Tag Archives: gun violence statistics

Single Issue Voters on the Horizon

I’m old enough to have been around when Mothers Against Drunk Driving was founded on September 5, 1980.  (Actually, I’m old enough to have been around for lots of things except The F/lood)  I’m also aware of an historical point which might be of interest to current gun reform advocates.   One of the issues faced by the organization as it sought to reduce the number of vehicular accidents caused by impaired drivers was how to differentiate between (1) legislation to control drinking and driving; and (2) measures to control alcohol consumption. [PSU.edu pdf]  To exactly no one’s surprise, attempts to address the second issue faced opposition from the alcohol and “hospitality” sectors. When MADD sought to promote legislation to reduce the BAC to .08 the industries fought back saying these measures would unfairly punish “social drinkers.”  Fast forward to the gun law reform issues.

Insert “law abiding gun owners” for “social drinkers” and we can see the problems faced by reformers taking on the NRA/gun manufacturers.  In actuality there are multiple facets of the gun issue which present hurdles for reformers. However, there is much room for hope.  For starters, the youngsters participating in Walk Outs, and who will presumably be the leaders in March For Our Lives, have already put a face on the problems.

Statistics are useful, but too often insufficient to move public sentiment — we know that on an average day in the United States of America 96 people will be killed by guns; that about 13,000 people per year will die by firearm; and, sadly each day an average of 7 children and teens will be killed by a gun. [ETres] Broadcasters have contributed by keeping the photographs of the deceased on air after mass shootings, but other victims of gunfire are relegated to the obituary pages, to be forgotten almost before the funeral services are completed.  More silence comes as part of the reaction to the fact that 62% of gun deaths in this country are suicides. [ETres]

Further progress may hinge upon how reformers cope with the “social drinker” analogy.  A social drinker is a social drinker until he gets behind the wheel of a 4,000 pound sedan and hits another human being causing injury or death.  A law abiding gun owner is a person who owns firearms, until he pulls out the gun and shoots another human being — or beings.

For all the possible factors leading to an increase in public awareness of impaired driving, and a reduction of impaired driving from a 1973 rate of 36.1% to a 25.9% rate in 1986, [PSU.edu pdf] it isn’t too difficult to infer a correlation to MADD publicity and awareness campaigns, leading in turn to the enaction of stronger statutes to curb drunk driving in the 1980s.  Similarly, continued publicity of gun violence should lead to consideration and eventual enaction of laws to reduce the lethality of gun incidents.  What is needed is organizational structure to capture and extend the energy demonstrated by young people who are quite evidently fed up with being educated behind “secure” walls and being shot at — either in their schools or on their streets. There are several organizations already in place to accomplish this.  [Everytown, the Brady Campaign, Moms Demand Action, Giffords.Org, Giffords Law Center, and an umbrella group Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.] Unlike the original MADD efforts, the organizational structures are already in place.  This situation should present an advantage for gun law reform advocates.

One of the most impressive portions of the young people’s efforts is their focus on political action, specifically getting young people registered to vote.  For those not yet eligible to vote, students are encouraging other students to write and call their governmental representatives.  This activity is a proven way to get people involved and to keep them activated.  Student action in concert with the existing organizations’ efforts presents a strong start for reform efforts.

The strong start doesn’t mean there aren’t significant obstacles to effective reforms.  The first tactic of the NRA is nearly always a stall game.  While the clichéd line “It’s too early to talk about this…” has been swatted down by the Parkland, FL students, that doesn’t mean there won’t be suggestions to “study the problem via the good offices of a commission.”  Paralysis by analysis is a standard NRA tactic to avoid action.

The second tactic is diversion.  It really isn’t Guns, it’s mental illness, it’s violent video games, it’s some elusive factor which is the “root cause.”  The argument goes that if we don’t address the “root cause” then we will not really “solve the problem.”  The problem is simply that too many people have access to entirely too much firepower, and some of these people kill other people.

The third prominent tactic is the snail paced regulatory and subsequent litigation route. For example, instead of outlawing the sale of bump stocks the White House has opted to advise departmental creation of rules under the rubric current Federal legislation.  The development of rules is time consuming, and is often followed by even more time consuming litigation.  This shirt-tail cousin of paralysis by analysis is an effective way for politicians to posture in support of gun regulation without actually doing anything.

