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More Guns Have Not Produced More Killings, But We Still Need Gun Control

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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I’ve beaten up on opponents of gun control in posts published on the day of the Newtown massacre and again on Sunday. In both posts, I strongly implied that more guns mean more shootings. Now I’d like to present statistics that contradict that hypothesis, or at least show it to be grossly simplistic. I found these stats in “Gun Control Legislation, “a report of the Congressional Research Service published on November 14, just a month before the Newtown massacre.

The number of guns in the U.S. surged from 192 million in 1994 to 310 million in 2009. That includes 114 million handguns, 110 million rifles and 86 million shotguns. There are now about as many firearms in the U.S. as people. These stats have been widely reported. What has not been so widely reported is that the number of firearm-related homicides fell from 17,073 in 1993 to 9,903 in 2011 (up slightly from 9,812 in 2010). Per capita, the gun-related murder rate has dropped by more than 50 percent over the past two decades.

This is a remarkable and somewhat mysterious trend. Some scholars have attributed the decline in gun-related homicides and other violent crimes to rising rates of incarceration; the U.S. has by far the highest rates in the world. But the decline has continued since 2007 as incarceration rates have fallen slightly and as the U.S. economy has tanked. “This would also be the last time to expect a crime decline,” legal scholar Frank Zimring told The New York Times last year.

So am I taking back my call for gun control? No. Rates of gun-related homicide in the U.S., in spite of the recent decline, are still unacceptably high, much higher than in any other developed nation. Moreover, according to an analysis by Mother Jones, there has recently been a rise, albeit erratic, in casualties from “mass shootings,” defined as incidents in which one or, more rarely, as in the case of Columbine, two shooters kill at least four people. Mass shootings exclude armed robberies and gang violence.

There have been 62 such shootings over the last 30 years, according to Mother Jones. Within this period, 2012 already has by far the highest casualty count from mass shootings, with over 140 people killed or wounded. Before the Newtown massacre, there were mass shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. The third and fourth worst years–behind only 1999, the year of Columbine—were 2007 and 2009.

Mother Jones found that the vast majority of mass shooters used either semi-automatic handguns or assault weapons, most of which were purchased legally. So the logical step would be to ban possession—not just sale—of semi-automatic handguns and assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, all of which are, in effect, designed for mass shootings. The government could buy back banned guns, a program that has apparently worked well in Australia. Also, we obviously need much stricter background checks on would-be buyers. I like Canada’s requirement—which I read about in a column by Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times–that would-be buyers have two people vouch for them.

The gun lobby is going to fight such restrictions. This afternoon, Wayne LaPierre, head of the National Rifle Association, which reportedly receives much of its funding from firearm manufacturers, predictably called for more guns. not fewer. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” he declared. “Would you rather have your 911 call bring a good guy with a gun from a mile away … or a minute away?” This proposition, like much of the NRA’s propaganda, flies in the face of the facts.

While LaPierre was speaking, media in Pennsylvania were reporting that a gunman had killed three people before being shot to death by police.

Postscript: A few responses to comments. Danarel asks about studies that correlate more guns with more homicide, which can be found at http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/research/hicrc/firearms-research/guns-and-death/index.html. If you compare countries and communities, you can indeed find a correlation between firearm availability and gun-related crimes. But as the historical U.S. data I cite indicates, the correlation is far from straight-forward. I’d like to see more research on why gun-related deaths in the U.S. have declined so dramatically over the past two decades, because maybe we can isolate factors that inhibit shootings. Randiana opposes banning high-capacity magazines, semi-automatic handguns and assault rifles, because shooters could do almost as much damage with many small magazines, revolvers, conventional hunting rifles, etc. I’d like to ban all guns, but since that doesn’t appear to be feasible, I’m focusing, like most gun-control advocates, on weapons most suited to mass shootings. ljdgielmcoe notes that the Newtown shooter used a legally purchased assault rifle, in spite of a ban on assault rifles in Connecticut. To me, that shows that loopholes in the bans must be closed. alan.coffel notes that I wrote “cartridge” when I meant “magazine.” Sorry for the error.

Image: http://www.thepetroc.com.

John Horgan About the Author: Every week, hockey-playing science writer John Horgan takes a puckish, provocative look at breaking science. A teacher at Stevens Institute of Technology, Horgan is the author of four books, including The End of Science (Addison Wesley, 1996) and The End of War (McSweeney's, 2012). Follow on Twitter @Horganism.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. danarel 8:06 pm 12/21/2012

    What about the Harvard study that does correlate more guns with more homicide?

    http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/research/hicrc/firearms-research/guns-and-death/index.html

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  2. 2. dwbd 8:20 pm 12/21/2012

    I can’t believe the idiots in the NRA advocate armed guards at schools. Morons. Waste more money we can’t afford to have an armed guard sitting at school all day doing nothing, because of the one in a zillion chance a psycho will go on a rampage there.

    Find a few teachers with the very best credentials, train them and license them to carry a concealed weapon. I have no doubt that ANY school has a reasonable proportion of teachers with sufficient skills and motivation to fulfill that function. Pay them a bonus for doing that. Revoke their license if they are irresponsible. That’s the most rational solution to protect schools and other public buildings.

    On the other end of the problem, it is obvious that some serious R&D needs to be done to identify young males who start to go bonkers and send them for treatment. #1 priority, legalize marijuana and put those kids on good drugs that will mellow them out. Anyone who believes in criminalizing marijuana is an idiot.

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  3. 3. CarefulReview 9:05 pm 12/21/2012

    “Per capita, the gun-related murder rate has dropped by more than 50 percent over the past two decades.
    This is a remarkable and somewhat mysterious trend.”

    While still devoid of science, there is the redeeming quality of honesty in this political piece from another soldier in the Crusade.

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  4. 4. SilverTusk 9:10 pm 12/21/2012

    dwbd,

    “I can’t believe the idiots in the NRA advocate armed guards at schools. Morons. Waste more money we can’t afford to have an armed guard sitting at school all day doing nothing, because of the one in a zillion chance a psycho will go on a rampage there.”

    Just an idea, but perhaps the Feds could redeploy some of the Air Marshals that are now occupying economy seats.

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  5. 5. ljdgielmcoe 9:26 pm 12/21/2012

    So what I hear is, “yes gun ownership has surged, and the murder rate has fallen, but lets still ban guns, cause they’re bad!!”.

