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Reposted from Firearms Law and Policy by KVoimakas Editor's Note: This is not an official RKBA diary, even though it uses the RKBA tag. -- KVoimakas

This diary is part of a tutorial series breaking down my lay person's approach to reading judicial opinions. We are reading the first federal court review of the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013, more commonly known the NY SAFE Act.

As readers of Firearms Law and Policy know, most of us are not lawyers. Some of us have experience with guns and some of us never held a gun in our hands. No matter whether you hate guns or love the Heller and McDonald decisions, we believe that understanding actual cases can help us to become better advocates for gun law and policy where we live. Every case has impact on real people's lives. To keep my perspective grounded in that reality it helps to construct a story outline.

Who? What? Where? When? and Why?
In Part I, we gave you a 30-second plain English summary of the decision. In Part II we looked at the decision from the perspective of the lead plaintiff, the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, NYSRPA. I like to start answering the Who? question with a little research on the lead organizational plaintiff because they usually have a webpage devoted to the case where they explain their goals. Sometimes they also have free copies of all the legal documents they have filed. We did some preliminary research to see who they are and what they thought about the the  judge's decision.


"The Court ruled against us on guns, but dismissed 7 round limit."
NYSRPA, Lead Plaintiff



Michael J. Dillon Memorial U.S. Courthouse, Buffalo, NY - {Information |Description=Michael J. Dillon Memorial U.S. Courthouse, Buffalo, NY |Source=Flickr |Date=Oct 3, 2010 |Author=a{{Information |Description=061409 576 |Source=[http://www.flickr.com/photos/dougtone/3634461438/ 061409 576] |Date=2009-06-14 10:4
Michael J. Dillon Memorial U.S. Courthouse, Buffalo, NY
Here is a copy of the Court's decision that we want to understand. It is the first constitutional review of the NYSAFE Act. Written by federal Judge WILLIAM M. SKRETNY in the Western District of New York, the order was filed on Tuesday, December 31, 2013, in Buffalo, New York. It can be very intimidating for those of us who are not lawyers to delve into reading actual court opinions. It does get easier. If you're already bored, the NYTimes published a reader's digest of the decision the same day it was filed.

If you're still with me, please join me below the fold, and we'll begin to answer the question in the title. What is this case really about?

This is an Open Thread.


Sponsored by the Firearms Law and Policy Group


We publish Open Threads on Sundays and Wednesdays

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.

To see our list of original and republished diaries, go to the Firearms Law and Policy diary list. Click on the ♥ or the word "Follow" next to our group name to add our posts to your stream, and use the link next to the heart to send a message to the group if you have a question or would like to join.

Poll

What do you think about the tutorial style for this diary?

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Reposted from We Shall Overcome by KVoimakas Editor's Note: This is not an official RKBA diary, even though it uses the 'RKBA:' title standard. -- KVoimakas

So, there is a diary up "President Obama signs off on shooting 3 Endangered Species" that points out that President Obama has supported gun owners.

http://www.dailykos.com/...

We keep hearing that Obama is Hitler and that Hitler took the guns. But, here is Obama supporting gun owners.

If he supports universal background checks AND he supports expanding hunter's and gun owner rights, can it be true that he is actually intent on taking everyone's guns?

Doesn't the fact that Obama is supporting gun owners shatter the idea that he is coming for their guns?

Poll

Are Dems and Gun Safety Advocates Going to Take Everyone's Guns?

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| 53 votes | Vote | Results

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Reposted from Firearms Law and Policy by KVoimakas Editor's Note: This diary is not an official RKBA diary even though it uses the RKBA tag. -- KVoimakas

In this diary we consider one of the permanent provisions of the Brady Act in a special context - when family heirloom guns are transferred to the next generation, to someone who lives in another state and may be under 21 years of age. Guns are unique. You can't simply wrap up your granddad's heirloom gun, buy some insurance from the carrier, and have it shipped directly across state lines to someone else.

Blindfolded Lady Justice
Justice is blindfolded. When we aim to close loopholes in the law we can't afford to proceed blindly.
To legally send a gun across state lines, even if it is a family heirloom, you must go through a federally licensed firearms dealer in the recipient's home state.  The dealer will perform a check of the National Instant Background Check system to see if the recipient can legally own the heirloom gun.