The kids have it right:  The only way to avoid paralysis by analysis, “root cause” distractions, and regulation/litigation is at the ballot box.  Candidates for public offices can ignore, dismiss, or diminish their appeals, but will do so at their electoral peril.

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Filed under Gun Issues, Politics

Blood Money and Nevada Politicians

blood money Indeed, it’s time to “politicize” the gun violence issue in this nation; and, it should be done in this election cycle.   The top “gun rights” advocacy groups in terms of money spent on candidates are: (1) The National Rifle Association, which spent $952,252 during the 2013-14 season; (2) Safari Club International, which spent $694,640 during the same period; (3) Gun Owners of America, $270,157; (4) National Shooting Sports Foundation, $169,250; (5) The Ohio Gun Collectors Association, $35,500; and, (6) The Dallas Safari Club, $9,250.  [OpenSecrets]  And now – Who has been collecting some of this money in Nevada?

Contributions from all cycles to date as reported by the Center for Responsive Politics show:

Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) $101,565

Representative Joe Heck (R-NV) $31,415

Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV) $25,765

Representative Cresent Hardy (R-NV) $1,000*

During his 2012 election campaign Senator Heller was presumably pleased to have five contributions from the Safari Club International totaling $6,000. [FEC]   FEC records show more recent money coming into the Cresent Hardy* (R-NV4) campaign from pro-gun sources: there was a $1,000 contribution from the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund on June 19, 2015, and a $2,000 contribution from Safari Club International on June 30, 2015. [FEC]

Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV2) collected $2,000 from the Safari Club International (6/22/15) thus far in the 2016-2016 season; he collected $2,500 from the National Rifle Association on 9/15/14, $1,000 from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (9/22/14), and $1,000 from Safari Club International on 6/21/13.  The gun lobby was generous to Representative Amodei in the 2011-2012 season as well, with three contributions (8/1/2011) (12/20/2011) (7/27/2012) totaling $4,000 from the National Rifle Association.  Then, he received four more contributions from Safari Club International for $1,000 (8/9/2011) another $1,000 (3/19/2012), a boost of $2,000 (2/4/2012) and yet another $1,000 late in the season (9/8/2012).

Counting

While the politicians were collecting contributions from the pro-gun organizations, the CDC reported 16,121 homicides in the US in 2013 of which 11,208 were attributable to firearms. [CDC] As of 2011, the CDC reported, there were 41,149 suicides in this country, of which 21,175 were attributable to firearms. [CDC]  Worse still, we’re not even sure exactly how many children we’re losing every year to gun violence. [WaPo] [NYT] As close as we can infer is that between 2007 and 2011 an average of 62 children under the age of 14 were accidentally shot and killed each year. This is probably, as the Post pointed out, an undercount. [ERorg.]  The politicians collect more contributions, and the count rises.

Counting is important because the gun violence argument is becoming entangled in the differentiation between causation and correlation.  Gun fetishists will be delighted to find that FactCheck is criticizing one of the President’s recent comments about gun regulation and death rates as not being one of causation. No one appears to be disputing the correlations.  What’s interesting is that the original comment, “states with the most gun laws tend to have the fewest gun deaths” doesn’t seem to imply a causal relationship (or even a near perfect positive correlation of .98)  Perhaps for the purists, he might have expressed it as: “There appears to be a correlation between the efforts of a state to enact and enforce gun safety legislation and a lower overall gun violence death rate.”

Additionally, as the FactChecker points out counting suicides and accidental gun deaths is problematic because we lack a standard reporting system, an issue which muddies the clarity of statistics on accidents involving children as described in the links above.  Accurate information (data collection as in “counting” as accurately as possible) would also allow us to treat gun violence as a public health issue.  [Gupta CNN]

Counting and Will Power

If we go by the numbers, none of us can avoid the No. 1 cause of death until we reach 44 years of age – the heart disease and cancer causation kicks in. Unintentional injury is the leading cause for those aged 1-44.  However, when we look at the second leading cause of death in those between the ages of 15-35 it’s suicide, and the third leading cause is homicide.  [CDC]  Surely, if we have these kinds of statistics before us we can observe a public health issue of the first water.