    As far as Australia’s gun ban being effective? “In 2002 — five years after enacting its gun ban — the Australian Bureau of Criminology acknowledged there is no correlation between gun control and the use of firearms in violent crime. In fact, the percent of murders committed with a firearm was the highest it had ever been in 2006 (16.3 percent), says the D.C. Examiner.” –http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=17847

    Let us all ask ourselves what is the first thing that happens when a shooter or any threat is reported at a school (or anywhere)? ARMED men and women show up and secure the place to stop the threat. I guess assault weapons are OK, but only when the government is the only one that possesses them.

    Lets all remember that laws only affect law abiding citizens. Though I’m sure a federal law against “assault weapons” would have stopped the shooter in Newton. Oh wait, the state already does have an assault weapon law on the books (CGS53-202).

    John, generally when you take one foot out of your mouth, you shouldn’t put the other back in.

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  6. 6. Cramer 9:45 pm 12/21/2012

    NRA executive vice-president Wayne LaPierre said today, “Guns don’t kill people. Video games, the media and Obama’s budget kill people.”

    However, Mr. LaPierre seemed to have different logic when it came to the ATF gunwalking scandal (Fast and Furious).

    Mr. LaPierre said April 30, 2011 at the NRA Annual Meeting in Pittsburg, “Operation Fast and Furious may have gotten one, and perhaps two, federal agents killed … and who knows how many other innocent victims have been murdered with the illegal guns our own government allowed into Mexico … all to advance a political agenda.”

    If guns don’t kill, how could the ATF gunwalking operation have resulted in the deaths of federal agents and other innocent victims? Wouldn’t the drug cartels have sourced their weapons elsewhere. [And weapons are not limited to guns.]

    I guess Wayne LaPierre says whatever fits his agenda — consistent rationale doesn’t matter.

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  7. 7. alan.coffel 10:41 pm 12/21/2012

    This is just a nit, but I expect that you meant “high capacity magazines” not “high capacity cartridges”. Cartridges are the shells and magazines are the containers. Getting it wrong makes you sound less credible.

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  8. 8. bolafson 11:35 pm 12/21/2012

    The data you put forward from the Congressional Research Service ” …192 million (guns) in 1994 to 310 million in 2009.” and “firearm-related homicides fell from 17,073 in 1993 to 9,903 in 2011″ seems to be supportive of a theory that more guns would mean fewer murders. Can you explain this counter intuitive idea.

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  9. 9. Rev.Corvette 12:36 am 12/22/2012

    This article is off subject. What kind of science is this? Author John Horgan’s puckish, provocative look at breaking science news has missed the mark in this piece of Anti-Right to Bear Arms propaganda. I don’t know if it is possible for someone to sound less credible.
    Scientific American Please….don’t send shallow opinionated editorials out as part of your Scientific American Newsletter. Maybe the reason the murder rate has fallen as gun ownership has surged is because with more “regular guys and ladies” armed with deadly force of our own, the murderous lunatics have to be careful they don’t get blown away as soon as they kill their first innocent victim.
    and , but lets still ban guns, cause they’re bad!!”.Thank You.

    May

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  10. 10. randiana 12:38 am 12/22/2012

    Just 2 or 3 comments … I agree with alan.coffel … far too much of the reporting and discussion exposes just how little many of the loudest voices really understand about these so-called “assault weapons” that involve arguments rooted in the simple technical aspects. I should note that attacker in this kind of victim setting (innocent, unarmed, untrained, children and teachers, or movie-goers) could have 2 or 3 preloaded 10-round clips that can be changed in a fraction of a second and easily mimic the destruction of the higher capacity magazines. Those set on mayhem will find a way … bullets, gasoline, cars, etc.

    A lifelong shooting advocate(for 50 years)I resist most gun regulation, but I will note for discussion’s sake to ljdgielmcoe that some gun registration and carry laws do provide law enforcement with impact on the violator even when the firearm has not been used, but the individual has been detained for other issues. In some instances possibly providing some element of prevention in addition to that “first look” at those who do register.

    dwbd’s notion of selecting willing and able teachers for training and enlistment for concealed carry may be the best of the few ideas kicked around. I heard some reporting that the theater slaughter target was chosen specifically because the shooter had some info that other theaters may have had some kind of armed protection?? The deterrent presented by known armed protection is clearly the most effective way to prevent as much of this kind of monstrous behavior as possible. Many other issues contribute to be sure, but few of these demons wants to deal with victims who shoot back.

    Lastly, bolafson’s question … just a thought, but perhaps “more guns” leads to some measure of deterrence by the same rationale noted for schools, banks, courtrooms, congress, and POTUS? Much has been made of a few examples where a focus was made on arming citizenry with dramatic reduction in gun crime.

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  11. 11. randiana 1:56 am 12/22/2012

    I am compelled to comment just a bit further after resisting in my first little tirade. Concerning the notion in John’s article that the only reasonable approach to “gun control” is just to outright ban “assault weapons” and semi-automatic handguns.

    To a meaningful extent this is again an example of the very concern noted by alan.coffel. Do understand that handguns come in three basic flavors; single-shot, revolvers, and semi-automatics. Most revolvers load 5 or 6 rounds in the cylinder (some as many as 9 or 10!) and can be fired in a double action revolver virtually as fast as the semi-automatic! Either type can be found in comparable if not identical calibers and the accuracy on average may be somewhat better with the revolver. With a relatively inexpensive device called a speed loader a shooter can reload the revolver so quickly as to nearly duplicate the volume of firing in any given time as is possible with the semi-auto using preloaded additional clips. The “numbers game” is not good reasoning.

    In addition, many sporting / hunting long guns have very similar comparisons to the dreaded “assault rifle”. They typically have wooden stocks and are far more familiar tools that don’t suffer a perceived connection to war and human death and destruction. But many many models of lever action, bolt action, and semi-automatic “sporting arms” can produce nearly equal “fire power” to the psychologically more threatening assault rifle.

    The popular assault style rifles are sold largely in the “standard” .223 caliber (5.56mm) which is at the smaller end of rifle cartridge sizes. Often reported as one of the most “powerful” cartridges, these rounds are certainly capable of killing a human, but are in no stretch one of the “larger” or “more powerful” rifle rounds. Again, the 30-round clips do provide extended shooting without reloading, but many sporting guns can also be reloaded very quickly with 10 or more rounds, which, given the circumstances of these terrible deeds, is hardly less effective than any “assault style” rifle.

