Go Back  British Expats > General > The Lounge
Reload this Page >

Analysis of US gun violence

Analysis of US gun violence

Old Dec 23rd 2012, 1:46 am
  #1  
Forum Regular
Thread Starter
 
HighCountry's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2012
Location: Colorado
Posts: 154
HighCountry will become famous soon enoughHighCountry will become famous soon enough
Default Analysis of US gun violence

Since I've been in the US, I've known people on both sides of the emotive gun control debate. I take neither of the extreme stances. I'm familiar with firearms and I've met a few people who have no business owning such a weapon.

I know there are people here with a strong dislike for firearms, but a UK-style firearms ban is simply not going to happen here. It is not my intention to debate (I don't feel like I have a dog in this fight), but simply to present a brief, non-partisan, emotion-free analysis of the situation:

Since the CT shootings, at least 130 people have been killed by guns in the US. There are 9 guns for every 10 people in this country, and a gun-related homicide rate close to 3.0 per 100,000 people. Meanwhile, in Switzerland there are around 4 guns for every 10 people (4th highest) but a gun-related homicide rate close to 0.25 per 100,000 people.

Based on this information, it would seem that there is not necessarily a direct relationship between the number of guns and gun violence. Clearly there is an important difference between Switzerland and the US, and we would do well to determine what that might be.

The vast majority of firearms owners in the US are law-abiding, responsible people. Most murders and massacres occur because criminals or mentally ill people gain access to weapons. This should be the focus of discussions regarding future firearms legislation.

I have been unable to find non-partisan figures showing any reduction in gun violence after the Assault Weapons Ban. This legislation targeted features such as bayonet lugs and pistol grips - mainly cosmetic features. I mention this because the return of the same law will do little to keep people safe. It takes less than 3 seconds to change a magazine. Capacity restrictions again do little to keep the average person safe. In an exchange of fire with law enforcement, they may be able to take advantage of those 3 seconds, but the average person will not.

The armed guards idea is fatally flawed. An armed guard was present during the Columbine shootings. Should we place armed guards at every church, post office, theater and mall? What would that say about our society?

Finally, we need to look at all causes of gun violence. The spate of post office shootings was found to be due to terrible work environments that caused several employees to snap. Charles Whitman (the UT shooter) tried (unsuccessfully) to get help from a doctor. Lanza's mother was trying to have her son forcibly committed to a psychiatric facility. These are just some causal factors in spree killings. There are many other causes of single homicides that should be studied. Gun legislation alone will not solve this problem.
HighCountry is offline  
Old Dec 23rd 2012, 2:08 am
  #2  
Lt Col (Retd)
 
Pulaski's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2001
Location: Dixie, ex UK
Posts: 48,603
Pulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Analysis of US gun violence

Originally Posted by HighCountry View Post
..... Gun legislation alone will not solve this problem.


If it would, gun violence would have already been eliminated in the UK, and that is clearly not the case.
Pulaski is offline  
Old Dec 23rd 2012, 2:17 am
  #3  
Bloody Yank
 
Joined: Oct 2005
Location: USA! USA!
Posts: 4,186
RoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Analysis of US gun violence

Switzerland is a statistical outlier. Using exceptions to prove the rule doesn't prove anything, aside from the fact that exceptions occur on occasion.

In any case, Switzerland requires gun owners to obtain an ownership permit from the canton. Since the country has mandatory militia service, that provides the canton governments with an opportunity to make sure that lunatics don't get permits, which reduces the odds that they'll get guns. And gun ownership is more closely tied to a sense of duty to country; some foreigners will be denied a permit accordingly.

We don't really have any of this. It's easy for loonies to slip through the system, and the US gun culture is more individualistic than it is duty bound. We have sectors of massive poverty and gangs, and perhaps more importantly, many individuals who don't treat gun ownership as a component of a broader social contract. The every-man-for-himself ethic doesn't work well when the rugged individualist decides that he's going to unload his clip for his own personal benefit.
RoadWarriorFromLP is offline  
Old Dec 23rd 2012, 2:31 am
  #4  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,847
HarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond reputeHarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond reputeHarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond reputeHarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond reputeHarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond reputeHarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond reputeHarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond reputeHarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond reputeHarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond reputeHarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond reputeHarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Analysis of US gun violence

Originally Posted by RoadWarriorFromLP View Post
Switzerland is a statistical outlier. Using exceptions to prove the rule doesn't prove anything, aside from the fact that exceptions occur on occasion.

In any case, Switzerland requires gun owners to obtain an ownership permit from the canton. Since the country has mandatory militia service, that provides the canton governments with an opportunity to make sure that lunatics don't get permits, which reduces the odds that they'll get guns. And gun ownership is more closely tied to a sense of duty to country; some foreigners will be denied a permit accordingly.

