Gun research: facts instead of anecdotes

Nieuws | de redactie
14 januari 2013 | The U.S. gun control debate finally turns ‘evidence based’ at Johns Hopkins University. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is the chief driver behind the impressive event.

‘Smarter gun regulation’ is indispensable and possible said Mayor Bloomberg at the opening of the conference on tightening gun policy in the U.S. “The rate of gun related violence in the U.S. is twenty times higher than in other high income nations. This is not a constitutional question, but a question of political courage”, said Bloomberg. “The Supreme Court  has stated that reasonable regulation concerning gun control is consistent with the second amendment.”

Matthew Miller, deputy director of Harvard Injury Control Research Center, continued with some startling figures. “For Americans under 40, more die from gun violence than from any disease. What we find is where there are more guns, there are more deaths. We are not more violent than people in other countries, but when we get violent, we kill.”

Significant loopholes 

“The burden of gun violence on American society is substantial, whether measured in years of productive life lost, disability, fear, or economic costs. The toll is unprecedented among high-income nations”, a recent report by researchers of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research states.

“Weaknesses in current gun laws contribute to this burden by establishing low standards for legal gun ownership and significant loopholes in policies designed to keep guns from prohibited persons.”

Bypassing the substantial lobby

Researchers from Johns Hopkins conclude that a large majority of the general public, including gun owners, favor remedying many current weaknesses in current gun laws.

“There are real political hurdles to enacting new gun control laws, and the power of the gun lobby is substantial. But politicians who want to correct flaws in our current laws, which enable dangerous people to get guns, could do so knowing that there is broad support for those policies, the reforms are constitutional, and the policies would enhance public safety.”

Away with large capacity firearms

The report researchers at Johns Hopkins examined policies and initiatives for reducing gun violence in the U.S. by reforming current gun policies. The report, a synthesis of prior research and analysis conducted by researchers with the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, includes the following key findings:

  • “Easy access to firearms with large-capacity magazines facilitates higher casualties in mass shootings.
  • “Right-to-carry” gun laws do not reduce violent crime.
  • Prohibiting high-risk groups from having guns–criminals, perpetrators of domestic violence, youths under age 21, substance abusers, and those with severe mental illnesses–and closing loopholes that enable them to have guns are integral and politically feasible steps to reduce gun violence.

homicide offenders per age group

The Summit on Reducing Gun Violence in America will end Tuesday January 15 with a set of evidence based recommendations on specific federal gun policy action. The conference can be followed on webstream.

Pioneering in ‘gun research’ 

The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research is dedicated to reducing gun-related injuries and deaths through the application of strong research methods and public health principles. Its faculty have pioneered innovative strategies for reducing gun violence, and achieved a national reputation for high-quality, policy-relevant research. 

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