    The conjured up notion of the “assault rifle” has far more to do with imagination, movies, video games, reporting hyperbole, and “feel good” reaction for those who think they have a gun control need. I liken it to my reaction to the Ferrari at the curb that “looks fast standing still” … too many folks see the minimalist assault style rifle as “looking deadly in the gun cabinet”. These weapons are certainly dangerous, as are all firearms, but absolutely have use and purpose in hunting and target shooting outside the horrific use by some murderous monster, and pose far less a greater danger than is commonly claimed.

    Banning my right and all law-abiding citizens’ right to have the ability to protect their life and property, as well as to use firearms for target shooting and hunting just to placate the need to quell some imagined “extra” danger is unreasonable and must be resisted. Your unfounded fear of an inanimate object is not grounds for its elimination from my possession. 99.9% of gun owners are lawful and have no propensity toward harming non-threatening neighbors. The attempt to stop that 1/10 of 1% by eliminating the rights of all is the very picture of corrupted thinking.

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  12. 12. Trafalgar 2:34 am 12/22/2012

    LaPierre thinks video games kill people, but guns don’t?

    He’s out of his mind. Video games can provide an outlet for aggression and anger, preventing actual physical violence, and as well most video games put the player in the role of some kind of hero. Of course there are some which do the opposite, such as the Grand Theft Auto series, or Just Cause 2 (wherein the character is essentially terrorizing a dictatorship by destroying government property). However:

    1. Violent games all have age restrictions on them so that they cannot be bought by impressionable children. Even the ones where the player is a hero (More games than I can count), saves the galaxy (Mass effect, etc), or where the game gets the player to think about morality. People buying these games are expected to be emotionally and mentally mature enough to not turn into a violent homicidal maniac just from playing a violent game.
    2. If violent games involving guns caused people to become violent, you would have seen an increase in violent gun crime and murder rather than the decrease cited in the article. (The number of game sales, I believe, has been increasing over time. Of course, so has the population, and I’m not sure how comparable the rates are because the charts I found for game sales did not provide data, had nothing on pc sales, omitted digital sales, and had no separation between violent games and non-violent games (although I am not sure which you would classify the Mario series as))
    3. I would not be surprised if arming every teacher would result in more deaths due to accidental gun discarges than would be saved due to prevented mass shootings. (There are a huge number of schools in the country, and a lot of teachers in total. Even with a low rate of accidental discharges per year, I’d expect it to rival or exceed the number of deaths from school shootings per year due to how low that number is and how many people would be being armed who had no experience with guns.)
    4. In most of these cases, the attacker is wearing body armor. Anyone trying to shoot him would either need armor-piercing rounds, or superior aim, balls of steel, and a very accurate gun, to manage to shoot him in the head repeatedly until he went down. (Guns don’t tend to kill or incapacitate in a single shot, even when hitting a person in the head, unless they hit a vital area such as the heart, or the spinal cord, or a vital part of the brain, etc)
    5. Full body armor makes non-AP rounds or weak guns useless: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Hollywood_shootout
    6. Even without body armor, it can take a lot of bullets to stop someone, especially if the guns/bullets lack stopping power: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1986_FBI_Miami_shootout

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  13. 13. garmistead 7:47 am 12/22/2012

    The Federal and State governments should control the sale of ammunition (bullets) and the compounds and machinery required to manufacture ammunition. Attempting to control guns, which would require a constitutional amendment, is not the answer. Not only would it be difficult to achieve, it would be like trying to control automobiles — if you want to control automobiles, go after gasoline; gasoline is expendable and automobiles are durable (they last forever). Similarly, guns are plentiful and durable; they last forever and are so numerous as to make their control next to impossible. On the other hand, controlling ammunition — which is expendable and not durable — is the quickest way to use government to help get gun-violence under control. For example, pass legislation that prohibits non-government run outlets from selling ammunition (or the compounds and equipment to manufacture ammunition). Legislation would prohibit the sale of guns by any outlet that is authorized to sell ammunition. Controlling the sale of ammunition is a practical and quickly doable action; trying to outlaw or control guns is neither practical without a constitutional amendment and it certainly is not quickly achievable. I am tired of both the Democrats and Republicans using the issue for political gain but NEVER really take action to pass meaningful laws to lessen gun-violence.

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  14. 14. CarefulReview 8:02 am 12/22/2012

    Cramer (6) “I guess Wayne LaPierre says whatever fits his agenda — consistent rationale doesn’t matter.”

    Well, as Horgan adopts the same (il)logical position, where “More Guns Have Not Produced More Killings, But We Still Need Gun Control”, I fear we must put up with the extremists setting the tone of the debate.

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  15. 15. BookSpine 8:08 am 12/22/2012

    Rev.Corvette

    “This article is off subject.”
    Only if you came to Scientific American searching for science.

    “What kind of science is this?”
    Pseudo-science.

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  16. 16. dbtinc 8:54 am 12/22/2012

    Here in Illinois, regular police are assigned full-time patrol duty in our high schools whether they are inner-city or suburban. It’s not such a crazy idea and I would gladly pay more to assure more protection in all our schools from not only the gun nuts but also other activities that occur in schools that need to be controlled.

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  17. 17. brainguy 10:11 am 12/22/2012

    Brother BookSpine, off-topic? Right on my fellow human!

    This only proves that this is part of an agenda, to disarm and subjugate America (the hard way).

    This is what happened in Brazil a decade or so ago. Violence was high, like in ANY other place in the earth, they banned ALL weapons. Criminals are criminals, they care less if they will be prosecuted for gun possession, we as normal citizens care.

    The Result: Violence has now reached new records (and going ALWAYS up) and the people have no means to protect themselves.

    This IS WRONG!!! Jesus Christ apostles, Paul, John, Mathew, AND OTHERS, carried a weapon. Why some biased politician or BIASED writer or magazine promote such thing as gun ban or gun control?!

    NO SA! GET OUT OF HERE!

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  18. 18. BookSpine 12:33 pm 12/22/2012

    brainguy

    “Why some biased politician or BIASED writer or magazine promote such thing as gun ban or gun control?!”

    Because they share the same political agenda.

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  19. 19. G. Karst 12:33 pm 12/22/2012

    There is no mystery behind falling crime rates and reduced violence, when citizens are armed. It introduces an occupational hazard into what otherwise would be risk free criminal activity. Physical violence also may carry an unacceptable risk when lethal force is a real possibility.

    Think about it. Would someone hijack a plane if one thought half the passengers were armed? (only presented as an example of the deterrent factor and is NOT my recommendation of such). Would you burglarize a house if you knew the occupants were armed? Is someone’s plasma TV worth your life? GK

    I have never been to any shopping mall without spotting some police presence. Surely, if we can police malls, we can police schools. Some schools have thousands of students. Don’t many banks have an armed guard?