Those of you who enjoy restoring antiques have a lot in common with those who repair, restore and preserve old guns. It's not the same as your great-great-great grandfather's clock but the value given to family traditions and sentimental items is similar. Some heirloom guns are samples of innovative mechanical engineering. Others are finely crafted works of art in their own right. Properly stored, guns are very durable.

This is an invitation to gun owners to identify where and how gun control advocates can appreciate the immense respect many people have for this part of American's rich heritage.

This is an Open Thread.

Sponsored by the Firearms Law and Policy Group


We host Open Threads on Sundays and Wednesdays.

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. If you would like to write about firearms law or policy please send us a Kosmail.

To see our list of original and republished diaries, go to the Firearms Law and Policy diary list. Click on the ♥ or the word "Follow" next to our group name to add our posts to your stream, and use the link next to the heart to send a message to the group if you have a question or would like to join.

Poll

Do you think heirloom guns should be exempt from Universal Background Check laws?

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| 51 votes | Vote | Results

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Reposted from Firearms Law and Policy by KVoimakas Editor's Note: This is not an official RKBA diary, even though it uses the RKBA tag. -- KVoimakas

When Congress wants to pass a gun law they really do know how to do it. And when they want to get something done, they can pass a stand alone gun bill into law in just one week.

On December 2, 2013 Rep. Howard Coble (R, NC-6) and co-sponsor Rep. David Isreal (D, NY-3) introduced H.R.3626 to extend the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988 for 10 years.

The Act prohibits the manufacture or possession of firearms that are not detectable by the types of x-ray machines commonly used at airports.
The next day Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D, MI-13) signed on as co-sponsor and the bill passed the House with a simple voice vote, and without any amendments. On December 9th, it was "[r]eceived in the Senate, read twice, considered, read the third time, and passed without amendment by Unanimous Consent." [my bold]

The very same day it was sent to President Obama, who signed it immediately.

Let's go below the fold to look at the timeline of what a functioning 113th Congress could do in just one week.

Please consider this an extra Open Thread this week.


Sponsored by the Firearms Law and Policy Group


We publish Open Threads on Sundays and Wednesdays

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.

To see our list of original and republished diaries, go to the Firearms Law and Policy diary list. Click on the ♥ or the word "Follow" next to our group name to add our posts to your stream, and use the link next to the heart to send a message to the group if you have a question or would like to join.

Poll

Are you pleased with what Congress accomplished in gun law and policy last year?

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Reposted from guninsuranceblog by KVoimakas Editor's Note: This is not an official RKBA diary, even though it uses the RKBA tag. -- KVoimakas

The New York Times has just published an interesting story about Dick Metcalf, who was banished from all things pro-gun for writing an editorial that suggested that we should handle gun issues with reason.  At least he must have known that he was likely to create a firestorm with such comments, so maybe it’s OK with him that it turned out that way. 

But the case of Jerry Tsai who was editor and the principle writer for a new very slick gun lifestyle magazine titled Recoil, is in many ways more interesting.  Tsai wrote several very long detailed articles praising and glorifying extreme weaponry in issue #4 that came out before Newtown in August 2012.  Buried in a nine page article celebrating a German submachine gun designed to make assault rifles look like baby toys and sold only to law enforcement he said:

Like we mentioned before, the MP7A1 is unavailable to civilians and for good reason. We all know that’s technology no civvies should ever get to lay their hands on. This is a purpose-built weapon with no sporting applications to speak of. It is made to put down scumbags, and that’s it.

Tsai must have been shocked at the explosive reaction.  His apology had no effect, the magazine almost folded.  For an example of the reaction see the ACR Forum thread calling him a f***ing idiot.  If you don’t know how second amendment zealots think you won’t know what the worst part of the quote is.  It’s that if you think that it matters whether a weapon has sporting applications then you’ve already sold out the second amendment.  They think “not be infringed” means no rules at all; I think that “well regulated militia” means that the guns stay in the militia armory unless the militia commander orders them to come out.  


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Reposted from xaxnar by KVoimakas Editor's Note: This is not an official RKBA diary, even though it uses the RKBA tag. -- KVoimakas

    Using the time-honored Friday News Dump blackhole, the Obama administration announced new regulations intended to clarify and rationalize the issue of gun ownership in the case of individuals with mental health disorders that make gun ownership probably not a good idea, either for themselves or the general public. I first saw this when Charles P. Pierce picked up on it:

...Oh, if your power's still out, you're going to be able to find your way home by the light of the exploding heads.