Consider for a moment: Tuberculosis, Pneumonia, and Gastrointestinal infections were leading causes of death in 1900; in 2010 the leading causes were heart disease and cancer. [I09]  We treated TB, Pneumonia, and gastrointestinal infections as public health problems, studied causes, promoted research to find preventative measures and cures, and made a political decision that we would address these three killers with the funding and resources to defeat them.  However, as long as the merchants of lethal weapons continue to pay off politicians, and dispute even the most common sense elements of a potential solution, and won’t even consider funding basic research … our public health problem will persist as a matter of ill-advised political policy.

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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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Filed under Economy, Gun Issues, Nevada economy, Nevada legislature, Nevada politics, public safety

The Price Tag Plus $32: The economic cost of guns in America

Guns $32.00 – according to the author of a NIJ study on gun fire casualties that’s the direct societal cost per gun in the United States.   When the costs for drunk driving and gun related injuries were compared in 1994 the drunk driving costs were characterized as substantially higher.  Now that has reversed.  In 1992 medical care for a fatal shooting averaged $14,500. By 2010 the number was $28,700. [USAT]  More recent figures put the annual cost to American society at $214 billion, or $693 per person. [LeadersEdge] Where does this number come from?

“…societal cost figure includes medical costs incurred from firearms violence and the lost earnings of the victims—either the survivors of a firearms injury or costs to loved ones left behind in case of a fatal shooting. And it includes an estimated $11.9 billion in costs to government for such things as Medicare and Medicaid payments to victims. It also includes $1.5 billion in medical and mental health treatment, public services, adjudication, sanctioning and productivity losses for the perpetrator.”  [LEdge]

On the other side of the ledger, the firearms industry supports about 120,310 jobs in “supplier and ancillary industries,” and the manufacture and sale of firearms generates $33.3 billion to the economy.  This would include $10.4 billion in wages, $4.6 billion in federal and state business taxes, $460 million in excise taxes, and about $2.1 billion in federal and state taxes paid by the firearms industry and its employees.  [LE NSSF]  In short, we’re losing about $180.7 billion on this deal?

Other elements not under discussion are the secondary effects of gun violence, such as the loss of real estate value in neighborhoods which experience high levels of gun fatalities and injuries.  Nor are we taking into economic consideration the unwillingness of commercial and manufacturing firms to expand or site operations in neighborhoods which have high gun violence numbers.

Every instance of a gun related accident or homicide adds to the economic costs of relatively unregulated firearms in American society.  The logic is fairly simple:

“We have supported research for more than 20 years to better understand the problems of gun violence, the risk factors of gun violence and the policies that can prevent it,” says Nina Vinik, the gun violence prevention program director for the Joyce Foundation in Chicago. “One thing consistent in the research over the decades is the finding that where guns are more available, more readily accessible, there is a corresponding increase in levels of gun violence and injuries, in homicides, in suicides and in accidents.” [LEdge]

Arguments about the United States being a “violent society” stray from the essential point – it’s not that we’re necessarily more criminally inclined, but that the easy availability of firearms tends to make our adventures with guns more lethal – and more expensive. [HarvardMag]

Another point, about which we probably ought to be having more conversation is that the proliferation of firearms in this country is costing us more than their economic value in the total economy.  Capitalism works – but only if the market decisions made are rational.

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A Little Insanity: Troll Time With Gun Enthusiasts!

Tin Foil Hat CautionThere’s an comment on yesterday’s post about the efficacy of gun safety legislation in the Nevada Legislature, but since the comment is so wonderfully exemplary of Gun Nuttery let’s give it the full treatment — what the heck, it’s Friday, let’s have some fun:

(1)Doesn’t matter lawsuits against the state are in progress right now against stupid liberals who think his sort of dumb legislation does anything to stop gun violence , (2) hello ” bozo who knows nothing about guns and is afraid of them”  (3) you idiots who live in Murder ,rape ,gang,carjacking ,central ,who have the strictest laws THAT DON’T WORK think restricting law abiding citizens and penalizing them does one thing to stop gun violence are deluted.  (4) Crooks don’t turn in their guns in your stupid buy backs,you only unarmed the public and crooks laugh at you better than thou’s. (5) They don’t BUY guns,they steal or buy stolen guns. (6) You stupid idios letthem out of jail on parole so the unarmed citizen gets killed in city’s like Chicago.,Wash DC,LA etc,and you want to pass that assinnty on to Nevada.”

