What Shootings Like Sandy Hook Say About Americans And Guns
08 December, 2017, 09:05 | Author: Darnell Taylor
The researchers wrote that their analysis "provides evidence indicating that the spike in gun exposure that followed the Sandy Hook school shooting increased the incidence of accidental firearm deaths". "They really go to impressive lengths to demonstrate that increase is likely caused by an increase in exposure to guns". "You can't believe how many times some unbelievably awful thing happens just because a person is carrying a gun, whether it's a two-year-old kid shooting his mother, or a father demonstrating his gun to his son and killing his daughter". Given this heavy burden, it is greatly concerning that many aspects of the body of research on gun violence have been deemed inadequate and inconclusive by expert panels of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (4-6). For decades, hamstrung by lack of funding and the politically charged landscape surrounding gun control, researchers have lacked data to try to answer that question. But these hurdles haven't stopped every scientist - and lately there's been a revival in gun research, according to the commentary published today in Science.
Neither of the two statisticians who conducted the research - Phillip Levine and Robin McKnight - had worked on gun violence before. They tell gun owners that liberals are about to vote on a new law to take away their guns, driving those owners into buying yet more guns. The gun-murder rate is 25 times as high in the United States as in other high-income nations, and the gun-suicide rate is eight times as high (2). "It's not a ideal proxy", Levine says. From it, they estimate that 3 million additional guns were sold in the months following the shooting. Spikes in accidental firearm-related deaths were concentrated in those states with larger increases in per capita gun sales, the authors found. The researchers interpreted this rise in gun-related Googling as an increased interest in guns. "It would make common sense to some people to think 'what I need to do to protect myself is to have a gun, ' but the unfortunate truth is that this normal reaction is wrong", said Fielding, who was not involved in the new study.
There are limitations spelled out in the study: Vital Statistics typically undercounts the actual number of people who die from gun violence, and this study counts only deaths. The number of people run through the system increased beyond the standard number after Sandy Hook, they found. And it's probably an underestimate; these death records don't include gun-related injuries, for example. There might be other changes in gun education, or state-level gun laws that could make clear connections hard to find.
By seizing on the surge of firearm purchases after the 2012 tragedy in Newtown, Conn., the Wellesley team essentially set up an experimental model to study what happens after such a sudden increase in gun sales. The overall numbers, of course, obviously pointed out the fact that the country with the most guns in the entire world also had the most gun-related deaths, but there hadn't been a study on this particular phenomenon until now. Their findings show patterns in the way we buy and think about guns.
"If you have an estimated 3 million more guns in homes, in all likelihood, not all of those guns will be safely stored and may be loaded and accessible, and that results in unintended harm". "If guns were stored all the time properly all the time, even if there were more guns, there would be no more accidents".
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