The administration said that the Department of Justice will propose a regulation to codify who is not allowed to possess again for mental health reasons. It also said that the Department of Health and Human Services is proposing a regulation that would address barriers that don't allow states to share information about mentally ill people with the federal background check system.

Messing around with the gun issue on getaway day? That's a big old fk you to the gun fondlers. Well played.

  The link Pierce includes above is to a Washington Post report noting:
The White House says states often complain that federal law isn't clear enough when it comes to who is prohibited from gun ownership and also that they aren't allowed to share information about mentally ill people because of privacy laws, most notably the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

"The administration’s two new executive actions will help ensure that better and more reliable information makes its way into the background check system," the White House said in a statement. "The administration also continues to call on Congress to pass common-sense gun safety legislation and to expand funding to increase access to mental health services."

      The Huffington Post has a bit more:
“We are taking an important, commonsense step to clarify the federal firearms regulations, which will strengthen our ability to keep dangerous weapons out of the wrong hands,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. “This step will provide clear guidance on who is prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law for reasons related to mental health, enabling America’s brave law enforcement and public safety officials to better protect the American people and ensure the safety of our homes and communities."
And…
“There is a strong public safety need for this information to be accessible to the [National Instant Criminal Background Check System], and some states are currently under-reporting or not reporting certain information to the NICS at all,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. “This proposed rulemaking is carefully balanced to protect and preserve individuals’ privacy interests, the patient-provider relationship, and the public’s health and safety.”
Justice Department press release here; Health & Human Services press release here. Statement from the White House here.

According to the Daily Caller, there is as yet no statement from the NRA:

The National Rifle Association declined to comment immediately on the executive actions.

"Nothing to say until we have a chance to review the actual language of these proposals" emailed NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam.

Poll

The proposed new regulations:

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Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 07:12 AM PST

The Case for an Arsenal License

by Bernie Horn

Reposted from Bernie Horn by KVoimakas Editor's Note: This is not an official RKBA diary, even though it uses the RKBA tag. -- KVoimakas

Bottom line: About 4.5 million households own 165 million guns—an average of 37 firearms per household.... You may have noticed that every time a new gun law is enacted, or even seriously considered, the media reports a gun-buying bonanza. They make it seem like more and more Americans are arming themselves. But that’s not true. Instead, a small percentage of people are building larger and larger arsenals of guns. Because the gun lobby blocks all reasonable oversight, we can only estimate the numbers—but they are astonishing.

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Reposted from Firearms Law and Policy by KVoimakas Editor's Note: This is not an official RKBA diary, even though it uses the RKBA tag. -- KVoimakas
Michael J. Dillon Memorial U.S. Courthouse, Buffalo, NY - {Information |Description=Michael J. Dillon Memorial U.S. Courthouse, Buffalo, NY |Source=Flickr |Date=Oct 3, 2010 |Author=a{{Information |Description=061409 576 |Source=[http://www.flickr.com/photos/dougtone/3634461438/ 061409 576] |Date=2009-06-14 10:4
Michael J. Dillon Memorial U.S. Courthouse, Buffalo, NY
Happy New Year, Daily Kos! Four states have major new gun control laws that go into effect this week, New York, Connecticut, California, and Illinois.

Just in time for the new year, the first constitutional review of the NYSAFE Act* has been completed. Federal Judge Skretny, of the Western District of New York, issued his decision yesterday, December 31, 2013. Quoting Judge Skretny on page 53 of the opinion:

[T]his Court finds that the challenged provisions of the SAFE Act — including the Act’s definition and regulation of assault weapons and its ban on large-capacity magazines — further the state’s important interest in public safety, and do not impermissibly infringe on Plaintiffs’ Second Amendment rights.
[...]

[T]he seven-round limit fails the relevant test because the purported link between the ban and the State’s interest is tenuous, strained, and unsupported in the record.

In plain English?

The Western District of New York upheld most of NY’s new gun law.

Only one provision of the new law was struck down as a violation of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms for self defense. The suit also challenged ten sections of the assault weapons ban. Seven of the ten sections were upheld and three sections were struck down because they were too vague. Vague law is bad for two reasons. First, when a law is vague, citizens can’t tell clearly how to avoid breaking the law. Second, vague law leads to vague jury instructions and it is the details in the jury instructions that determine whether a law can be enforced effectively.