Where to begin? (1) Actually, no it doesn’t matter if there is litigation in the offing testing the definitions and constitutionality of any legislation enacted by any legislative body.  Since the ruling in Marbury v. Madison in 1803, the judicial branch has retained the authority to determine the constitutionality of legislation; and, the notion that a court might declare a statute unconstitutional doesn’t arbitrarily mean the statute should not have been enacted.  The courts could just as easily decide the statute IS constitutional — witness the Affordable Care Act decision by the current Supreme Court.

Further, if the intent of legislation is to reduce the level of gun violence in this country, especially violence associated with felons, fugitives, juveniles, undocumented aliens, and the dangerously mentally ill, then it would stand to reason that making firearm purchases by individuals falling into these categories more restricted would alleviate the problem.  The trap in this argument is the requirement that a single piece of legislation must solve the entire problem or be declared “ineffective” and less than useless.  Statutes against bank robbery aren’t 100% effective, but we still frown on felonious behavior in these instances.

(2) No, as a gun owner, I am not afraid of firearms.  However, I do respect them.  I know that the gun is statistically 22 times more likely to be the agent of a homicide or suicide than it is to be used in self defense.  That’s why it’s locked up.  Additionally, there are these cold statistics:

“Firearms were used to kill more than two-thirds of spouse and ex-spouse homicide victims between 1990 and 2005. Domestic violence assaults involving a firearm are 12 times more likely to result in death than those involving other weapons or bodily force. Abused women are five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if the abuser owns a firearm.” [LCPGV]

Even in the absence of any domestic violence in this homestead, I’ve no desire to compound someone else’s drama by leaving a loaded firearm in an insecure place so a theft could end up being the opening act in a full blown tragedy.  That’s why the ammunition is secured separately from the firearm.

(3) Actually, I don’t live in Car-Jack Heights, nor do I reside in Murder Alley.  I conform to the general profile of gun owners — white, educated, rural, small town, American. [NJIS]  However, if I were a resident of one of the urban areas in this state, I’d still not be arming myself to the rafters.  While I do dearly love the scripted TV melodramas, I am also aware that the “murder rate” in Reno, Nevada is 0.06 per 1,000 residents; the “rape rate” in Reno, Nevada is 0.13 per 1,000 residents, [TNS]  and those statistics aren’t sufficiently elevated to make me do much more than be aware of my surroundings, and lock my vehicle.

The statistics for Las Vegas, Nevada (CSI not considered) are the same in the murder department, i.e. 6 per 1,000 residents, and the rape stats are 0.44 per 1,000.  [TNS] Again, these aren’t high enough to make me believe there is a rapist and murderer in all the shadows … much less that there’s someone out to make Las Vegas, Nevada a replication of Cabot Cove, Maine in the murder numbers.  The numbers are high enough to make me lock doors, but certainly not enough to make me want to bother with carrying a firearm.

By the way, I don’t think this is a “deluted” state of mind.  I trust you meant “deluded” but I’d also hasten to assure you that my sanity isn’t diluted by watching all those scripted TV shows.   There’s one more point in part 3 of the rant that deserves scrutiny — the “strict laws don’t work,” assertion.  Contra:

“We covered the fact that the likelihood of homicide increases with a gun in the home. It is true however that the majority of gun crime occurs with illegal guns, but that number, as established, speaks loudly to our weak national gun laws due to interstate gun trafficking. Guns become illegal when they are bought in an area with lax laws and sold in an area with tight laws on the black market. Even then, as the number of legal guns increases, so too does the likelihood of a gun falling into the wrong hands, as shown by the Sandy Hook shooting.” [HuffPo]

The New York Post, not exactly a bastion of liberal media and thinking, reports rather directly on the relationship between illegal gun trafficking and the law enforcement issues in states with restrictive measures in place on firearms:

“New York’s tough-as-nails gun laws aren’t doing much to stop illegal weapons purchased in other states from getting into criminal hands here, according to a federal analysis released yesterday. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives traced 8,793 guns seized in New York in 2011 and found that just 1,595 were bought in the state. The rest came from places with less restrictive gun laws — primarily Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida.” [NYP]

Thus, the assertion that strict gun laws in some areas are undermined by lax sales in others cuts both ways, as it could also be used to argue for more stringent restrictions nationwide to prevent the importation of illegal firearms into regions in which they are misused.

