Rethinking Gun Control is a reader's digest of the key Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm Related Violence (National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine, June 2013). The report is a comprehensive review of gun violence as requested by President Obama in January of this year. Mr. Saletan summarizes ten key concepts, and points out that the incidence of defensive gun use is on the same scale as criminal gun use. If you only have fifteen minutes to think about gun law and poilcy this week, please bookmark this diary, and go read Mr. Saleton's article. Some of the findings may surprise you.

Lady Justice wandered through the fashion district of NYC where she discovered a latent interest in firearms law.
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Rethinking Gun Control

Surprising findings from a comprehensive report on gun violence.
June 24, 2013, William Saletan, Slate
Background checks are back. Last week, Vice President Joe Biden said that five U.S. senators—enough to change the outcome—have told him they’re looking for a way to switch their votes and pass legislation requiring a criminal background check for the purchase of a firearm. Sen. Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat who led the fight for the bill, is firing back at the National Rifle Association with a new TV ad. The White House, emboldened by polls that indicate damage to senators who voted against the bill, is pushing Congress to reconsider it.

The gun control debate is certainly worth reopening. But if we’re going to reopen it, let’s not just rethink the politics. Let’s take another look at the facts. Earlier this year, President Obama ordered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to assess the existing research on gun violence and recommend future studies. That report, prepared by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, is now complete. Its findings won’t entirely please the Obama administration or the NRA, but all of us should consider them. Here’s a list of the 10 most salient or surprising takeaways.

1. The United States has an indisputable gun violence problem. According to the report, “the U.S. rate of firearm-related homicide is higher than that of any other industrialized country: 19.5 times higher than the rates in other high-income countries.” (Richardson and Hemenway, 2011)

...continue reading Rethinking Gun Control at Slate.

Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm Related Violence (National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine, 2013)

From the NRC report, p27: In 2010, incidents involving firearms injured or killed more than 105,000 Americans.(20) A recent estimate suggested that firearm violence cost the United States more than $174 billion in 2010, (Miller, 2010). However, it is essentially impossible to quantify the overall physiological, mental, emotional, social, and collateral economic effects of firearm violence since these effects extend well beyond the victim to the surrounding community and society at large. ([Institute of Medicine], 2012b)

...continue reading Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm Related Violence.

The cost of our loose gun policies is huge. It's hard to wrap my mind around big numbers so let’s be conservative and round down to $150 billion per year. And let us compare that estimated financial toll in terms used to discuss the national budget deficit. That is $1.5 trillion dollars over a decade. If our projected budget deficit is $15 trillion over the next decade, then the ongoing cost of gun violence is about one-tenth of the budget deficit. The toll is roughly ten-fold larger than the cuts that the GOP wanted to make to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, aka Food Stamps). I think we all agreed those proposed cuts to the SNAP program are unacceptable.  Can we afford to simply continue absorbing the cost of our loose gun policies?

Like voting laws, most gun laws are passed and enforced at the state level. If we are to remain a broad coalition of urban and rural voters, we must educate ourselves about firearm technology and law. If we are to become effective advocates for change, we need to educate ourselves about state and local laws where we live, so that we can join with our neighbors and community leaders to demand effective action. If we don't master both the technology and legitimate fears, we will remain vulnerable to poorly written gun safety bills that can't pass, or that are ineffective even if they do become law. With 300 million guns in circulation, the impact of any new laws may take time to manifest. There are always unintended consequences. Let us always bear in mind the intent may be genuine but the resulting law may still fail to address the problem it sought to solve.

In a previous diary I looked at who is prohibited from buying/owning firearms, Background Check 101 - What is a Straw Buyer?

Most of the 300 million firearms in the US start out in the hands of a law abiding gun owner. With ongoing daily shootings and recent mass murders galvanizing debate, many are asking themselves more urgently than ever before "How do so many guns find their way into homes and hands where injury and death result?"

...continue reading Background Check 101 - What is a Straw Buyer?

Join us to discuss which of Mr. Saletan’s ten points surprised you the most.
The Daily Kos Firearms Law and Policy group studies actions for reducing firearm deaths and injuries in a manner that is consistent with the current Supreme Court interpretation of the Second Amendment.  We also cover the many positive aspects of gun ownership, including hunting, shooting sports, and self-defense.

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We have adopted Wee Mama's and akadjian's guidance on communicating.  But most important, be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

Originally posted to Firearms Law and Policy on Mon Sep 16, 2013 at 11:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by notRKBA, Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA), and Shut Down the NRA.


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