January 12, 2013
Five Facts about Guns, Schools, and Violence
From Reason magazine:
Transcript below the fold:
In the wake of December's horrific mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Vice President Joe Biden is chairing a panel of experts that will make gun-control recommendations to President Barack Obama by the end of the month. The president has said that enacting new restrictions on guns will be one of his highest priorities.
No one wants to ever again see anything like the senseless slaughter of 26 people - including 20 children - at a school. But as legislators turn toward creating new gun laws, here are five facts they need to know.
1. Violent crime - including violent crime using guns - has dropped massively over the past 20 years.
The violent crime rate - which includes murder, rape, and beatings - is half of what it was in the early 1990s. And the violent crime rate involving the use of weapons has also declined at a similar pace.
2. Mass shootings have not increased in recent years.
Despite terrifying events like Sandy Hook or last summer's theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, mass shootings are not becoming more frequent. "There is no pattern, there is no increase," says criminologist James Allen Fox of Northeastern University, who studies the issue. Other data shows that mass killings peaked in 1929.
3. Schools are getting safer.
Across the board, schools are less dangerous than they used be. Over the past 20 years, the rate of theft per 1,000 students dropped from 101 to 18. For violent crime, the victimization rate per 1,000 students dropped from 53 to 14.
4. There Are More Guns in Circulation Than Ever Before.
Over the past 20 years, virtually every state in the country has liberalized gunownership rules and many states have expanded concealed carry laws that allow more people to carry weapons in more places. There around 300 million guns in the United States and at least one gun in about 45 percent of all households. Yet the rate of gun-related crime continues to drop.
5. "Assault Weapons Bans" Are Generally Ineffective.
While many people are calling for reinstating the federal ban on assault weapons - an arbitrary category of guns that has no clear definition - research shows it would have no effect on crime and violence. "Should it be renewed," concludes a definitive study, "the ban's effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement."
The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting is as horrifing a crime as can be imagined. It rips at the country's heart and the call to action is strong and righteous. But as Joe Biden and his panel of experts consider changes to gun laws and school-safety policies, they need to lead with their heads and not just their hearts.
Over the past dozen years, too many policies - the Patriot Act, the war in Iraq, the TARP bailouts - have been ruled by emotion and ideology.
Passing sweeping new restrictions on Second Amendment rights won't heal the pain and loss we all feel but just may create many more problems in our future.
Written by Nick Gillespie. Produced by Amanda C. Winkler. Additional camera work by Joshua Swain
Posted by Tom at January 12, 2013 7:30 PM
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1. Do you believe that armor piercing bullets should be available to the general public?
2. Do you believe there should be restrictions on the size of clips or magazines?
Posted by: TLGK at January 21, 2013 3:03 PM
I hope you realize that just about all bullets above .380 auto are "armor piercing" depending on the grade of personal armor being shot at. More to it, this business of "armor piercing bullets is about as big of a non-issue in crime as can be imagined.
As to the second issue, I can swap out magazines in one of my Glocks or 1911 in just over 2 seconds, and I know guys who are faster. So the idea that this will somehow slow down shooters is quite silly.
And what is a "high capacity" magazine, anyway? Who the heck sets the number and how is it arrived at? Because some liberal in Congress arbitrarily decides one number is "high capacity" but another not?
Basically, the people who push these things haven't the foggiest idea what they're talking about and are just repeating MSNBC talking points. The idea that either "armor piercing bullets" or "high capacity magazines" are some big threat is breathtakingly stupid. Hope that's not you.
Posted by: Tom the Redhunter at January 21, 2013 8:11 PM
The armor to which I refer is the Kevlar vests commonly worn by law enforcement personnel. You may be able to change a 17 round magazine in a Glock in 2 seconds. For those of us who have spent time on a field or time on a court, 2 seconds is a lot of time.
The removal of semi automatic refiles--like the Bushmaster--is impossible. To render illegal a drum carrying 100 rounds, which I recall was carried by the Aurora Theater shooter (I have not thought much about the fact that I live within 20 miles of two of worst mass shootings in recent history, Columbine and Aurora, and grew up and was married within 25 and 15 miles of another, Newtown.) is not.
The 2nd Amendment has limits. I recognize that that for people like Wayne Lapierre, there is no limit on acceptable gun deaths. For him, they are all acceptable.