We don't really have any of this. It's easy for loonies to slip through the system, and the US gun culture is more individualistic than it is duty bound. We have sectors of massive poverty and gangs, and perhaps more importantly, many individuals who don't treat gun ownership as a component of a broader social contract. The every-man-for-himself ethic doesn't work well when the rugged individualist decides that he's going to unload his clip for his own personal benefit.

Utter horse pooh...

Citing any data point as a statistical outlier and therefore unimportant or insignificant for the kind of debate we're having is the kind of piss poor critical thinking that has this debate, the fiscal cliff, abortion rights, prayer in schools and many other controversial matters effectively stalled in a bad state.

Because a country has a relatively high level of gun ownership AND low incidents of gun death is an enormously big flag that says in any language you care to name, that here is a data point from which we might learn something, no master how small, that moves us in the required direction.

It's tough enough to make progress without people discarding possibilities because it's too far away from the current shitty state of things...

Well, HELLO!? Aren't we trying to get as far away from the current situation as possible? JHC....

Counting to 10 and taking a deep breath..... And...

You state several reasons why the Swiss situation is different... Well, perhaps if we got a little closer to replicating some of these aspects here in the US, even if it took 10 years, wouldn't that be something? Sure, it might not work, but then again, IT MIGHT... We won't know if we don't try, and we won't try if people keep rejecting any suggestions other than ban all weapons or arm the [email protected] out of teachers...
HarryTheSpider is offline  
Old Dec 23rd 2012, 2:35 am
  #5  
Bloody Yank
 
Joined: Oct 2005
Location: USA! USA!
Posts: 4,186
RoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Analysis of US gun violence

In that case, let's institute a universal draft that allows us to regularly monitor every male of prime killing age, and deport or keep out anyone who can't fit into our newly invented monoculture and its sense of collective duty.

Yeah, that sounds easy.
RoadWarriorFromLP is offline  
Old Dec 23rd 2012, 3:01 am
  #6  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,847
HarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond reputeHarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond reputeHarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond reputeHarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond reputeHarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond reputeHarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond reputeHarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond reputeHarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond reputeHarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond reputeHarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond reputeHarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Analysis of US gun violence

Originally Posted by RoadWarriorFromLP View Post
In that case, let's institute a universal draft that allows us to regularly monitor every male of prime killing age, and deport or keep out anyone who can't fit into our newly invented monoculture and its sense of collective duty.

Yeah, that sounds easy.
Whilst I wouldn't want to see the US become too much like Switzerland...

Now you're going from one extreme to the other...

If you (or anybody else for that matter) were to suggest something just a little closer to this, but much nearer to the current situation, what could that look like? What would have to happen, and/or stop happening, what would have to be got right, to implement this suggestion? Maybe that could be a place to start?
HarryTheSpider is offline  
Old Dec 23rd 2012, 3:09 am
  #7  
Bloody Yank
 
Joined: Oct 2005
Location: USA! USA!
Posts: 4,186
RoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Analysis of US gun violence

Originally Posted by HarryTheSpider View Post
Now you're going from one extreme to the other...

If you (or anybody else for that matter) were to suggest something just a little closer to this, but much nearer to the current situation, what could that look like? What would have to happen, and/or stop happening, what would have to be got right, to implement this suggestion? Maybe that could be a place to start?
The lesson to be learned from Switzerland is that it's far too removed from American culture to be duplicated in the US. We aren't like them, and they aren't like us.

The US will have to go its own way on this issue. Copying the rest of the western Europeans with their top-down gun prohibitions won't work, either, as we'll never stand for it.

For gun control to work in the US, a clear majority of Americans will have to want it, or at least tolerate it. That is going to require a combination of legislation and a change in attitude, combined with a conspicuous effort to remove the bulk of guns and gangs from the streets so that people can feel a bit safer. The Australian assault weapons ban and MADD's campaign to stigmatize drunk driving could serve as case studies for how to do it here.
RoadWarriorFromLP is offline  
Old Dec 23rd 2012, 3:29 am
  #8  
Some Where in the Desert
 
Joined: Jul 2006
Location: AZ
Posts: 247
AZ_Alba is a glorious beacon of lightAZ_Alba is a glorious beacon of lightAZ_Alba is a glorious beacon of lightAZ_Alba is a glorious beacon of lightAZ_Alba is a glorious beacon of lightAZ_Alba is a glorious beacon of lightAZ_Alba is a glorious beacon of lightAZ_Alba is a glorious beacon of lightAZ_Alba is a glorious beacon of lightAZ_Alba is a glorious beacon of lightAZ_Alba is a glorious beacon of light
Default Re: Analysis of US gun violence

Originally Posted by RoadWarriorFromLP View Post
The lesson to be learned from Switzerland is that it's far too removed from American culture to be duplicated in the US. We aren't like them, and they aren't like us.

