Tag Archives: AB 148

Zombie Guns Blazing in NV Legislature

zombie guns 2

This is the kind of news Nevada can do without:

“A “campus carry” bill believed to be dead in the Senate will be amended into another Second Amendment measure on Friday, Assembly Judiciary Chairman Ira Hansen said Wednesday.

Hansen said that because the Senate Judiciary Committee won’t hear Assembly Bill 148 that would allow those with concealed weapons permits to carry their weapons on college campuses, it will be amended into a Senate bill on the deadline day for committee action on most bills.” [LVRJ]

The bills in question is SB 175 and SB 240.  The Guns Galore crowd, championed by Michele Fiore (R-NRA) and Ira Hansen (R-Ammostan), wants those with concealed carry permits to be able to pack “heat” on college campuses.  Little matter that others may find this uncomfortable or downright dangerous.  Happily, there are some restrictions in place on concealed carry permitting in this state – not that the Ammosexuals wouldn’t like to eliminate those eventually.

The Current Requirements

In Clark County those wanting a permit must the a Nevada resident of Clark County, or an out of state resident who has received firearms training in Clark County; 21 years of age, not prohibited from firearms ownership by state or federal law; and must successfully complete an approved firearms course in Clark County.  [LVMPD]

The requirements in Washoe County are essentially the same. A person must be at least 21, provide documentation of competence with a firearm, meet the standards set forth in NRS 202, have no DUIs in the preceding five years or record of “substance abuse.”  [Washoe pdf]

Campus Numbers

The University of Nevada campus in Reno as of the Fall of 2013 had 15,694 undergraduates, of whom 47%, or 7,454 were male, 8,240 were female.  The average age of a UNR undergraduate was — 21 years of age. [CP]  There were 23,090 undergraduates enrolled in UNLV, 12,824 female, 10,275 male.  The average undergraduate age at UNLV was reported as 18 years. 23% were aged 25 or older. [CP]

One obvious feature of these figures is that there are a significant number of young males on both major college campuses in this state.  We do know from the CDC* and other sources  that firearms and young men aren’t a particularly good mixture.  Pew Social Trends reported:

“Men (and boys) make up the vast majority (84% in 2010) of gun homicide victims. The gun homicide rates for both genders have declined by similar amounts since the mid-1990s, though the male rate is much higher—6.2 gun homicides per 100,000 people in 2010, compared with 1.1 for females.”

… and …

“Males are the vast majority of gun suicides (87% in 2010), and the suicide rate for males (11.2 deaths per 100,000 people) is more than seven times the female rate (1.5 deaths). The highest firearm suicide rate by age is among those ages 65 and older (10.6 per 100,000 people).”

Thus, what the ammosexual alliance is proposing is to place more firearms in a setting in which there are significant numbers of already vulnerable individuals in the setting.

Individual Tragedy and Economic Costs

Aside from the human tragedy there are economic factors to consider before advocating any further proliferation of firearms and the situations in which those guns can be allowed.

In December 2012, Bloomberg Business news reported that gun violence was costing the American economy some $174 billion.  Forbes magazine reported in 2013 that gun violence was costing each American about $564.

And, then there is the “market” argument, which the Minneapolis Post analyzed as follows:

“Treating gun violence as an externality assumes that weapons markets are legitimate and that we must live with the consequences.  However, certain aspects of this market may not be legitimate. Markets do not exist in a vacuum.  They are created and designed by people, and societies can decide to modify or restrict markets depending on its values and goals.

Debra Satz, a professor of philosophy at Stanford University, addresses this in her book “Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale: The Limits of Markets.” At the heart of her analysis is the concept of noxious markets, i.e. “markets that people find especially objectionable” and which should be curtailed or eliminated.

One important reason why societies deem some markets as noxious is that trade in these goods causes extreme harm to individuals and/or society.  Markets in assault rifles, large-capacity ammunition magazines and related items could be thought of this way. The damage caused by guns used to commit crimes is so great that we must regulate them and, in some cases, eliminate them.”

