"More Guns, More Violence... Is There a Connection?" by Jackblog | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Jackblog

More Guns, More Violence... Is There a Connection?

Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/09/mass-shootings-investigation">posted a piece back after the Aurora shootings that has now been updated in light of the Sandy Hook murders that happened on Friday. Their point -- the country now has 300 million guns in circulation; up from 200 million in 1995. At the same time, there's a definitive increase in laws that have loosened gun owners abilities to carry those guns in more and more places.

The question is... have all of those guns and gun laws made us any safer? The gun lobby says yes. The http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/09/mass-shootings-investigation">analysis, however:

In the wake of the slaughters this summer at a Colorado movie theater and a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, we set out to track mass shootings in the United States over the last 30 years. We identified and analyzed 61 of them, and one striking pattern in the data is this: In not a single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun. Moreover, we found that the rate of mass shootings has increased in recent years—at a time when America has been flooded with millions of additional firearms and a barrage of new laws has made it easier than ever to carry them in public. And in recent rampages in which armed civilians attempted to intervene, they not only failed to stop the shooter but also were gravely wounded or killed.

So, if we're still waiting for that one time that all of these guns and all of these gun laws actually brings down a mass murderer -- might now be a time to consider other measures aimed at keeping guns out of the wrong hands? (And, perhaps, getting people more mental health help?)

Comments

brjohn9 7 years, 5 months ago

Thanks for this post. I keep challenging my friends who support unrestricted gun sales to produce even one example of a mass shooter who was brought down by an armed civilian, but they can never give me one. Instead, they grumble about shooters deliberately choosing gun-free zones, though they can no offer evidence that such considerations factor into a deranged person's thinking.

As I've said before, I'm not sure whether laws like an assault-weapons ban would actually do much good. The killer might have been just as lethal with his semi-automatic pistols, or even with just a shotgun. But I do get tired of all the fact-free arguments gun advocates put forward to make their case. Give me an example of an armed civilian who stopped a mass shooting, or shut the hell up about armed civilians being our best defense against mass shootings.

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bubbat 7 years, 5 months ago

brjohn- Woodham was stopped( wasn't shot) at Pearl High school by the assistant principal who got his pistol from his truck.

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brjohn9 7 years, 5 months ago

I have to admit, bubba, that does seem to qualify.

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donnaladd 7 years, 5 months ago

"Gun-free zone" is a constructed NRA propaganda phrase that means very little.

I hear you on issues around the bans. We must target supply and demand of the gun companies, and make it less attractive for them to produce and flood communities with so much high-yield assault weapons. That alone will reduce the deaths from them, at least the numbers of deaths per gun/clip. That's basic math.

We're suffering from gun inflation, as I like to call it. In school shootings in the 1990s, more people would have likely died if they used the weapons the mass shooters use now. So it's not just about the number of violent people and how likely they are to commit a violent act; it's how potentially lethal the act is depending on the tools they can easily access.

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tsmith 7 years, 5 months ago

Carry permit holders are few in number percentage wise, and even fewer actually carry, so the likelyhood of one being present in a "situation" is really quite small.

One can look at one of the first school shootings right here in Pearl where Luke Woodham was stopped by an assistant principal who retrieved a .45 pistol from the glove compartment of his truck and subdued Woodham inside his mother's car.

Here is some more evidence that one of the recent mall shootings in Oregon MAY have been cut short by an "armed citizen".

http://www.kgw.com/news/Clackamas-man...">http://www.kgw.com/news/Clackamas-man...

I have a carry permit and quite often do but I do not carry with the expectation of getting into a shootout with the bad guys at the local mall, I carry to protect myself and family. One can't say how they will react in a situation until it has presented itself but I think I can honestly say that if shooting starts I'm heading for the door/safety and the only way I'll get involved is if the shooter is between me and that safety.

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nana 7 years, 5 months ago

What a ridiculous conclusion to have reached. In order for a permitted carrier to have taken out a one of these shooters in the midst of his deed, there would first have to be a permitted carrier in the immediate vicinity of the shooter and that permitted carrier would actually have to be carrying a weapon at that point in time. Now, just WHAT do you think are the chances of the stars aligning in just that way at just that point in time??????? Texas has the right idea for stopping shooting in schools. ARM the teachers! Guaranteed, a shooter won't get very far in a Texas school before he gets blown off the face of the earth. The same approach should be taken in shopping malls, hospitals and all other places where large numbers of people congregate. That and ONLY that will stop the lunatics from repeating Friday's tragedy.