The US will have to go its own way on this issue. Copying the rest of the western Europeans with their top-down gun prohibitions won't work, either, as we'll never stand for it.

For gun control to work in the US, a clear majority of Americans will have to want it, or at least tolerate it. That is going to require a combination of legislation and a change in attitude, combined with a conspicuous effort to remove the bulk of guns and gangs from the streets so that people can feel a bit safer. The Australian assault weapons ban and MADD's campaign to stigmatize drunk driving could serve as case studies for how to do it here.
The Swiss may different we can still learn from them.

1. People should be registered to own weapons and well as requiring training in their use.

2. Allowing people with mental health issues is not a good idea.

3. How many Swiss own assault weapons?

Why would the average American need an assault rifle?
If you want a weapon for self defense it would normally be a pistol which would not be shooting high velocity rounds.
If you say it is for hunting what is wrong a normal hunting rifle, it is not as though Bambi is going to shoot back.
AZ_Alba is offline  
Old Dec 23rd 2012, 3:52 am
  #9  
Bloody Yank
 
Joined: Oct 2005
Location: USA! USA!
Posts: 4,186
RoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Analysis of US gun violence

Originally Posted by Drew.Dean View Post
Why would the average American need an assault rifle?.
Those who are active duty in the Swiss militia (which is much of the male population) have a military rifle at home, so that they are ready in the event it's needed. Until 2007, they also kept the ammunition for it at home (albeit sealed and subject to random inspection.)

The thing to be learned from both the Swiss and Israeli experiences is that a comprehensive military draft provides the government with a lot of useful information about its male citizens, i.e. the segment of the population that is most likely to abuse weapons.

The universal draft is a critical component of allowing widespread firearms ownership. Because of the draft, the government knows far more about its citizens in those nations and their likelihood to abuse weapons than the US knows about its people.

Cultures like that are also less likely to foster a black market that can evade the permitting process.

Again, the US is not well suited to any of this. Gun permits in the US do not prevent criminals from getting guns, nor do they instill the sense of community duty needed to help keep the peace. They aren't good models, and we shouldn't even try to use them as models.
RoadWarriorFromLP is offline  
Old Dec 23rd 2012, 1:32 pm
  #10  
Lt Col (Retd)
 
Pulaski's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2001
Location: Dixie, ex UK
Posts: 48,603
Pulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Analysis of US gun violence

Originally Posted by Drew.Dean View Post
Why would the average American need an assault rifle?
Because it is functionally identical to a hunting rifle, the only meaningful distinction being the magazine capacity. Pistol grips are generally considered by gun owners to decrease a gun's utility (though they add to the visual impression of the gun, so I agree it makes sense to include having a pistol grip as a feature of a gun that should be more tightly regulated/ banned), and the matter of a bayonet mount is a red herring given that a gun being used to stab people is extremely rare.
If you want a weapon for self defense it would normally be a pistol which would not be shooting high velocity rounds.
Sadly this is commonly believed, even by gun owners, when in fact a "home defense" shotgun is far more suitable. The pellets from an 18" barrel shotgun spread, making it far more likely in a high-stress situation that you will hit your target AND, with an appropriate shot size you will not be at risk of shooting a family member or neighbor through a wall or ceiling. A bullet from a pistol, especially a large calibre one, can easily pass through two layers of plasterboard and still be carrying lethal force.
If you say it is for hunting what is wrong a normal hunting rifle, it is not as though Bambi is going to shoot back.
See above - a "normal hunting rifle" and an "assault rifle" are functionally identical.
Any semiautomatic rifle could be used to shoot people equally effectively - aside from the magazine size which was previously limited (until the law lapsed a few years ago), and which I would certainly agree should be limited.

Last edited by Pulaski; Dec 23rd 2012 at 1:37 pm.
Pulaski is offline  
Old Dec 23rd 2012, 1:57 pm
  #11  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,847
HarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond reputeHarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond reputeHarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond reputeHarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond reputeHarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond reputeHarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond reputeHarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond reputeHarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond reputeHarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond reputeHarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond reputeHarryTheSpider has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Analysis of US gun violence

Originally Posted by RoadWarriorFromLP View Post
The lesson to be learned from Switzerland is that it's far too removed from American culture to be duplicated in the US. We aren't like them, and they aren't like us.
Agreed - and I'm not suggesting we duplicate Switzerland in the US - one is enough

I am suggesting there may be SOME things done in Switzerland that we can duplicate, or adapt here.

Originally Posted by RoadWarriorFromLP View Post
The US will have to go its own way on this issue. Copying the rest of the western Europeans with their top-down gun prohibitions won't work, either, as we'll never stand for it.
True - and it may be the case that 1 or 2 aspects of gun control or management do have to be done at the federal level, 'top-down' as you say.