We know, for example that alcohol and tobacco products are often classified as “noxious markets.”  There are spill-over effects in society, in terms of public health costs, and other related expenses or losses.  Therefore, we regulate and use tax policy to curb the consumption and use of these items.  State legislatures are quick to add “sin taxes” to diminish the ‘noxious’ markets for some products, especially in the tobacco categories. However, they’re remarkably slow to consider taxing/regulating the use of guns and ammunition.  An amended SB 175 merely serves to advance a ‘noxious’ market, rather than curbing firearms proliferation which endangers young people – especially young men.

U.S. News and World Report was more blunt on this subject, when speaking of the economic costs of firearms and school security in America:

“However, the firearms industry has managed to avoid picking up the tab for its externalities. A recent proposal by Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association shows the size of the problem. After the Sandy Hook school shooting, the NRA proposed that the best solution to gun violence in school is to have more guns in school. They argued that every school should post an armed guard (or several) to stop would-be shooters. Let’s set aside the constitutional and practical considerations and just consider the economics of this for a moment: It would cost nearly $5 billion per year to put a trained, equipped, armed guard in each of America’s 132,000 K-12 schools. That calls for a fee—let’s call it the “Schools Security Fee”—of $500 to $750 for every new and used handgun purchased in the United States. The fee is roughly the cost of a typical good-quality new pistol! If imposed, it would double the price of handguns and cripple the firearm industry. Yet it’s ironic that many of the folks who claim to hate taxes and government see no problem in proposing a $5 billion expansion in government, which necessitates taxes to pay for it.”

Whether viewed in macro-terms such as in the classification of firearms as a ‘noxious’ market, or in micro-terms as in a discussion of school safety officers, the message is essentially similar.  The manufacturers of firearms and their Ammosexual Allies are arguing that lethal weapons do not constitute a ‘noxious’ market and therefore should not be taxed or regulated even if the economic costs run into the $174 billion range.

Hostage Taking

While we can have socially oriented or economically based arguments over firearms regulations it must be admitted that there is an emotional factor to consider.  The positions taken by the Nevada Firearms Coalition which calls for legislation to “enhance personal liberty,” perceives proliferation as a ‘beneficial’ market, and a positive social good.**  “Armed” with this emotional attachment to firearms and their retail sales, the Guns Anywhere advocates are perfectly willing to hold other, and better, legislation hostage in order to advance their cause. Witness:

“As I reported earlier this week, Assembly Members Michele Fiore (R-Las Vegas) & Ira Hansen (R-Sparks) are retaliating against Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson (R-Henderson) & Senate Judiciary Chair Greg Brower (R-Reno) for shelving their “Guns Everywhere” bill (AB 148) in Senate Judiciary. So they just amended SB 240, Roberson’s mental health & “voluntary background checks” bill, to include elimination of Clark County’s “Blue Card” handgun registry…”  [LTN]

Winston Churchill was right: “A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.”

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* Warning: Depending, of course, on your download speed this file can be very slow loading. (94.3 mb .zip format)

** See also: The 50 Caliber Institute.

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Spooks, Haunts, and other Scary Things in the Nevada Legislature

Nevada Legislature Scary Things

The GOP controlled Nevada Legislature is haunted. Specters and spooks dog the steps of the members of the Assembled Wisdom, wraiths point toward things of which we must be afraid, very afraid.

We must be afraid of voter impersonation fraud.  The fact that it hasn’t happened doesn’t mean that we ought not to writhe in terror at the prospect.  Speaking of ghosts of elections past, we have Sharron Angle to add her wail to the cries of alarm:

“Former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, who lost the 2010 U.S. Senate race to Harry Reid, testified for the bill, saying “we do have a voter impersonation problem across the country.”  Anderson asked if she has found examples of voter impersonation in Nevada in her investigations. Angle said no, but that there is “anomalous activity that goes on in Nevada elections that is not easily explained.” [LVRJ]

One might reasonably guess that “anomalous activity” is one of those terms which might be analogous to the Spectral Evidence allowed in the Salem Witch Trials?   However, we might just as well place this within the glossary of meaningless phrases, which while sounding erudite, mean almost nothing, such as “stocks are down on profit taking,” or “there’s lots of cash on the sidelines.” [Ritholtz] Or, such unverifiable and empty notions like “highway miles.”  Or, those gratuitous and equally meaningless phrases which appear in job opening announcements, “self starter,” “team player,” and “highly qualified.”