New York's gun laws are complicated. Please feel free to post any questions or requests and useful links in the comments, so we all can learn together. Please join us below the fold as we  take a peek at the NYSAFE Act website and some of the goals of the new law. We will publish our first diary covering the judge's decision tomorrow morning.

This is an Open Thread.


Sponsored by the Firearms Law and Policy Group


We publish Open Threads on Sundays and Wednesdays

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.

To see our list of original and republished diaries, go to the Firearms Law and Policy diary list. Click on the ♥ or the word "Follow" next to our group name to add our posts to your stream, and use the link next to the heart to send a message to the group if you have a question or would like to join.

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.

*A diary on the NYSAFE Act was published yesterday with an erroneous title.
Poll

How optimistic are you about changes in gun law and policy in 2014? No matter which way you want things to change, how likely are we to see meaningful changes this year?

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Reposted from murrayewv by KVoimakas Editor's Note: This is not an official RKBA diary, even though it has the RKBA tag. -- KVoimakas
Just a terminal flaw in the American character, the great tragedy of our times. When these mass shootings occurred in countries like the UK and Australia, people were moved and took action. In the States, even the slaughter of innocent children does nothing. We have failed a moral test here, as a nation. History will not be kind.
 

Nick in London made this comment in the New York Times last night with regard to this powerful article by  Michael Luo and Mike McIntre titled, "When the Right to Keep and Bear Arms includes the Mentally Ill."  To paraphrase teacher ken, please read this article and think about it.

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Reposted from Bob Johnson by KVoimakas Editor's Note: This is not an official RKBA diary, even though it uses the same title format and tag. -- KVoimakas
For the rather large white fellows pictured above, carrying around a handgun just isn't enough anymore. They want the right to lug around their assault-style weapons wherever they go, because, goddamnit, this is America and the freedom to tote your gun -- any gun -- to the grocery store, while walking the Doberman or over to Elmer's house across town is enshrined in the Constitution.

Or something.

The NRA and the concealed and open carry crowd have made great gains in expanding the right to carry a weapon since the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Of course, the NRA and a lot of the gun crowd, particularly the gun toters, would have most Americans believe that carrying a weapon on one's person was as close to a God-given right as any right in the good ol' U.S. of A. Hell, we've been doin' that since the days of the ol' West when most real `Mericans had six-guns strapped to their hips, right?

Well, buckaroos, sorry to disappoint, but no. That's a myth. For more than 100 years, from the mid-1800s to the mid-1980s, it was illegal in nearly all states to strap on a handgun and roam the streets -- unless you were law enforcement or had a very rare special use permit.

What's so surprising is that even many concealed and open carry permit holders, including a number of (supposedly) well-informed gun toters and gun proponents here at Daily Kos, don't know the history of concealed and open carry laws in the United States. They have bought into the NRA propaganda that makes it seem as if strapping a handgun to one's side "has always been, and should always be" the law of the land.

Even in gun-crazy Texas, carrying a handgun outside of one's home beyond one's own property was not the law until 1995.

See, the thing is, the nation matured following the insanity of the civil war and decided that, hey, maybe having a bunch of folks wandering the highways and byways of America armed with pistols may not be the best thing for a civilized society. So the powers that be in most states banned the carrying of handguns, except in the case of sworn law enforcement personnel or the aforementioned rare, special use permit holders. Yep, even in Texas, toting around a pistol (except on you own land) was outlawed for more than 100 years:

It will probably be helpful to briefly cover the history of open-carry in Texas before getting into the issues that have arisen in the past and that we can expect to hear again in 2013.  Since shortly after the end of the Civil War, it is been illegal for Texans to carry handguns outside your home, except in very limited circumstances (see above).  

In 1995, the Texas Legislature passed the first concealed handgun statute creating a system whereby Texans and nonresidents could obtain a Concealed Handgun License. The statute requires everyone who carries a handgun under the authority of their Concealed Handgun License to keep their handgun concealed so it will not be seen by the general public.

The push for concealed or open carry as either may issue or shall issue began in the late 1970s. Prior to 1976, only New Hampshire (1923), Vermont, Washington (1961) and Connecticut (1969) had legal handgun carry on the books.