    Remember some of the largest mass killings were done with knives. Even a baseball bat will kill dozens of small children trapped in a classroom. It just isn’t that difficult to kill defenseless small children. We must change that fact. GK

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  20. 20. pharnc53 12:50 pm 12/22/2012

    Gun control is futile.There is a significant number weapons and ammo, which is beyond control(you could but,you would be living in a police state).The thing that is needed is to provide screening and treatment of mental illnes that would make a individual violent and dangerous.We must also step back from the emotionalism and to reason in making a decision in regards to weapons in society.We need to cease in making a stifiling utopia to deal with this issue.

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  21. 21. julianpenrod 12:55 pm 12/22/2012

    Again, crucial information is left out of the “argument” and, again, too, too many people don’t realize these other facts to moderate their confidence in “the official story”.
    Among other things, in the Thirties, Forties and Fifties at last, gun control was far less strignent than today, but there was far less gun violence per capita for gun owning people and non gun owning people. When I made this point elsewhere, a wag said, using one of the precious printed depictions of a non verbal vocalization so common among the insincere and unreliable, that part of the Forties was taken up with war. I had to remind them that World War II, for the U.S., really, only lasted less than four years. It can also be pointed out that gun crime was increasing in the Sixties, when the Vietnam War was raging. Frankly, they were doing something right back then that isn’t happening now.
    Among other things, too, while it doesn’t make another being harmed more palatable, a point of distic\nction can be made between total crimes committed with a handgun involving innocent people and involving criminals. Career criminals against other career criminals, non criminals against non criminals, one time only criminals against non criminals, pattern killers, and so on. For many, the unspoken elaboration in discussion is the idea of non criminals being victims, no matter who the perpetrator is, not necessarily that many have a problem with criminals being victims.
    Also crucial is the idea of exactly what guns are involved. The legislation is all about controlling legal sales of guns. But most crime with guns, at least in the past, involved illegally obtained guns. That includes jury rigged “zip guns”, that could involve only a piece of pipe, a rubber band and a nail. Most organized and semi organized street crime uses illegaly obtained weapons. Even many “crimes of passion” or psychotic explosions use illegally obtained firearms. And those are already completely banned!
    Note, also, the misleading reference to “keeping assault weapons out of the hands of citizens”. Increasing in the past few years has been the trend of mentally unstable individuals committing workplace violence, mall shootings, family exterminations, and so on. It’s not a matter of keeping weapons out of the hands of citizens, but keeping them out of the hands of the unbalanced.
    Maybe there should be an emphasis on finding out why so many people are becoming psychotic. Has there been a study of the correlation between the tendency to get all the vaccinations and flu shots the government recommends and going crazy from accumulated toxicity? The drop in career crime may play a part. Much career crime in the past was over drug deals. With the willingness of so many states to permit marijuana use, how unlikely is it that there isn’t a subterranean agenda by the New World Order to supply hard drugs to crooks to dispense to the public, to keep them quiet? While flu shots, vaccines and video games turn them into potential sociopahic slaughterers needed to enslave the world for the NWO? A steady flow of drugs to dealers can lower the tendency for them to fight each other for limited resources.

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  22. 22. Sciencefirstandforemost 1:51 pm 12/22/2012

    Murder rates per capita in the USA are just under 50% of what they were in the early 90′s. Violence of all types is the lowest its ever been in the USA.

    Science is about evidence…not emotion or agenda. Much the talk of a culture of violence is just ‘talk’. Since the advent of violent video games, more explicit death scenes in movies, ‘anything goes’ on Youtube, more one parent families, etc. …violence has DECREASED and the trend is still downwards.

    Murder rates per capita in the USA are just under 50% of what they were in the early 90′s. Violence of all types is the lowest its ever been in the USA.

    I don’t own a gun. I don’t want a gun. However, it’s amusing (in a dark way) how the salivating media (our blogger) started to cast reality aside and go with gut feeling: ‘Of course the Moon is bigger than the Sun..just look in the sky? Any idiot can see it.”

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  23. 23. dwbd 2:04 pm 12/22/2012

    It may be justified to have armed guards in some large inner city high schools where acts of violence are common, and banks of course get robbed. But grade schools, give me a break, there probably won’t be another shooting in ANY for another 20 yrs. You might as well have armed guards EVERYWHERE. Beaches, city parks, cafe’s, grocery stores, on every block in the suburbs, theaters, swimming pools, offices… And they will be sitting on there butts likely for their entire career not once doing anything. Ridiculous.

    If dbtinc or the NRA want to pay for that, by all means put your money where your mouth is, you advocates pay for that and DON’T ask reasonable people to pay for your nutty extravagances. And when it comes to raising taxes to pay for all of that, the NRA & dbtinc will be the first to scream “No New Taxes”.

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  24. 24. gnosis1974 2:43 pm 12/22/2012

    When do we start having a discussion about the psychotropic drugs ALL of these mass murderers were on? I mean, when you watch a commercial for these quack “medicines”, and they’re supposed to help with depression and/or anxiety, and one of the possible side effects is psychotic, suicidal behavior, that should raise alarms. But no. Take the guns away from law-abiding citizens. But, as you can see from the explosion of gun sales since Obama’s reelection and this incident, there is no anti-gun movement. There is no discussion on gun control, except within the media’s echo chamber. Thank God. Disarmament is utterly insane and shows a dangerous lack of understanding of history, as well as a gross mischaracterization of the nature of government, even ours. Especially ours. Genocides aren’t carried out against armed citizenry, and that’s the true intent of the 2nd Amendment. The army protects us from domestic threats, but who protects the People from the government?

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  25. 25. gnosis1974 2:47 pm 12/22/2012

    That should read “foreign threats”.

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  26. 26. G. Karst 3:04 pm 12/22/2012

    dwbd: I agree mostly… hence the need for armed citizenry.

    Israel faced a similar problem as they couldn’t guard everywhere, all the time. Armed citizens often stopped terrorist attacks, in their tracks, by being armed, at the right place, at the right time.

    Btw: There are a lot of armored cars traveling everywhere and they have several armed guards. If we can protect our money… We can protect our children (of whom we have invested much economically… and even more, our future. GK

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  27. 27. Cramer 3:09 pm 12/22/2012

    Violent crime, overall, has been decreasing since the early 1990s. Mass murders have been increasing. John Horgan has logically separated those outcomes — and rightly so. Mass shootings obviously are effected by different factors than the factors effecting overall crime.