The point being is that bills like SB 169 (photo ID) are necessary to solve the Republican problem of not being able to win elections if lower income, non-white, young people, and the elderly are allowed to vote.

We must be very afraid of criminals.  Not only must we quake in alarm, according to the GOP Gun Club we must arm ourselves and await the day when we will be called upon to open fire on the evil-doers in our midst. Unfortunately, this serves to remind us that one person who tried this at the Las Vegas Wal-Mart ended up as a victim. [SFgate] No matter, by the lights of the Gun Club we must all be allowed to carry concealed weapons – anywhere – unless maybe not on school grounds.  (AB 148) 

As of 2013 there were 2,790,236 people in the state of Nevada.  There were 16,496 violent crimes reported.  We should put this in some perspective.  First, if we divide the number of violent crimes (victims) by the total population the result is 0.00591.  Shift the decimal to create a percentage and we have 0.59%. [TDC]  Is the likelihood of victimization in a violent crime in Nevada so high that all the dangers associated with carrying a concealed weapon worth the effort? Secondly, there were 163 murders, 1,090 rapes, 5,183 robberies, and 10,060 assaults in Nevada as of the 2013 reporting period.  [TDC]   The numbers don’t suggest a need for a proliferation of arms among ordinary citizens.

But but but… What if the criminals think there will be armed opposition to their nefarious endeavors! That will prevent them from carrying out their heinous designs! Really?  The armed robber already has his or her gun in position, ready to fire. The gun in my purse or holster is going to take a moment to get “into position.” Thus, the obvious outcome is that the robber gets the money, and the firearm.  Then there is the “collateral damage” consideration.  What if the “burglar” isn’t a criminal after all, but some family member who has lost a key?  In public spaces, how does Our Concealed Carry Hero determine if another Concealed Carry Hero is, or is not, a perpetrator of the shooting? The questions go on, but the bottom line is that in the fanciful world of the gun enthusiasts every hero can make practical decisions at 2 in the morning, make every shot count, and insure that every shot is aimed at and will hit the criminal.  It’s a scenario right out of the made for TV melodramas. Legislation should be crafted upon a foundation of facts and rationality, not the fevered imaginings of the frightened.

We must be afraid that someone somewhere is taking money away from us, and that every accumulation of government revenue is robbery, and every public service employee is unworthy.  Those comfortably ensconced in the upper 0.01% of income earners may very well be able to buy all the books they want (therefore there is no need for public libraries) or to spend a vacation on a private island or in a private resort (therefore there is no need for any public parks), and they may elect to spend money on private security, or pay for service firefighting, or pay the tolls on roads and highways, or send the kids to private schools.  When money is no object, other people’s money is little more than a object of attraction. 

Unfortunately, the upper 0.01% has been effective over the last three decades in convincing ordinary people earning $50,000 per year that a public school beginning teacher earning $37,000 is a Pig At The Public Trough.  The median wage of an employee of the State of Nevada is currently $46,590.  Hardly a figure, when agency heads are included, to describe an opulent living.   Yet, public employees are taking fire in this edition of the Legislature.

However, it’s not just the public sector employees who are drawing the attention of the Needy Greedy.   State Senator Joe Hardy (R-Boulder City) wants to repeal the state’s minimum wage.  Hardy’s SJR 6 (pdf) would repeal Nevada’s minimum wage provisions and let the legislature determine if an employer is providing health insurance if the cost is not more than 10% of the employee’s gross taxable income.  Here’s a thought – How about, instead of allowing more employers to pay less than $8.25 per hour, Nevada enacted an increase in the minimum wage? Period.

Want to see fewer people have to rely on housing subsidies to keep roofs over their heads? Raise the minimum wage.  Want to see fewer people have to resort to the SNAP programs? – raise the minimum wage. Want to see fewer individuals have to avail themselves of Medicaid assistance? Raise the minimum wage. 

For too many years we’ve been told the people (including the disabled and the elderly) aren’t working hard enough.  They should get more education (despite the costs and time involved), get more gumption (this in the face of a 5% multi-job rate), work more hours… take individual responsibility!  This is all lovely palaver from the heights, the concepts tend to disintegrate when applied in the real world.  The question could as easily be reversed. For example, the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, with sales and revenue reported as $14.58 billion in 2014, and net income of $2.84 billion, couldn’t spring for more than a paltry $8.25 per hour?  The question ought to be why can’t employers pay more than $10.10 per hour, or a living wage of $15.00?

In the real world most employers do pay more than the minimum already.  Minimum wage workers comprise about 4.7% of the total employed workforce.  The chart shows national trends for minimum wage workers:

Minimum Wage workers

“Leisure and Hospitality,” where have we seen that category before? L&H is the largest employer in the state, accounting for approximately 398,000 jobs earning an average annual wage of $31,600 (net of benefits.)  So, here we sit in a state in which most employees are engaged by a sector most likely to pay earnings at or below the federal minimum wage – and we can’t figure out that those who need housing or SNAP assistance might not fall into those categories if the wages were increased? So, let’s ask again: Why are Nevada employers unwilling to pay wages which would support their employees above the rate at which they are eligible for public assistance?

There are some things about which we should be legitimately concerned, those just don’t seem to have made it into the consciousness of the Legislature’s majority. Here are two examples:

Nevada has an income inequality problem.

“The states in which all income growth between 2009 and 2012 accrued to the top 1 percent include Delaware, Florida, Missouri, South Carolina, North Carolina, Connecticut, Washington, Louisiana, California, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Massachusetts, Colorado, New York, Rhode Island, and Nevada.” [EPI] (emphasis added)

This situation is economically unsustainable.  As middle income and lower income earners tighten their belts and shave their budgets, there are simply not enough high income earners to create the demand for goods and services over time.

Nevada has infrastructure issues.  Only in the categories of waste water and solid waste does the state of Nevada get a ‘good’ grade, a B, from the ASCE.  We seem to be handling the excremental elements of our state rather better than our school buildings and our dams.

If the Legislature can move past Guns Galore!, Labor Bashing, and Vote Suppressing, we might want to address these and other pressing issues in the Silver State.

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Filed under Crime Rates, Gun Issues, Nevada economy, Nevada legislature, Nevada politics, Vote Suppression, Voting

NRA Promotion Day: AB 148 in the Nevada Assembly Judiciary Committee

 AB 148 The Nevada Assembly’s Committee on the Judiciary will take testimony on the NRA Dream Bill, AB 148 – guns on campus – tomorrow, and the University of Nevada system isn’t pleased.   The University system’s points should be taken seriously: 1. Campus sexual and other assaults are discrete problems, and should be addressed as such; 2. Campuses are faced with both illegal drug and alcohol use, and the addition of guns simple complicates matters; 3. The proposal removes critical administrative powers and responsibilities from local hands; 4. The prevalence of firearms on a campus makes recruiting both students and faculty more difficult; 5. In an academic atmosphere which invites debate, guns add an element of insecurity should an academic argument escalate; 6. The age of college student population needs to be taken into consideration since many are below the age required to secure a concealed carry permit.

Prevention or Promotion?