A civilized nation will at least limit the potential for carnage. For 100 round drums fall into the category of shoulder fired missiles and fully automatic weapons. No private citizen has the right to own one and they are prohibited by the 2nd Amendment.
I do not watch MSNBC but I would rather take my talking points from it than the NRA.
Posted by: Anonymous at January 22, 2013 9:40 AM
Of course there are limits to the Second Amendment. Automatic firearms are not available to the general public, nor are rocket launchers, and an extensive background check must be performed on each individual every time they wish to purchase a firearm. And there are limits to where you may carry a firearm, and you have to get a permit to carry concealed. Those restrictions are reasonable and are quite enough.
There is no single type of body armor that police wear, that was my point. Take a look here and you'll start to see what I'm talking about. The whole issue of personal protection and what bullet will go through what is horribly complicated and since you brought it up, if you want to ban "armor piercing bullets' you have the obligation to tell me exactly what bullets you want banned.
Bad guys don't run around shooting people with hundred round drums. The number of shootings with those things is nil in the big scheme of things. You are talking about banning things that are irrelevant to the crime problem in this country.
The whole thing - banning bullets or magazines - is at best a giant waste of time. So sorry if I seem so angry over this, but given that crime has been going nowhere but down including gun homicides (and here, note that more twice as many people were murdered by bare hands than with rifles last year) the idea that we need more laws regarding guns is silly at best. This whole thing is is a political attempt to go after something liberals just don't like, not a serious attempt to fight crime.
What really gets me is this; every few years some nut commits a horrific crime, and the millions upon millions of law-abiding gun owners are told we have to give up what we have (or give up what we can buy, which in the long run is the same thing)? No thank you.
Let's be honest; Obama and those who are pushing this entire sudden gun/magazine/bullet ban primarily to get even with people they don't like. It's part of the Revenge Obama was talking about in that speech he gave in the days before the election.
And you just know that Feinstein, Schumer, and that whole crowd have been planning this for years. They've been plotting "the next time there's a shooting we're going to jump on this!" It's all part of that Rahm Emanuel " never let a serious crisis go to waste" philosophy.
Meantime, for a serious proposal that might actually have an effect, read this.
Posted by: Tom the Redhunter at January 22, 2013 9:55 PM
Here's an excerpt from a column by Emily Miller in the Washington Times
with these supposed "armor piercing bullets:"
The military uses the term “armor piercing” to refer to rounds capable of penetrating armored vehicles. The gun grabbers picked up on this terminology to describe a bullet made of hardened metals that can penetrate a soft body armor vest made of kevlar. The manufacture, import and sale of handgun bullets made of hardened brass, steel or any other alloy has been prohibited since 1986.
This legislation was never intended to ban rifle ammunition, because stolen handguns are the weapon of choice for criminals. Rifles are used less often in crimes because they are bulky and hard to conceal. Cops simply aren’t being killed by crooks using exotic, hardened projectiles, but it sounds like a scary possibility.
What anti-gun politicians really have on their mind is replacing the existing statute with a performance test to determine whether a bullet can penetrate soft body armor. For example, the District considers a “restricted bullet” to be one that can penetrate 18 layers of Kevlar from a pistol (though in December, the D.C. Council reversed itself and adopted the federal definition of a prohibited bullet).
Such a test is a sneaky way to outlaw common rifles. Many ordinary rifle rounds can penetrate a soft armor vest because rifles are significantly more powerful than handguns. Law enforcement and the military use ceramic plates for vests meant to protect against such powerful rounds.
Posted by: Tom the Redhunter at January 30, 2013 6:44 AM
"Let's be honest; Obama and those who are pushing this entire sudden gun/magazine/bullet ban primarily to get even with people they don't like. It's part of the Revenge Obama was talking about in that speech he gave in the days before the election. "
It is absolutely political. There is NO QUESTION about it. For proof, just look at this constant focus on the gun, not the shooter. You won't stop mass murder by passing a law which primarily impacts lawful gun owners. Where is the seriousness to deal with the mental health or cultural issues? Almost non-existent.
So, what happens if the gun grabbers get their way and their law is passed then another mass shooting occurs with lawful weapons as happened in Newtown, CT? The grabbers will only go for another even more restrictive law that STILL leaves the underlying mental health and cultural issues ignored.
It's ALL POLITICS! And that is very sad!
Posted by: Mike's America at February 3, 2013 12:36 AM