    There appears to be many people who are attempting to model this social phenomenon using a single factor.

    A drop in overall violent crime has been decreasing and many have offered reasons. Steven Levitt claims abortion rights to be a significant factor. Others suggest increased police presence and “broken windows” theory.

    Another factor effecting the drop in overall crime could be the Baby Boom generation (this is my own theory). Baby Boomers are beginning to retire. There are reasonable expectations that medical costs will proportionally rise in our economy. Crime rates began to rise in the late 1960s, just as Baby Boomers enter the prime age range for committing crime. Crime rates began to decrease the early 1990s as Baby Boomers grew older than the prime age range. This does not mean that Baby Boomers are more violent (but they could be) anymore than it means they are less healthy (but they could be); it just means there are more of them.

    Mass shootings is more related to terrorism (maybe it should be called terrorism). Look at the factors effecting the level of terrorism: Social and political injustise is thought to be a significant factor.

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  28. 28. outsidethebox 3:42 pm 12/22/2012

    Actually on reading this piece my first thought was “How does one get to a blogger for Scientific American?” Just what are the “qualifications” for that position?

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  29. 29. b0bcat 4:09 pm 12/22/2012

    I normally don’t reply to political pieces like this, especially when it pertains to the gun stuff, but I have to ask this question because it’s bothering me that everyone only looks at the murder rate: what is the “shooting” crime rate in America?

    In other words, instead of just looking at the people who died after being shot, how many people were shot and yet still lived? Ie, if 40 people were shot in one of these mass shootings, but only 20 died, the media and crime statistics seem to only care about the 20 who died and don’t care at all about the 20 who lived. This creates a bias in the statistics that are being bandied about, as no one is taking into consideration the medical advances that help save lives and reduce the number of murders while not at all reducing the number of violent gun crimes.

    You want to know why murders are lowering? That’s why. Medical advances that save lives of people who are none-the-less shot.

    So my next question is this: has the number of gun *shootings* increased in America along with the number of guns? Since this is a scientific website, and the members here seem generally quite intelligent based on the comments I read above, lets look at appropriate factors and information in order to determine the relevance of facts behind an issue.

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  30. 30. dwbd 5:07 pm 12/22/2012

    G. Karst: It would be much more effective to have an intelligent, well trained motivated teacher with a concealed weapon than a bored, minimum wage security guard sitting on his butt half asleep most of the time. I don’t think it is healthy giving people jobs like that. And all the psycho has to do is calmly walk up to the apathetic security guard and shoot him first. Not knowing which teacher is armed would make that much more difficult.

    It’s a NO-BRAINER, train & arm a few teachers rather than use a security guard or police. And a whole lot more feasible in cost.

    Link to this
  31. 31. Jean-Victor Côté 8:21 pm 12/22/2012

    Mybe the population from which criminals are drawn is dwindling; the age pyramid is getting heavy at the top. You don’t see many gun toting seniors on a rampage.

    Link to this
  32. 32. hanmeng 9:29 pm 12/22/2012

    Yeah, make it illegal. That always solves the problem. Look at the drug war, for instance. That’s worked out great.

    Link to this
  33. 33. alan6302 9:45 pm 12/22/2012

    I agree with the observation that James Holmes is an imposter. I would not be surprised if Adam Lanza is also a fraud. Is there an agenda at work? Is there enemy creating doubles? I certainly hope James Holmes has his DNA looked at.

    Link to this
  34. 34. Jazz11001 1:00 am 12/23/2012

    So the science and facts indicate that there is absolutely no relationship between more guns and more violence and you admit that you were just jumping on the anti 2nd amendment band wagon and so where do you draw the line in how YOUR opinion is what ALL americans should do? Whats next peanut butter? It is sickening and amazing that you have no foundation for your article yet you insist that we need more control when the statistics show not only a decline in violent crimes commited with guns but an EXTREME decline. You are a petty reporter who just wants to be heard. Write something with substance and understand that neither the constitution nor the bill of rights are living documents. Pretty sure ol Ben Franklin knnew what he was talking about. Scholar, statesman and Americans for generations and generations have agreed and your attempt to hijack a tragedy for your own personal beliefs is disgusting. This is WHY it is in the constitution so that it doesn’t change after every election. This is just a sad article.

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  35. 35. northernguy 2:03 am 12/23/2012

    Some posters on this thread seem to assume that the only duty of a school guard would be to sit around doing nothing until some time when a crazy breaks into the school with multiple weapons.

    Surely just about anyone should able to imagine duties that could be assigned to such an individual that would reasonably be included in dealing with security issues in a school. Schools have other threats than just crazy people. Overwrought parents, violent students, safety issues like fire hazards etc.

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  36. 36. brainguy 10:58 am 12/23/2012

    BookSpine, yes…. We are in the same page! I mean, the right one.

    To you ALL quoting studies and charts and numbers and this and that!

    YOU AS A SOVEREIGN AMERICAN AND A MEMBER OF THE HUMAN RACE:

    YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO OWN ARMS. PERIOD!

    Banning weapons with the pretense of protection is such a bad lie. You guys need to study socialist russia and china, and stop acting like children that are tough what to say and what to do, else soon will be mandatory.

    Slaves are not made, they simply choose to be. I’ll fight to my death to get my rights, how about you?!

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  37. 37. G. Karst 11:42 am 12/23/2012

    Look, all our beaches and swimming pools are “life” guarded. No one complains about sitting and staring out at the oceans. Our crosswalks are “guarded”. All rock concerts are heavily policed.

    It wasn’t that long ago, when train conductors had access to a locked gun. Bank managers were issued with a “banker’s special” – a short snub nosed .38 revolver. There were a lot more guns around, out of sight, from the public. I know this sounds shocking, but true. These measures were discontinued due to our continuing belief that we are too civilized & sophisticated now, for such. Hence the public is completely defenseless against the lone psychopath.

    The duties of a school guard could be full and meaningful. Bullying is a big problem which can be addressed by such a guard. Breaking up schoolyard fights, detecting drug and weapons violations. Vandalism and graffiti also. It doesn’t take much imagination (as northern guy has suggested) to fill his/her job with useful function.

    In an Ideal world… none of this would be necessary, but when you discover Utopia, please let me know the location and immigration policy.