We might juxtapose these elements against the NRA’s ambitious claim that opponents of concealed carry allowance on college campuses are “OK with sexual assaults that could supposedly be prevented by guns.” [MMA]

No one is “OK with sexual assaults,” however the NRA proposal requires adopting the idea that the assaults are functions of the “burglar coming in through the window” scenario.  This is easy to refute:

“Most rapes, especially among college students, are acquaintance rapes and defy the burglar-coming-in-the-window fantasy of self defense that gun advocates like to invoke. “If you have a rape situation, usually it starts with some sort of consensual behavior, and by the time it switches to nonconsensual, it would be nearly impossible to run for a gun,” John D. Foubert, anti-rape activist and Oklahoma State University told the New York Times. That’s a best case scenario. There’s also a concern that allowing guns on campus would make it easier for rapists to rape: Get a girl to your room, start messing around, and when you want to attack, show her the gun you’re now allowed to have on campus.” [Slate]  

In short, the presence of firearms might just as easily make the situation less safe for the victim if guns are allowed on campus with little restriction.  At this point we need to note another point made by the University system: 30% of those on campuses are under 21 years of age. [RGJ]  There’s more to this point that merely the technical statutory language defining an adult.

The Maturation Factor

The advocates of campus carry are ignoring a point about that 30% which the parents would recognize immediately – adolescent brains are different, under construction if you will.  The NIH explains:

“The research has turned up some surprises, among them the discovery of striking changes taking place during the teen years. These findings have altered long-held assumptions about the timing of brain maturation. In key ways, the brain doesn’t look like that of an adult until the early 20s.

An understanding of how the brain of an adolescent is changing may help explain a puzzling contradiction of adolescence: young people at this age are close to a lifelong peak of physical health, strength, and mental capacity, and yet, for some, this can be a hazardous age. Mortality rates jump between early and late adolescence. Rates of death by injury between ages 15 to 19 are about six times that of the rate between ages 10 and 14. Crime rates are highest among young males and rates of alcohol abuse are high relative to other ages. Even though most adolescents come through this transitional age well, it’s important to understand the risk factors for behavior that can have serious consequences.”

There’s research explaining why this period is so “hazardous,” —

“One interpretation of all these findings is that in teens, the parts of the brain involved in emotional responses are fully online, or even more active than in adults, while the parts of the brain involved in keeping emotional, impulsive responses in check are still reaching maturity. Such a changing balance might provide clues to a youthful appetite for novelty, and a tendency to act on impulse—without regard for risk.”  [NIH]

There’s a reason we proscribe some activities for adolescents – not because we don’t love or respect them, but because we understand that they are human beings whose brains are still in the maturation process, and that until that maturation takes place they are impulsive, emotional, and often incomprehensible.  Bless their hearts, they are walking Risk Factors. AB 148 asks us to place our faith in armed freshmen for campus security?

Perilous Assumptions

Heretofore, we’ve concluded that someone other than campus security or police who was armed on campus was up to no good — the “bad guy,” and campus security were trained accordingly.  There have been enough tragic “accidents” of late when police officers mistook a young person playing with a gun for an actual threat.  By allowing “campus carry” do we risk more incidents in which someone reports a “person with a gun” and security personnel act out their training?  Does not AB 148 invite more such incidents?

We also assume that the possession of a firearm means it is intended to be used on “the other,” the villain of the piece, however all too often the combination of adolescent immaturity and psychological conflict leads to the opposite pole.  The Harvard School of Public Health reports that those adolescents who died by suicide were more likely to live in homes with guns. Further, 85% of suicide attempts with a firearm are fatal;  the option is fast and irreversible.  By contrast, suffocation was 69% lethal, jumping was 31% fatal, and poisonings/overdoses were 2% fatal. [HSPH]

Emory University adds another note of caution.  Their research indicates that one in ten college students has made a plan for suicide. Suicidal ideation and suicide attempts are higher among young adults aged 18-25 years than for those over 26. And, lifetime thoughts of suicide attempts are reported to occur among 5% of graduate students and 18% of undergraduates.  With these statistics from HSPH and Emory University in mind, any proposal for the proliferation of guns on campus should be tempered by consideration of how those firearms might ultimately be used. 

