk of the deaths, you will probably still have see an increase of suicides by other means. I still believe the whole discussion about firearms control is just not well defined from the very beginning.

    What do you want to achieve exactly? You want to reduce mass murders? The are spectacular, however they are marginal in the stats. You want to reduce the homicids? Target criminal groups, they are not very likely to respect any legislation about firearms in first place. And to simplify, two thirds of the deaths are suicide and the other is homicids. Accidents and mass murders are marginals.

  • Okay (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @10:59PM (#51687543) Homepage

    such as the stand-your-ground law that allows individuals to use deadly force in self-defense, actually increase gun-related deaths significantly.

    Yeah, and who are the dead people? Because if it's a bunch of criminals that are being killed then - and I hate to say this - I don't care. They had a choice, after all.

    I really can't imagine why anyone would think that another person has no right to defend himself, up to and including the use of deadly force where necessary. But, as others have pointed out, this "research" is really anti-gun loonery from the usual suspects.

    How it's "news for nerds" or "stuff that matters", I don't know.

  • No middle ground (Score:4, Interesting)

    by spiritplumber ( 1944222 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @11:25PM (#51687669) Homepage
    My position on guns has me yelled at by both sides. I would like something like a driver's license to be required for buying guns and ammo. The license is earned (ideally at no cost or at a very nominal fee) by demonstrating that you can shoot what you are aiming at, clean a gun safely, and store it properly. You can lose this license by committing a violent crime with a firearm, being drunk or high with a firearm on you, or leaving your firearm unsecured where small children can get to it. Apparently this stance makes me a horrible monster to both sides of the debate.
  • by PinkyGigglebrain ( 730753 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @11:52PM (#51687779)

    Once again they focus on the guns and not the issues that cause the violence in the first place; poverty, lack of education, unemployment and lack of opportunities to escape poverty.

    Sweden has about the same gun ownership rate as the USA but less than half the gun related homicides. Why? It sure as hell isn't the number of people who own guns. Maybe its the culture and the rational and reasonable gun laws they have.

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern