Another study published by JAMA Intern Med. discussed the effect of Florida’s stand-your-ground law.
The studies were widely reported, including in Popular Science, which took a somewhat slanted approach:
“In this week’s obvious news, laws that allow people to kill other people with guns have led to more people killing other people with guns. According to two new research papers, stricter firearm laws are associated with fewer firearm homicides, and the implementation of Florida’s stand-your-ground law was associated with increased firearm homicides.” (Emphasis mine)
Wow. I’m astounded by this statement and would like to know where in the United States the laws allow people to kill other people with guns.
Getting back to the study, doctors and scientists from Harvard Medical School, Boston Children's Hospital and Texas Children's Hospital in Houston evaluated peer-reviewed articles from 1970 to 2016.
Thus this study is not actually new research. In fact, it is simply an analysis of old research. JAMA did not provide a public text listing the research examined. I, for one, would like to know whether some of the data came from agenda-based organizations, agencies, or researchers.
The stated objective was: “To evaluate the association between firearm laws and preventing firearm homicides in the United States.” Yet the researchers intermingled the terms “injury” and “homicide,” saying, “Firearm homicide is a leading cause of injury death in the United States …”
FYI, the Centers for Disease Control publishes mortality statistics, with the most recent being for 2014:
- All Injury Deaths per 100,000 population: 62.6
- All Poisoning Deaths per 100,000 population: 15.4
- All Motor Vehicle Traffic Deaths per 100,000 population: 10.7
- All Firearm Deaths (injuries plus homicides) per 100,000 population: 10.6
- All Firearm Deaths from Homicides per 100,000 population: 3.4.
The laws examined in the JAMA study were in five categories:
- Curbing gun trafficking
- Strengthening background checks
- Improving child safety
- Banning military-style assault [sic] weapons
- Restricting firearms in public places and leniency in carrying guns
(Yes, I know that there is no such thing as an assault weapon, but apparently either the docs did not know or did not care. But more later on this single point!)
The study concluded: “The strength of firearm legislation in general, and laws related to strengthening background checks and permit-to-purchase in particular, is associated with decreased firearm homicide rates.” Again, it is not clear whether accidental firearm injuries were included in the analysis.
There is little doubt that the background checking system is highly flawed and many proposals to “improve” gun control focus on this aspect. One key problem has been in the reporting chain of local agencies providing information to the FBI NICS. This is one of those enforce-existing-laws issues.
Another “problem” has been the so-called “gun show loophole” allowing sellers without Federal Firearms Licenses may provide cash-and-carry service without record-keeping. I’m not going into this now, but I would like to note that some states require an FFL dealer to be involved in ALL private gun sales and conduct the NICS check. This requirement could quickly be converted into a registration database if the FBI was not required – as it is now – to purge data.
As for a permit to purchase a firearm, the study did not specify whether this applied to just handgun sales or to all gun sales. Chicago, for example, requires a permit and yet has an out-of-control gun violence problem. Chicago also has universal gun registration.
The study also concluded, “Specific laws directed at firearm trafficking, improving child safety, or the banning of military-style assault weapons were not associated with changes in firearm homicide rates. The evidence for laws restricting guns in public places and leniency in gun carrying was mixed.”
Please allow me to repeat, for emphasis, “ … THE BANNING OF MILITARY-STYLE ASSAULT [sic] WEAPONS WERE [was] NOT ASSOCIATED WITH CHANGES IN FIREARM HOMICIDE RATES.”
Any lawmaker still inclined toward a ban please take note.
I’m disappointed, but not surprised, that it is hard to legislate child safety. Gatling Gun Rescue(tm) exists to help remove the threat posed by improperly-stored firearms that are no longer wanted or properly maintained. PLEASE contact a relative or friend who is familiar with guns and willing to assume the responsibility of ownership. Otherwise, we will be glad to help.
Finally, I realize that federal funding is not available for firearms studies. But, if this study is any indication, I see no harm in collecting incident data (but not names and serial numbers!)
- Dr. Gatling
Lee LK, Fleegler EW, Farrell C, Avakame E, Srinivasan S, Hemenway D, Monuteaux MC. Firearm Laws and Firearm HomicidesA Systematic Review. JAMA Intern Med. Published online November 14, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.7051