We might want to move a step further, and look at the implications of the ready access to guns, as was done in a meta-analysis by UCSF:

“Researchers found striking gender differences in the data. When firearms were accessible, men were nearly four times more likely to commit suicide than when firearms were not accessible, while women were almost three times more likely to be victims of homicide.”

Thus, not only does the presence of firearms make male suicide attempts more lethal, but it also increased the incidence of female homicides. Thus much for the argument that guns will make our “hot little girls” more safe?  The point of “adult supervision” is to keep young people safe – not to promote the means by which they could harm themselves or be harmed by others. 

There are both institutional and personal reasons to prevent the proliferation of firearms on campuses.  Colleges and universities are not safer for the proliferation, nor are their faculties and students. Only in the perfervid imaginations of those deluded into believing that gun possession equates to personal security do the research reports and statistics not matter.   All lives matter, which is why AB 148 needs to be filed away as far from the Assembly floor as possible.

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One Cost Benefit Analysis the Right Doesn’t Want to See: Gun Injury and Fatality Costs

Guns Costs

As of 2013, Nevada retained its position as a state with a higher than the national average ranking in the death by firearm category. [vpc] The number was 14.16 per 100,000.  The correlations are almost straight-forward, those states with lax gun laws and high rates of gun ownership have higher levels of per capita deaths caused by firearms.  However, this dismal ranking (15th) is not sufficiently lax to give comfort to the gun proliferation movement (read: NRA) and its allies in the Nevada Legislature. [LVRJ]

Perhaps it’s about time for an application of the popular “cost-benefit” analysis to Nevada’s gun laws?  For example, we have AB 148 which would allow a person to carry a firearm in airports (non-secure areas), schools, and day care centers.  And, IF there is money available a local sheriff may offer firearm safety classes pertaining to the use of guns in an “educational environment.”   There’s SB 175, which was initially drafted to prevent domestic abusers from retaining their firearms while protection orders were in place. The bill is now laden with reciprocity provisions, and an expansion of ‘stand your ground,’ and fails to adequately address the issue of victims of domestic violence.  But, the proliferators like it.

These bills, and the handful of other measures on offer in the Nevada Legislature should take into consideration what gun deaths and injuries actually COST.

The national cost has been estimated:

“Each injury caused by a firearm sets in motion a prolonged series of events. There’s a car-ride to the emergency room…or the morgue. An officer investigates. A jury perhaps deliberates. A judge presides.

This chain adds up. To the sum of $564 per American. All told, firearm injuries cost the United States more than $174 billion in 2010, according to new data from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation. Most of that expense came from deaths; fatalities accounted for $153.3 billion.” [Forbes]

As we consider a cost-benefit analysis for bills which seek to soften Nevada’s gun regulations there are some factors which must be included.  Opponents of common sense gun regulations attacked the study, and accused media outlets which gave space and time for it as “hyping” the anti-gun report. However, that still doesn’t mean we ought not consider both the governmental and person costs of gun violence.  For example, in the governmental category we ought to include costs associated with police activities, and  the associated costs for the criminal justice system.  In economic terms we need to consider the loss of work/productivity, medical care (both physical and mental)  and associated costs such as emergency transport, insurance claims processing, and the loss of income for the family of the victim. [see PIRE pdf]

In short, any legislation which makes the purchase of firearms easier, and seeks to proliferate the number of firearms in the state, or increases the likelihood of a gun being used in public spaces,  should be analyzed in terms of its potential costs to the taxpayers and businesses of the state.

For every gun fatality in the state there is a police call. For every police call there is “officer(s) time,” vehicle fuel, vehicle mileage depreciation, and the attendant costs of emergency medical services including their personnel time, management, vehicle fuel and use, and supply expenses.  Every time the legislature makes it more likely a gun injury or fatality may occur the tax payers are expected to pick up the tab for additional calls.