Originally Posted by RoadWarriorFromLP View Post
For gun control to work in the US, a clear majority of Americans will have to want it, or at least tolerate it. That is going to require a combination of legislation and a change in attitude, combined with a conspicuous effort to remove the bulk of guns and gangs from the streets so that people can feel a bit safer.
Agreed. And it will take time - probably years...

Originally Posted by RoadWarriorFromLP View Post
The Australian assault weapons ban and MADD's campaign to stigmatize drunk driving could serve as case studies for how to do it here.
Agreed - both in what they got wrong as well as right...
HarryTheSpider is offline  
Old Dec 25th 2012, 5:52 am
  #12  
Lost in BE Cyberspace
 
Boiler's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2004
Location: Colorado
Posts: 33,178
Boiler has a reputation beyond reputeBoiler has a reputation beyond reputeBoiler has a reputation beyond reputeBoiler has a reputation beyond reputeBoiler has a reputation beyond reputeBoiler has a reputation beyond reputeBoiler has a reputation beyond reputeBoiler has a reputation beyond reputeBoiler has a reputation beyond reputeBoiler has a reputation beyond reputeBoiler has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Analysis of US gun violence

I was going to say Switzerland has been a more homogeneous society, monocultural is sort of the same.

Chalk and cheese.

Interestingly the latest one was banned from acquiring guns.
Boiler is offline  
Old Dec 25th 2012, 7:55 am
  #13  
 
Lion in Winter's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2003
Location: City of Broad Shoulders
Posts: 55,401
Lion in Winter has a reputation beyond reputeLion in Winter has a reputation beyond reputeLion in Winter has a reputation beyond reputeLion in Winter has a reputation beyond reputeLion in Winter has a reputation beyond reputeLion in Winter has a reputation beyond reputeLion in Winter has a reputation beyond reputeLion in Winter has a reputation beyond reputeLion in Winter has a reputation beyond reputeLion in Winter has a reputation beyond reputeLion in Winter has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Analysis of US gun violence

Originally Posted by RoadWarriorFromLP View Post

For gun control to work in the US, a clear majority of Americans will have to want it, or at least tolerate it. That is going to require a combination of legislation and a change in attitude, combined with a conspicuous effort to remove the bulk of guns and gangs from the streets so that people can feel a bit safer. The Australian assault weapons ban and MADD's campaign to stigmatize drunk driving could serve as case studies for how to do it here.
That is an interesting thought. The US has done an efficient job of stigmatizing smokers, for example. Despite the hugely powerful tobacco lobby, more and more smokers are viewed as beyond the pale, and are to be seen huddled outside office buildings in the cold with their ciggies while smoking is banned in many public places. And smoking used to be as American as apple pie and John Wayne. Imagine those who go home to fondle all their weapons being viewed as having something wrong with them.
Lion in Winter is offline  
Old Dec 25th 2012, 12:51 pm
  #14  
The Unmod
 
paddingtongreen's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Glen Mills, PA
Posts: 8,870
paddingtongreen has a reputation beyond reputepaddingtongreen has a reputation beyond reputepaddingtongreen has a reputation beyond reputepaddingtongreen has a reputation beyond reputepaddingtongreen has a reputation beyond reputepaddingtongreen has a reputation beyond reputepaddingtongreen has a reputation beyond reputepaddingtongreen has a reputation beyond reputepaddingtongreen has a reputation beyond reputepaddingtongreen has a reputation beyond reputepaddingtongreen has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Analysis of US gun violence

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

It seems the US government has been lax in regulating this militia, where the Swiss have been diligent in regulating theirs. Not a huge concern to most Americans, especially small gov. politicians, the Libertarians and Republicans, but it might possibly be a small wedge to add to the armory.
paddingtongreen is offline  
Old Dec 26th 2012, 5:14 pm
  #15  
 
thinbrit's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2008
Location: DFW
Posts: 984
thinbrit has a reputation beyond reputethinbrit has a reputation beyond reputethinbrit has a reputation beyond reputethinbrit has a reputation beyond reputethinbrit has a reputation beyond reputethinbrit has a reputation beyond reputethinbrit has a reputation beyond reputethinbrit has a reputation beyond reputethinbrit has a reputation beyond reputethinbrit has a reputation beyond reputethinbrit has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Analysis of US gun violence

Originally Posted by paddingtongreen View Post
...It seems the US government has been lax in regulating this militia...
The Supreme Court's 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller reasoned that "a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State," announced the Amendment's purpose, it did not limit or expand the scope of the operative clause "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

The court held the prefatory clause's history stemmed from the Anti-Federalists worry that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable the citizens militia, enabling a politicized army or a select militia to rule.

Does the US Government have a Militia to regulate?
thinbrit is offline  

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.