Saturday, January 07, 2017

Facts, findings, and resources on reducing firearm homicide rates

Firearm laws work

"We found evidence that stronger firearm laws are associated with reductions in firearm homicide rates. The strongest evidence is for laws that strengthen background checks and that require a permit to purchase a firearm. The effect of many of the other specific types of laws is uncertain, specifically laws to curb gun trafficking, improve child safety, ban military-style assault weapons, and restrict firearms in public places"
Lee LK, Fleegler EW, Farrell C, Avakame E, Srinivasan S, Hemenway D, Monuteaux MC. Firearm Laws and Firearm Homicides, A Systematic Review. JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(1):106-119. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.7051

No guns, no gun-related homicides (d'uh!?)

"Japan has one of the lowest rates of gun crime in the world. In 2014 there were just six gun deaths, compared to 33,599 in the US
Handguns are banned outright. Only shotguns and air rifles are allowed
The law restricts the number of gun shops. In most of Japan's 40 or so prefectures there can be no more than three, and you can only buy fresh cartridges by returning the spent cartridges you bought on your last visit
The result is a very low level of gun ownership - 0.6 guns per 100 people in 2007, according to the Small Arms Survey, compared to 6.2 in England and Wales and 88.8 in the US"

Gun ownership level is a significant predictor of firearm homicide rates

"Results. Gun ownership was a significant predictor of firearm homicide rates (incidence rate ratio = 1.009; 95% confidence interval = 1.004, 1.014). This model indicated that for each percentage point increase in gun ownership, the firearm homicide rate increased by 0.9%.

Conclusions. We observed a robust correlation between higher levels of gun ownership and higher firearm homicide rates. Although we could not determine causation, we found that states with higher rates of gun ownership had disproportionately large numbers of deaths from firearm-related homicides"

Michael Siegel, MD, MPH,corresponding author Craig S. Ross, MBA, and Charles King, III, JD, PhDThe Relationship Between Gun Ownership and Firearm Homicide Rates in the United States, 1981–2010
Am J Public Health. 2013 November; 103(11): 2098–2105.
Published online 2013 November. doi:  10.2105/AJPH.2013.301409

"Our review of the academic literature found that a broad array of evidence indicates that gun availability is a risk factor for homicide, both in the United States and across high-income countries.  Case-control studies, ecological time-series and cross-sectional studies indicate that in homes, cities, states and regions in the U.S., where there are more guns, both men and women are at a higher risk for homicide, particularly firearm homicide""We analyzed the relationship between homicide and gun availability using data from 26 developed countries from the early 1990s.  We found that across developed countries, where guns are more available, there are more homicides.  These results often hold even when the United States is excluded"

"Using survey data on rates of household gun ownership, we examined the association between gun availability and homicide across states, 2001-2003.  We found that states with higher levels of household gun ownership had higher rates of firearm homicide and overall homicide.  This relationship held for both genders and all age groups, after accounting for rates of aggravated assault, robbery, unemployment, urbanization, alcohol consumption, and resource deprivation (e.g., poverty).  There was no association between gun prevalence and non-firearm homicide"

"Differences in rates of homicides of Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) across states are best explained not by differences in crime, but by differences in household gun ownership.  In high gun states, LEOs are 3 times more likely to be murdered than LEOs working in low-gun states"

Self-defense use of firearms

Leads to increase in homicides:

"In 2005, Florida amended its self-defense laws to provide legal immunity to individuals using lethal force in self-defense. The enactment of “stand your ground” laws in the United States has been controversial and their effect on rates of homicide and homicide by firearm is uncertain
We found that the implementation of Florida’s stand your ground law was associated with a 24.4% increase in homicide and a 31.6% increase in firearm-related homicide.
Meaning  The removal of restrictions on when and where individuals can use lethal force was associated with a significant increase in homicide and homicide by firearm in Florida"
Humphreys DK, Gasparrini A, Wiebe DJ. Evaluating the Impact of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” Self-defense Law on Homicide and Suicide by Firearm. An Interrupted Time Series Study. JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(1):44-50. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.6811
Is a misnomer; firearms are mostly not used for self-defense:
"We find that the claim of many millions of annual self-defense gun uses by American citizens is invalid"
"Most purported self-defense gun uses are gun uses in escalating arguments, and are both socially undesirable and illegal"
"Firearms are used far more often to intimidate than in self-defense"
"Self-defense gun use is rare and not more effective at preventing injury than other protective actions"

Argument of the gun lobby: Honduras
The gun lobby sometimes bring up Honduras as an example of a country where gun ownership is banned, yet firearm murder very high.
However, this is simply not true:
  • Up until 1985, there was no official regulation of gun ownership and possession by private citizens
  • Currently, "It is recognized the right of ownership and possession of firearms to citizens and foreign residents". That includes up to 5 firearms, including handguns, long-guns, an semi-automatic shotguns
  • Assault and automatic weapons are banned
80% of Honduras gun crimes are committed with unregistered guns.

"Contributing to the amount of unregistered guns circulating through Honduras is the fact that corrupt elements of the police and military are believed to sell weapons to the black market."

Clearly, Honduras has social problems preventing firearms regulation and limitations from ever working; no amount of laws will work in a corrupt framework.
Honduras is an example of failed state, not a good example of whether or not gun possession and/or legislation works or not.

Argument of the gun lobby: Switzerland