For every gun fatality there is a trip to the morgue, the autopsy, the report, and the assessment of criminality.  Which means, of course, that there are expenses involved for the transportation involved, the supplies and equipment, the production of the report, and personnel costs.  Again, every time the legislature makes it more likely there will be a fatality – the tax payer is on the hook for the costs.

For every gun fatality there are economic costs.  The most obvious is the loss of the victim’s income.  That is money the family cannot spend on housing, food, transportation, clothing, and other basics in the local economy.  What we might not think of quite so often are costs to the employer.  For example, the individual’s productivity, often associated with years of experience and training, is lost to the business owner.  The business owner is now required to shell out the costs of recruiting a replacement, and the costs of training a new employee.   In the interim, work schedules have to be adjusted, shifts expanded, over-time to cover shifts paid out, and all the other expensive inconveniences which accrue to the employee replacement process.  The cost of training alone should give some of the members of the legislature pause:

“The costs to replace an employee vary by their earning level, so training costs also vary. The Sasha Corporation averaged the results of 15 studies that determined average costs to replace an $8 per hour employee, determining an average cost of $9,444.47 per turnover. Even when the 33 percent of estimates with the highest prices were removed from calculations, replacement costs were $5,505.80 per turnover. Chartcourse estimates it costs $40,000 on average to replace a nurse, while technology companies can run up replacement costs of more than $125,000 per vacancy.” [HBC]

If the average cost to replace a nearly minimum wage employee ranges from $5,050 to $9,500 any action on the part of the legislature to make a replacement necessary because of a gun related fatality or disabling injury should be taken into consideration.  Those who consider themselves champions of small business should be especially careful about any legislation which would pass these kinds of costs on to their constituents. 

We seem to be happy to require “cost-benefit” analysis for regulations pertaining to clean air and water – why not apply the analysis to regulations which make guns more available to more people?  The numbers support this:

“People of all age groups are significantly more likely to die from unintentional firearm injuries when they live in states with more guns, relative to states with fewer guns. On average, states with the highest gun levels had nine times the rate of unintentional firearms deaths compared to states with the lowest gun levels.” [LCPGV]

If the legislature wants to make guns easier to procure and more conveniently at hand, then it behooves them to apply some thought to the costs of intentional and unintentional fatalities and disabling injuries in economic terms.  

The Proliferation Lobby asserts that more ‘concealed carry guns’ mean safer communities.  By extension, we might assume this means there will be fewer gun fatalities?  However, if we look at the numbers for the status of concealed carry individuals involved in fatal shootings the numbers aren’t supportive of the argument from 2003 to the present:

“…544 incidents in 36 states and the District of Columbia resulting in 722 deaths. In 84 percent of the incidents (455) the concealed carry killer committed suicide (218), has already been convicted (177), perpetrated a murder-suicide (44), or was killed in the incident (16). Of the 69 cases still pending, the vast majority (60) of concealed carry killers have been charged with criminal homicide, four were deemed incompetent to stand trial, and five incidents are still under investigation. An additional 20 incidents were fatal unintentional shootings involving the gun of the concealed handgun permit holder. At least 17 of the victims were law enforcement officers. Twenty-eight of the incidents were mass shootings, resulting in the deaths of 136 victims.” [vpc]

A cost benefit analysis should incorporate the expenses involved in the suicides of concealed carry permit holders, the costs of murder-suicides, and the costs associated with police involvement in both intentional and unintentional shootings.

Let’s review.  More guns equates to more fatalities.  More fatalities bring with them costs both to local and state government agencies and to the local economy.  Merely because an individual has a concealed carry permit doesn’t mean the individual won’t be involved in an intentional or unintentional tragedy – with associated expenses.   Ergo, it is incumbent on a state legislature to attend to the governmental and economic costs of gun proliferation and associated fatalities and disabling injuries.

Since the costs are significant, there’s an argument to be made that before any legislation which seeks to proliferate the acquisition or availability of firearms is considered a good old fashioned cost benefit analysis needs to be done.

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