    Yes, guards can be the first attacked, but that has never been given as a legitimate reason, for not using them. Police do the function daily. It remains a deterrent. GK

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  38. 38. dwbd 12:35 pm 12/23/2012

    School guards – a real dumb idea. Laying off teachers by the tens’ of thousands due to near bankruptcy of city finances. And you want to add an armed guard to each school because there is one chance in 100 billion that the school will be attacked by a psycho. And in all probability the bored, apathetic, minimum wage school guard would not protect against that anyway. A crazy idea.

    And next round of budget cuts comes through and who is the first to go, after everyone forgets about school shootings – you guessed it – the security guard.

    But when instead of wasting that considerable amount on ineffective armed school guards, how about spending that on treatment of the mentally ill, which are now just being thrown out into the streets due to budget cuts. Poor mental health resources has been pinpointed as the predominant cause of these mass shootings, but can’t spend any money on that but having useless school guards – yep lot’s of money for that. Only don’t raise our taxes.

    And especially when training & arming a few school teachers with concealed weapons would be far more effective and cost a whole lot less.

    And comparing an active police force which has all kinds of functions, esp including crime investigation, with a school guard is ridiculous. You are logically arguing on putting armed guards everywhere there are people, but you don’t want to pay for that – you want others to pay for it.

    Use some common sense.

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  39. 39. gnosis1974 12:55 pm 12/23/2012

    I hope that the millions of parents who are horrified by the need to have armed guards/teachers in public schools will sway them to remove their kids from these indoctrination camps and give them a real, safe education at home.

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  40. 40. ceekayoh 5:34 pm 12/23/2012

    No one has mentioned an obvious fact: that improved emergency medical care has saved many lives that would otherwise be counted as victims of gun violence. For example, see this recent Wall St. Journal article:
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324712504578131360684277812.html

    Link to this
  41. 41. mike_midwest 5:59 pm 12/23/2012

    Although the number of guns has increased the number of households with guns has declined. Somebody with 30 semi’s not any more dangerous than someone with 1 or 2.

    Homicides are not the only issue. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics having a gun in the home increases the likelihood someone in the family will be shot. Accidents, domestic arguments gone bad and teenage suicides are far bigger threats than home invaders. Insurance companies know this as well. We really need an educational campaign on a par with campaigns against smoking and drunk driving so that people know this. If you have a real use for a firearm, like hunting, and know what you are doing fine. But many people are conned into buying a handgun thinking that they are protecting their families when the opposite is the case.

    On anther point, I’m all for taxing guns to pay for more police in high crime areas around the country including school guards where local officials think this could be helpful.

    Link to this
  42. 42. Chryses 7:51 am 12/24/2012

    31. hanmeng
    “Yeah, make it illegal. That always solves the problem. Look at the drug war, for instance. That’s worked out great.”

    That’s a valid criticism. The part I found most amusing in the author’s argument was that, after acknowledging that the extent laws have been in effect while the gun death rate has decreased 50%, he proposes changing them. I was impressed by the application of such scientific insight.

    Link to this
  43. 43. philgrimm 11:04 am 12/24/2012

    These arguments about gun safety are irrelevant. Guns can never be made safe, just like motorcycles, rockets or dragsters can ever be made safe.

    Further, the very existence of guns in our society are there so that they can be used as a last resort against a federal leadership that ignores our desires or institutes unpopular agendas.

    Our guns are here because it will be our last defense against government.

    If you don’t confiscate weapons, they will not go away. If you try to confiscate the weapons, they will be pointed at you. Or, at least, my weapons will be pointed at whichever uniformed officer arrives to take my weapons away.

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  44. 44. dwbd 1:09 pm 12/24/2012

    philgrimm, I would have to agree with you, in the USA at least. Gun control is just not gonna happen. You might limit magazine size and some weapons but that is not going to solve the problem.

    The only route I can see being effective is:

    #1) End the IDIOT Drug War. It is the biggest policy failure in history. Switch to a rational Drug policy based on measured control, treatment and legalization of softer drugs. Make illicit drug sales non-profitable and thereupon end drug crime violence.

    #2) License & Train about 10% of citizens to carry concealed weapons, that applies for everywhere except maybe aircraft, where other rules apply. Older, responsible citizens, no cowboys need apply. Basically as a citizens constabulary.

    #3) More R&D on the development & psychology of these Mass Murderers, determine parameters for interdiction, and early treatment of mental illness. Quit throwing the mentally ill out on the streets with no medication or treatment.

    #4) Greater restriction & enforcement to keep Guns out of the hands of the criminal element and mentally unstable.

    #5) Other than that, its put up and shut up. The USA has created this gun culture and it is going to have to live with the consequences just as we live with the automobile culture which kills 40,000 people per year in the USA.

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  45. 45. Swampfox 5:21 pm 12/24/2012

    All deaths due to firearms in 2011 came to 32,163 with the primary cause as suicide rather than homicide. How many of those deaths could have been avoided if a firearm wasn’t handy (initial suicide attempts often fail and sometimes the failed attempt triggers efforts at help). “Suicide by cop” is another unexplored phenomenon! Given that the Tiahrt Amendment prohibits the ATF and CDC from releasing firearm fatality research data we’re all hindered by an incomplete data set sadly!

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  46. 46. ajnania 8:35 am 12/25/2012

    Should Scientific American really have given a platform to an author who doesn’t know the difference between an assault rifle and a deer rifle, and whose message is “Damn the facts (More guns, and particularly concealed carry, have equaled less crime), my opinion is all you need!”
    As to those who object to guards in school and/or arming teachers, did you also complain about armed pilots and federal marshals?
    Come on, reasonable people. There are evil folks out there who will kill you (for no reason at all) unless you kill them first. The problem is not guns; it’s evil people.

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  47. 47. brainguy 11:49 am 12/25/2012

    What I think is most, I mean, MOST funny, is you all discussing how to solve a problem that was clearly engineered.

    You need not to find a solution. Simply because the solution was “born” before the problem, in fact the problem exists solely to provide a model in which the solution could be applied.

    Can’t work with corrupted data delivered by media whores boys. What you all need is to wake up, before we all become slaves. Not in a year, not in a decade… but the path is clear, is gonna happen if no action is taken.

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  48. 48. Bill_Crofut 2:52 pm 12/26/2012

    As the former owner of a 22-cal. rifle and a 10-ga. lever-action shotgun (a non-owner for approximately 50 years) my vote is cast in support of those who wish to own fire arms. If the information available to me is correct, it’s even constitutional and for the strangest of reasons; protection from government officials who may be overzealous in administering “justice.” Even if my understanding is incorrect, it seems to me “gun control” will only be effective on a law abiding citizen who registers his/her fire arm(s). How is “gun control” going to prevent criminals from illegally obtaining and using fire arms?