Georgia Governor Zell Miller pushed through a concealed carry law at the NRA's urging in 1976. Indiana passed a bill in 1980, Maine and North Dakota in 1985, and South Dakota in 1986. Florida's law came on line in 1988, and other states then fell like dominoes:

  • 1989 - Oregon, Pennsylvania and West Virginia
  • 1990 - Idaho and Mississippi
  • 1991 - Montana
  • 1994 - Alaska, Arizona, Tennessee and Wyoming
  • 1995 - Arkansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, Nevada, Utah, and Virginia
  • 1996 - Kentucky, Louisiana, and South Carolina
  • 1998 - Alaska

Many folks here probably remember a time when the NRA was an organization dedicated to promoting the use of guns for sport, from hunting to competitive shooting. That was the NRA's primary mission right up until the late 1970s, just about the time the number of hunting licenses issued by states began an inexorable decline.

The NRA and its real constituency, the gun manufacturers, could see the handwriting on the wall: shotguns, hunting rifles and target pistols just weren't going to cut it anymore. The NRA and gun makers needed to open a more lucrative market for their products.  

Thus, the dawning of the NRA and the gun makers' genius marketing strategy -- "handguns-as-self-defense" -- and the concurrent lobbying efforts to pass legislation in state after state to permit the carrying of handguns, either openly or concealed, in public spaces.

Now, our country is awash in guns. Among developed nations, the U.S. is an extreme outlier, with the gun death and injury rates to prove it.

So perhaps we can make an effort in the coming year to openly discuss our nation's gun insanity. We can explode the myths, and focus specifically on why we, as a nation, should be doing the bidding of the NRA and the gun makers in allowing an increasing number of citizens -- many of them frightened, out-of-shape white guys like the gun toters pictured above -- to be roaming the streets with pistols strapped to their bodies.

After all, is this any way for a civilized society to behave?

A vast majority of our leaders didn't think so from the 1860s all the way through the late 1970s. They were right. Why are we going backwards as a civilization instead of forward into a more just and peaceful world?

[UPDATE]
Meteor Blades points out, below, that open carry was permissible in many states for varying periods of time. The chart I linked to does not cover open carry, but only concealed carry. My mistake. The chart is not labeled as such. In addition, the source I cite on Texas is an NRA member and gun rights supporter. He has his information wrong. Open carry (with limitations) was permissible in Texas. Concealed carry was passed in 1996.

I was out of town yesterday (at the Maple Leafs vs. the Redwings in the Big House in Ann Arbor!), away from the computer or I would have edited sooner. My mistake and I apologize.

I would also appreciate it if the gun crowd would not alter my tags. Thanks.

Discuss
Reposted from Firearms Law and Policy by KVoimakas Editor's Note: This is not an official RKBA diary, even if it uses the RKBA tag. -- KVoimakas
Washington Post reporter Chris Davenport was asked by his editor to buy a gun. Follow Davenport's journey as he navigates the practical and moral issues of purchasing and owning a handgun in D.C.
Wide-angle interior shot of Union Station in Washington, D.C.. Taken July 17th, 2007, assembled from 20 individual shots stitched together into one pano image. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Union_StationDC.jpg
Union Station, Washington DC
This is an Open Thread.

Gun owners, feel free to share your own experience becoming a gun owner. Teach us about the requirements where you live and whether you think they are reasonable, too restrictive, or in need of reform. Not a gun owner? Can you imagine any circumstances under which you might consider owning a gun? This is an invitation to walk in someone else's shoes for a short while.

Join us below the fold to chat about Mr. Davenport's experience becoming a gun owner.


Sponsored by the Firearms Law and Policy Group


We publish Open Threads on Sundays and Wednesdays

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.

To see our list of original and republished diaries, go to the Firearms Law and Policy diary list. Click on the ♥ or the word "Follow" next to our group name to add our posts to your stream, and use the link next to the heart to send a message to the group if you have a question or would like to join.

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.

Poll

What do you think about Chris Davenport's experience becoming a gun owner?

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Reposted from Firearms Law and Policy by KVoimakas Editor's Note: This is not an official RKBA diary, even though it uses the RKBA tag. -- KVoimakas

Even for adults with training and experience, it is incredibly easy to escalate a situation and cross the line from self defense into fighting. Even if self defense is justified, using a gun bullet to resolve a conflict will shatter multiple lives, forever.

Violent means of self defense? We Americans start early down that path.

