From time to time I think it’s important to alert Gun-sense Nation to publications that confirm one way or another what we all know, namely, that guns are responsible for the deaths and injuries of more than 100,000 Americans every year. And while most of us consider gun violence to be both abhorrent and inexcusable, from time to time we encounter folks who don’t share that point of view. And I’m not talking about card-carrying members of Gun-nut Nation who are today celebrating a jury’s decision to acquit the jerks who spent a week last year eating pizza up at the Malheur National Forest Range – I’m talking about a friend, a neighbor or a co-worker- someone who might profit from a serious discussion about gun violence prevention backed up with reference to research whose findings are incontestably true.
So what follows is Mike the Gun Guy’s ‘greatest hits,’ i.e., what I think are recent studies on different aspects of gun violence that can and should be used to bolster the gun violence prevention point of view. Because let’s not forget that Gun-nut Nation relies on a powerful network of pro-gun promoters who never miss an opportunity to broadcast the idea that guns in the home, on campus, in front of polling places and God knows everywhere else are the only things we can rely on to keep us protected and safe. Think I’m indulging in a bit of hyperbole? Take a listen to Wayne-o’s latest rant. Want to have information at your fingertips that can be used to deliver a more reasonable (and rational) point of view? Here’s the list and you can download them all right here:
—– Center for American Progress, America Under Fire. This study matches gun violence data with the degree to which each state experiences gun violence and demonstrates that as gun regulations increase, gun violence goes down. Gee, what a surprise. But what got this report on my ‘greatest hits’ list was a new approach to the definition of gun violence which aggregates ten different categories of gun violence so that different patterns can be seen in different states. DOWNLOAD
—– Azrael and Miller, “Reducing Suicide Without Affecting Underlying Mental Health.” An authoritative study on the links between suicide and access to lethal means which shows that restricting access to firearms can reduce suicide rates in countries which have free access to guns (read: the USA.) DOWNLOAD
—— Webster, et. al., “Firearms on College Campuses.” This recent study is actually more than what the title suggests, because the authors go after bigger game, namely, the whole question of gun-free zones. And what they argue and prove is that gun-free zones do not attract shooters, nor are gun-carrying civilians a deterrent to gun-violence events. DOWNLOAD
—— Hemenway and Solnick, “The epidemiology of self-defense gun use.” The notion that guns protect us from crime is a centerpiece of Gun-nut Nation’s continuing effort to make Americans believe that it should be normal, natural and indispensable for everyone to walk around with a gun. This article demolishes that argument – period. DOWNLOAD
—— Lester Adelson, “The gun and the sanctity of human life.” Why would I include an article published in 1980 in a list of recently-published works on gun violence? Because this is the best, most prescient and profoundly scholarly article ever published on gun violence and if you don’t read it, sorry, but your understanding of gun violence is sadly incomplete. DOWNLOAD
One caveat about my list. There are many other articles and contributions which I could mention so if you happen to be a gun-violence researcher please don’t feel offended if your article doesn’t appear here. We all need to educate ourselves on a continuing basis, and I am always willing to alert my readers to any and all research which deserves to see the brightest light of day. And while you are reading any or all of these articles, don’t forget something you must do on or before November 8th.