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  49. 49. JRCancio 5:35 pm 12/26/2012

    This article, and ones like it, appearing in Scientific American is the reason I am not renewing my subscription after reading your magazine for some forty years. I read your magazine for news and information and I don’t give a monkey’s ass for the reporter’s opinions or bias or agenda. Data and statistics is what it is all about as well as scientific reportage. One only has to look Swizerland to see the solution to gun control in purest and best form: it is law of the land, every adult male must own a military style machine gun and keep a minimum of 400 rounds of ammunition in their homes at all times; and no they do not use gun safes. Their nation is almost totally devoid of all crime and the murder rate is so low it goes unreported. BTW citing Australia is the poorest example after removing all firearms the rate of high crimes increased over 430 percent and the rates of killings have gone up 400 percent – so much for the negative effects of gun control – and BTW don’t look to China where guns are outlawed – four times the murder rate of the united states with the most favored murder tool being poison. In Japan knifes and sword are the weapons used and also 4 times the murder rate of the U.S.

    And as for citing CT: what greater evidence all the guns laws in America don’t work; no government, no police force can protect us: just who is going to protect you, your family and your children – what is wrong with gun laws in America is all the politicians who made the laws that have proven over and over and over again – those laws are useless and worthless and only pentalize the innocent and law abiding. Our politician’s answer: pass more gun laws and bring attention to themselves in the act of making it appear they are doing something.

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  50. 50. looselycoupled 10:57 pm 12/26/2012

    “Mother Jones found that the vast majority of mass shooters used either semi-automatic handguns or assault weapons, most of which were purchased legally. So the logical step would be to ban possession—not just sale—of semi-automatic handguns and assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, all of which are, in effect, designed for mass shootings.”

    Claiming that all semi-automatic handguns (essentially *ALL* handguns that exist in the world are semi-automatic, either using a magazine or revolver action) were designed for mass shootings is totally ludicrous.

    Since that statement is just plain stupid, I’ll move on to your claim about “assault rifles”. This is a bullsh*t term that was invented by the anti-gun crowd to describe rifles which they perceive as “more dangerous” than other rifles due *solely* to their appearance and accessories — despite FUNCTIONAL equivalence to other rifles.
    Case in point, the AR-15 (used in the elementary school shooting) shoots the same bullets, with the same clips, at the same rate of fire and reload ability as the Ruger Mini-14, but the AR-15 is the only gun considered an “assault rifle”. Why is this? The 1990′s assault weapons ban literally made illegal guns which had 2 or more of the following accessories:

    1) Flash Hider (this reduces the flash effect from the hot gases coming out of the barrel with no other effect)
    2) Bayonet mount (how many bayonets have been used in aggravated assault lately?)
    3) Large capacity magazines (>10)
    4) Telescoping or folding butt-stocks and pistol grips(the part that rests on your shoulder)

    Now which of those items, besides high capacity magazines, would make any difference in a mass shooting?
    NONE. This is the type of emotional, knee-jerk, anti-gun ideology held by many people are who are afraid and ignorant of firearms and have never even fired one or been to a gun range.

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  51. 51. PassingFancy 7:12 am 12/27/2012

    49. looselycoupled,

    “… This is the type of emotional, knee-jerk, anti-gun ideology held by many people are who are afraid and ignorant of firearms and have never even fired one or been to a gun range.”

    That’s the type of publication Scientific American has become with writers such s Horgan.

    Link to this
  52. 52. Asteroid Miner 4:14 pm 12/27/2012

    That gun used in Newtown was NOT SEMI-automatic.  It was FULL automatic.  It is a machine gun and machine guns are already illegal.  Otherwise, he wouldn’t have shot one child 11 times.  I worked for the army for 27 years, as an engineer and scientist.   The journalists don’t know what they are talking about.   
     Wikipedia:
    “A squad automatic weapon (SAW, also known as section automatic weapon or light support weapon) is a weapon used to give infantry squads or sections a portable source of automatic firepower. Weapons used in this role are selective fire rifles, usually fitted with a bipod and heavier barrel to perform as light machine guns. SAWs usually fire the same cartridge as the assault rifles or battle rifles carried by other members of the unit. This reduces logistical requirements by making it necessary to supply only one type of ammunition to a unit. SAWs are light enough to be operated by one man, as opposed to heavy machine guns such as the Browning M2, which fire more powerful cartridges but require a crew to operate at full effectiveness.”

    The magazine is also already illegal.  It holds hundreds of rounds.

    A magazine IS NOT a clip.

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  53. 53. Asteroid Miner 4:14 pm 12/27/2012

    NO.  WHO IS PROTECTING US FROM THE GOVERNMENT?  In the holocaust movies, I noticed that Jews who had guns lived longer than Jews who didn’t have guns.

    MMPI
    abbreviation
    Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory.
    Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (abbr.: MMPI)
    noun
    a test consisting of hundreds of true-false questions, used as a diagnostic tool by psychologists.

    1.  The problem is the insane person, not the gun.  Everybody should have to take the MMPI in high school.  That would be a better background check.  
    2.  In many cases, the family cannot afford psychiatric care.  Make medicaid work for these cases before the shooting.
    3.  In one case, the shooter had a brain cancer that had caused other symptoms.  His doctor failed to order an MRI.  Make the doctors and judges responsible.

    Link to this
  54. 54. Asteroid Miner 4:41 pm 12/27/2012

    Why does nobody mention window glazing that won’t shatter? The shooter at Newtown first shot out the window and stepped through. A locked door, if there was one, was circumvented.

    The window doesn’t have to be bullet proof to be shatter proof. A thin layer of polycarbonate as an inner window would have kept the shooter outdoors. [Polycarbonate, not acrylic plexiglass and not vinyl.] Bullet proof would be much more expensive.

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  55. 55. Joseph C Moore, Cpo USN Ret 5:41 pm 12/27/2012

    The writer of this article is an unreasoning a##. More CRIMINALS produce more shootings. Gun control ONLY disarms law abiding people and has the unintended (?) effect of creating more VICTIM zones. Look at the REAL effect of disarmed countries, not the fanciful figures of the controllers. In the UK the “bobbies” previously carried only a truncheon and a whistle. They now carry sidearms and are vastly out gunned by the burgeoning criminal element. The blood in the school shootings is on the hands of the legislators who create these “criminal safe for mayhem zones” that provide such a fertile ground for CRIMINALS & CRAZIES to fulfill their fantasies.