                                                                                 10-14     15-24     25-34    35-44

Cropped chart showing Top 5 leading causes of violence-related death for ages 10-44, 2010. Full charts available for each year 2004 through 2010, 10LCID_Violence_Related_Injury_Deaths_2010-a.pdf, at http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/LeadingCauses.html
Leading causes of violence-related death (age 10-44)
According to a new study, published in Pediatrics, (August 2013) Boys With Guns at High Risk of Assault, "1 in 4 young people treated in ER after violent attack admitted having a gun.” The National Library of Medicine reports on the study,1 noting that "many [teens and young adults] who possessed firearms obtained them from friends and family." It’s a short article and I encourage you to click through and read the whole thing before you continue.
Nearly one in four said they'd had a gun in the past six months. Eighty-three percent of those with guns admitted they'd obtained them illegally. And nearly one in five who had guns said they carried a semi-automatic or assault-style weapon.

Boys involved in assaults were nearly three times more likely to report having a gun than girls. Having a history of violent fights, using illegal drugs or endorsing the idea of revenge increased the odds that a young person would have a gun. Gang membership was also a factor; slightly more than 9 percent of those with guns said they belonged to a gang while only 1 percent of those with guns said they did not belong to a gang.

"This is a public health crisis," said Dr. Robert Glatter, an attending physician in the department of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.[...]

"People talk about finding a teachable moment," said study author Dr. Patrick Carter, an emergency room physician at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Mich. "These kids are in the ER. They're there for an injury. It may be a time when they're more reflective about their role in violence and substance abuse, and they may be more willing to receive an intervention," he said.

…Continue reading Boys With Guns at High Risk of Assault

1SOURCES:
August 2013 Pediatrics, Patrick Carter, M.D., departments of emergency medicine and psychiatry, University of Michigan Injury Center, and Hurley Medical Center, Flint, Mich.; Robert Glatter, M.D., attending physician, department of emergency medicine, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York, N.Y.

We've known since before Columbine that bullying in schools is a serious problem that can lead to tragic outcomes. Teen suicide, teen homicide, and teen underachievement due to the chronic stress/trauma of being bullied all reflect our failures, as adults, to reduce violence in American culture. While it is important that we teach individual responsibility, young people inherited the local and national culture they were born into. They aren’t to blame, we are. And by we, I mean we adults, we who are aware there is a problem with violence in American culture. For some of us, it’s about teaching our own children how to turn away from violence and retribution, for others it’s about challenging adults in our social circle when we see them modeling violence as a means for resolving disputes.

A policy proposal: What if we started teaching middle school and high school students basic principles of self defense? How to acknowledge and defuse criticism? How to de-escalate conflict and retreat with dignity? Age appropriate techniques could be taught in gym class beginning in 7th grade, an age before which teen violence rates rise sharply.

Why gym class? Because body awareness, positioning and resolution of brief moments of conflict are central in sports. Because patience and persistence are essential for learning new skills. And because practice is necessary. Kids need modeling and they need opportunities to practice, and sports are a natural laboratory for modeling and teaching energetic and committed non-violent negotiation. Kids who play sports learn as much, or more, from their teammates as they do from their coach.

What about adults? What if a course in basic principles of self defense and de-escalation was required for anyone applying for a gun license or a concealed carry permit? Could we fund it through a mix of federal tax dollars and license fees, with deep discounts for those suffering financial hardship. The training could also be offered for free to anyone seeking a protection order.

These are just a few nascent policy ideas.2  

Suppose that young person in the ER was someone in your life. What interventions would support your efforts to redirect them away from revenge and escalation?


This is an Open Thread.

Join me below the fold for a little context.


Sponsored by the Firearms Law and Policy Group


We publish Open Threads on Sundays and Wednesdays

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.

To see our list of original and republished diaries, go to the Firearms Law and Policy diary list. Click on the ♥ or the word "Follow" next to our group name to add our posts to your stream, and use the link next to the heart to send a message to the group if you have a question or would like to join.

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.

2  Lilith’s half-baked policy ideas will be on special this Christmas season. Experienced idea bakers, recipe optimizers, and willing tasters are especially welcome in the kitchen. Please bring your own protective gear; unfortunately Lilith’s patent pending asbestos panties are still in prototype and are not yet commercially available. Membership in the Daily Kos Firearms Law and Policy does not imply agreement with Lilith's policy ideas or baking methods.
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