(4) True, most gun buy back programs end up with firearms people don’t want, not necessarily firearms criminals are willing to surrender.  However, that narrow point misses a larger one.  Buy back programs with their attendant publicity are an effective way to elevate  public awareness, and some neighborhoods have used the programs to attract more attention and resources for efforts that do work, like more overtime for police departments, or  protocols like  “focused intervention” policing. [USAT]  If the program makes a community more aware of gun violence problems, or a neighborhood more prone to support police operations — what’s the harm?

(5)Criminals don’t buy guns…” I think we addressed that above, i.e. what they also do is buy guns from gun traffickers.  We do have a “stolen gun” problem:  “More than half a million firearms are stolen each year in the United States and more than half of stolen firearms are handguns, many of which are subsequently sold illegally.” [ATF] However, the notion that only stolen guns are involved in street crime misses another set of numbers:

“The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) issued a comprehensive report in 2000 detailing firearms trafficking investigations involving more than 84,000 diverted firearms, finding that federally licensed firearms dealers were associated with the largest number of trafficked guns – over 40,000 – and concluded that the dealers’ “access to large numbers of firearms makes them a particular threat to public safety when they fail to comply with the law.”3

According to ATF, one percent of federally licensed firearms dealers are responsible for selling almost 60 percent of the guns that are found at crime scenes and traced to dealers.”  [LCPGV] (emphasis added)

Take the stolen firearm problem and add 1% of the federally licensed firearms dealers who are raking in revenue from selling 60% of the guns found at crime scenes and traced back to dealers, and we have a better picture of the overall problem.  This situation could substantiate a call for better statutes at the state and federal level than a concept supportive  of less restriction.

(6) Recidivism is a problem for our corrections institutions.  However, once more the statistics are insufficient incentive for me to demand full term incarceration, or to open my check book at the local gun dealer’s establishment.

“During 2007, a total of 1,180,469 persons on parole were at-risk of reincarceration.  This includes persons under parole supervision on January 1 or those entering parole during the year. Of these parolees, about 16% were returned to incarceration in 2007.” [BJS]

So, are these  felons out committing murders?  Rapes? That would be a general “no.”

“Released prisoners with the highest rearrest rates were robbers (70.2%), burglars (74.0%), larcenists (74.6%), motor vehicle thieves (78.8%), those in prison for possessing or selling stolen property (77.4%), and those in prison for possessing, using, or selling illegal weapons (70.2%).”  [BJS]

What about the rapists and murderers?  Within 3 years, 2.5% of released rapists were arrested for another rape, and 1.2% of those who had served time for homicide were arrested for homicide. [BJS]  That’s correct — 2.5% of the released rapists, and 1.2% of those who committed homicide.   Yet again, these statistics aren’t going to induce me to spend any more money on arms and ammunition.   It might be “assinnty” to believe given the relatively low crime rates in Nevada, and the tendency of gun traffickers to be recidivists, that we don’t need better controls over who purchases firearms in the Silver State.

When all is said and done, the assumption that “law-abiding citizens” should be so fearful of their environment that unlimited access to all manner of firearms by all manner of people is disturbing in itself.  In recent years I’ve enjoyed the hospitality of cities like Washington, D.C. and ridden the Metro all over town — without feeling as though I should have added a firearm to my accessories.  I’ve spent weeks in San Antonio, Atlanta, and New Orleans — all the heat I felt I needed was from the climate.  I’ve spent time in Denver, St. Louis,  and Cleveland, and no, there was no reason in any of those cities to feel insecure without a lethal weapon.   In short, the author of the comment has my sympathy for his evident paranoia about residing in this country, but I can’t empathize with the debilitating fear which underpins the assumptions.

I’d like my fellow citizens to enjoy our hospitality in Reno, and in Las Vegas, feeling secure that we run background checks on everyone for every sale of a firearm, that we don’t countenance carrying assault style rifles with large capacity clips into our movie theaters or public spaces, and that we believe in keeping firearms out of the hands of those who are dangerously mentally ill, or who might be felons and fugitives.