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  56. 56. llewellyn 9:32 pm 12/27/2012

    Well dwdb, perhaps not seen a socially acceptable, but
    a pleasure to see someone who has worked through the problem in a rational manner.
    Well done.

    Link to this
  57. 57. Postman1 10:45 pm 12/27/2012

    Why does SA continue to carry this idiot’s blog?

    Link to this
  58. 58. bucketofsquid 11:35 am 12/28/2012

    Just some observations – Guns don’t kill people, people kill people, guns just make it a lot easier.
    According to the constitution of the USA, citizenry has the right to own and use weapons for the specific purpose of eliminating a dictatorial political structure. This means that the general population are entitled to own everything short of nukes. After all, our country was founded by terrorists that committed high treason.

    It is better to invest large amounts into research into the human brain and mind to detect the defective and correct their defect than it is to spend the same amount on law enforcement and to respond after a tragedy.

    I’m not big on gun control even though I don’t like guns. I’ve always preferred flame throwers. It is hard to miss. When they shoot at you with their guns, you don’t likely need to worry about injury because the bullets will probably puncture the tank and engulf you in a ball of flame. No hospital stay and no jail time.

    If you don’t like SciAm, why are you supporting it by increasing the advertising revenue? No one wants to hear you snivel like a kicked puppy and you aren’t changing any minds. All you accomplish is the generation of contempt for yourselves and your point of view. Stick to scientific rebuttal of points or conclusions you disagree with.

    For those of you too stupid to understand the difference between a blog and an article here is a clue; an article is information based on theory, hypothesis or fact. A blog is brain diarrhea that may include factual content, useful hints or instructions and also any nonsense or pot stirring the blogger feels like posting. It is not peer reviewed or fact checked. You can tell a SciAm blog from an article based on the blog url starting with “blogs”.

    Link to this
  59. 59. dbltapp 1:54 pm 12/28/2012

    Why does your editor let you use a science column as a soapbox for liberal crap like this?

    Link to this
  60. 60. cccampbell38 1:44 pm 12/29/2012

    How about something like this:
    To obtain a license to own a firearm one must be of age, pass a rigorous course on safety, security, law, responsibility, and practical use. Also a thorough background check and psyc, exam.
    All guns will have a title, just as cars do. The title must be transferred whenever ownership of a gun changes.
    Titles, licenses, and ownership are databased. Guns and their owners can be identified quickly.
    Owners will be held legally responsible for the security of weapons that they own. If a gun is stolen, lost, or goes missing the owner may be held legally liable if it can be demonstrated that the gun was not properly secured. If an unsecured, missing gun is later used in a crime the owner may face a civil suit by those injured as well.
    Any unlicensed person caught with a gun would face serious prison time; say 15-20 years. Anyone carrying a gun during the commission of a violent crime would face life.
    Result: licensed owners can own any firearms that they wish but will be held legally responsible if they fall into the wrong hands.
    Unlicensed persons face such stiff punishment for possession that only the truly stupid or the deranged would take the chance.
    It would take several years for a plan like this to be implemented and become effective but I bet that it would seriously lower gun deaths in the US without violating the Constitution, which calls for regulation.

    Link to this
  61. 61. Postman1 4:17 pm 12/30/2012

    cccampbell38 – Only the “truly stupid or the deranged” kill people anyway, so nothing would change in that respect.
    I do agree with you that anyone using a firearm to commit a crime should face serious prison time, but you cannot hold a gun owner responsible for crimes committed with a gun which has been stolen. Also, this falls under states’ rights.
    Bottom line is, over 80 million gun owners will not allow their 2nd amendment rights to be infringed on or taken away. To attempt to do so would mean civil disobedience and could lead to war.

    Link to this
  62. 62. Postman1 4:25 pm 12/30/2012

    Besides, as the 1diot blogger said, ‘more guns have not produced more killings’.
    Of course, Chicago has the strictest gun control laws and:
    “WBEZ reports, while some 2,000 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001, more than FIVE (5) THOUSAND PEOPLE have been killed by GUN FIRE in CHICAGO during that time, based on Department of Defense and FBI data.”

    “Um, how’s that nation leading gun control working out, Chi-town?! I’ll bet THEY would’ve LIKED to be able to defend themselves!!! ~~Seano”

    Link to this
  63. 63. Ian St. John 11:43 am 01/4/2013

    I find the argument purely on statistics to be rather invalid. It is like asking a man if he will change his fancy restaurant for meals because he only has $6Billion instead of $7Billion.

    The USA is SATURATED in weapons and so it is NO problem to get one, regardless of the exact numbers. The correct comparison is with countries where guns and assault weapons are RELATIVELY SCARCE and hard to obtain on short notice.

    As to the drop in homicides, access to guns is NOT the only factor, nor is it about how many citizens are in jail (mostly for minor things like Marijuana possession).

    The major factor controlling the homicide rate (other than guns) is how busy people are with other priorities such as making a living and how good a living that is. You do not endanger a good life by violence. So economic prosperity, concentration in ghettos, drug use, health care options, etc all contribute to the incidence or absense of violent crime.

    The major issue is that Assault Weapons can kill many people in a relatively short time, before defense can be established. So they contribute disproportionately to ‘rampages’ and ‘massacres’. A maniac with a knife can probably kill one person before he is overcome.

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  64. 64. janecky 1:54 pm 01/13/2013

    Glad you have at least modified your viewpoint based on the empirical evidence. However:
    1. Correlation does not necessarily mean causation.
    2. In the last few years, why have gun murders declined while gun ownership has increased in both the US and Canada? One could argue that this tighter data set is more dependable.
    3. No matter what you regulate, ban or change, lunatics and criminals will still acquire what they need to perpetrate their acts of violence. All you’ve hurt are law-abiding gun owners.
    4. Mr. Kristof in the NYT is wrong – no such requirement exists in order to purchase a gun in Canada.
    5. What about the role of the media in promoting these lunatics to celebrity status whilst living off the misery of their victims?

    Link to this
  65. 65. orladavid 6:37 am 02/22/2013

    I am absolutely agreed with you about Gun and its Control Facts Test

    Link to this
  66. 66. killthebill 1:13 pm 03/15/2013

    //In other words, more people in the U.S. are getting shot, but doctors have gotten better at patching them up. Improved medical care doesn’t account for the entire decline in homicides but experts say it is a major factor.//
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324712504578131360684277812.html

    Link to this

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