I’d be pleased to see the day when it dawns on most sentient human beings that the  proliferation of firearms only serves to make us less safe, and less able to “form a more perfect union, establish justice, … insure domestic tranquility.”   We might be getting there:

“Both the Pew survey and a new Washington Post/ABC News poll found that support for the defeated Manchin-Toomey measure, which would have expanded background checks to all gun show and online purchases, is also widespread. In the Pew survey, 73 percent said the Manchin-Toomey proposal should be passed if reintroduced, while 67 percent of respondents to the Post/ABC poll said the Senate did the wrong thing in rejecting the legislation.” [HuffPo]

*Now that we’ve dispensed with the trolling, there is a troll notification test which should  have been inserted before all the text in this post. Enjoy.

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Could we get a little protection here?

We’re Number Two!  Nevada ranks second in the home foreclosure race to the bottom; Florida maintains the national lead. Full Story – Las Vegas Sun.  The Realty Trac Map:

RealtyTracForeclosures

The national foreclosure rate is down, and perhaps it’s time to start saying “Thank You” to the state of California:

“The U.S. foreclosure landscape in January was profoundly altered by the effects of new legislation that took effect in California on the first of the year,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac in a press release.

“Dubbed the Homeowners Bill of Rights, this legislation extends many of the principles in the national mortgage settlement — including a prohibition on so-called dual tracking and requiring a single point of contact for borrowers facing foreclosure — to all mortgage servicers operating in California. …As a result, the downward foreclosure trend in California accelerated into hyper speed in January, decisively shifting the balance of power when it comes to the nation’s foreclosure activity.”  [Business Insider]

Eliminating dual tracking and requiring a single point of contact for mortgage service are good ideas which should be adopted nationwide.   The final rules issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau don’t completely prevent dual tracking (simultaneously pursuing foreclosure and loan modification) but they are a start.  [Bloomberg]

And, now we see another reason Republican members of the U.S. Senate, Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) included, are opposed to the confirmation of Richard Cordray as the CFPB, and are demanding that all rules propagated by the agency protect the profitability (safety and soundness) of the bankers.   How about we start protecting the “safety and soundness” of American (and Nevada) homeowners?

Speaking of protection.   Beware the War on Data.  One of the tools in the pro-gun manufacturers’ kit is the prohibition on data collection.  Michael Bender’s article for Bloomberg News, “Gun Lobby Helps Block Data Collection by Crimefighters,” is a must read.   A taste – one the infamous Tiahrt Amendment:

“His amendments stopped the ATF from requiring that gun dealers check their inventory for missing weapons and mandated the Federal Bureau of Investigation destroy background check results within 24 hours.”

How are anyone’s interests advanced by preventing the ATF from gathering information about missing weapons?   How is public safety advanced by having data collected destroyed within 24 hours?   But wait, there’s more:

“Since 1979, Congress has prevented ATF from keeping centralized gun-ownership records, according to the agency. Sales data instead are maintained by the country’s 58,900 federally licensed firearms dealers. When they go out of business, they’re required to send the paperwork to ATF, which stores it on microfilm and microfiche.”

So, we have no computerized data.  And if one component, the dealer or the manufacturer are no longer in business — no computerized data.  Imagine how much easier a job law enforcement might have tracking illegally obtained weapons IF we had a computerized system?  However, the NRA appears intent upon protecting the “rights” of the hysterical members of the  Fire On The Last Day Red Dawning Instant Militia of West Deer Breath County Camo Club, or the minions of some drug cartel than in assisting law enforcement with gun violence abatement.

Meanwhile KRNV reports:

” A new study says the number of people killed in Nevada by guns outpaced those who died in traffic accidents in 2009.  The study released Tuesday by the Washington, D.C.-based Violence Policy Center says Nevada is one of 10 states where guns deaths were greater than traffic deaths. The other states are Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Oregon, Utah, Virginia and Washington.

In Nevada, 406 gun deaths were reported in 2009, compared with 255 people who died in motor vehicle accidents. Nationally, there were 31,236 firearm deaths and 36,361 motor vehicle deaths in 2009.”

Here’s the Chart:

FirearmDeaths

Homeowners whether facing foreclosure issues or looking at the prospect that a member of the family is more likely to die by a bullet than in a Nevada traffic accident — could use a bit more protection.

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