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brjohn9 7 years, 5 months ago

The problem, nana, is that there is clear evidence that the states with the greatest abundance of guns also have the greatest abundance of gun violence. The South far outpaces the rest of the country in gun crime, but it also has the highest rates of gun ownership. Obviously, mass shootings are only a tiny subset of overall gun crime, but you would think the same effects would apply to general gun crime. Also, remember that many mass shootings occur at workplaces, which are generally not gun-free zones. ***

In contrast to evidence, you're just giving us "donchathink?" speculation about what you guess would happen if everyone was armed everywhere. Why should anyone believe you?

*** Before anyone objects that most workplaces ban weapons, remember that private property is subject to whatever rules the owner chooses to establish. The alternative would be forcing owners to allow guns on their property, which ain't exactly freedom.

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tstauffer 7 years, 5 months ago

I love how that comment starts with "what a ridiculous conclusion to have reached" and ends with the suggestion that the only thing that would work is arming the entire country; presumably against their will? Or as a requirement of their job?

Hard to see how that's somehow that antithesis of "ridiculous" in a country that currently has almost no barriers to gun ownership and yet fewer than 40% of households own one, with the percentage dropping over the past three decades. The numbers on people interesting or willing to conceal-carry are clearly much, much lower. Probably not the solution, although it might make a great science fiction novel.

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donnaladd 7 years, 5 months ago

It's one thing for some people to want to own weapons; it is truly mind-boggling that they think they can force it on others. This ain't that country, folks. We have the freedom to not arms ourselves, and we also have the right to call for these "gun-free zones" a minority of y'all like to wig out about. Sorry.

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bubbat 7 years, 5 months ago

Donna- If gun free zones aren't part of the problem, then explain to me why every mass shooting since 1950 has happened in Gun Free Zone, except for the Gifford shooting?

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robbier 7 years, 5 months ago

America needs a complete ban on firearms. A prohibition, if you will.

Have we ever tried a prohibition before? It would surely solve all our gun and violence problems.

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tstauffer 7 years, 5 months ago

@bubbat - I don't think you have your facts right. While a number of mass shootings have happened at schools, colleges and malls, etc., that might have been posted "gun free" a number of them have also occurred out of doors, at corporations and companies, in multiple locations, etc. (Link below is only since Columbine, and its seems at least a few weren't in "gun-free" zones.)

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012...">http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012...

Beyond that, though, the real question is whether there's anything causal that suggests (a.) that mass shooters choose locations exclusively because they are gun-free or (b.) that armed citizens stop mass shootings. If both of those things are unequivocally true, then the solution would clearly be to get rid of gun-free zones and encourage as much conceal-carry as possible.

Unfortunately, I think both suppositions would fall short.

First, (a.) I don't think it's been shown to be causal that mass shootings always happen in gun-free zone because the shooter believes they won't be challenged; if you look more closely at the history of mass shootings, you'll see that many shootings occur in places where people have a personal connection or perceived grievance. (And, as mentioned, they're not all "gun-free.")

While it's not impossible to imagine that a shooter might choose a school because he thinks he won't be shot quickly there (possible with Newtown), it's also easy to imagine that he's going into the school because of a grudge (Columbine). An irrational guy with a semi-automatic and a bag full of bullets can feel pretty powerful; and, it appears for many mass shooters, the event itself is a form of suicide.

Second, (b.) do concealed weapons owners stop tragedies from happening or limit their effect while the shooting is taking place? The answer appears to be -- rarely, and almost only when they have formal training in their background. (I believe the only cases we have of armed citizens who weren't off-duty cops were both cases where the killer was subdued while trying to flee.)

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_an...">http://www.slate.com/articles/news_an...

(continued)

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tstauffer 7 years, 5 months ago

Here's the basic idea. I think you'd find that there's broad-based support for the practice of placing U.S. Marshalls on airplanes after 9-11, even from people who are generally against the idea that more guns equal fewer shootings.

Following that model, you might end up with the same support of, for instance, encouraging former cops, returning soldiers and vets to get placed in schools around the country, where they could get tactical training for dealing with these situations if they were also qualified to teach.

Likewise, teachers without the background but with the interested in carrying might be able to get some vigorous level of certification that would make people feel safe with the idea of that teacher having gun in schools.

But gun-owners like yourself seem to believe that simply allowing the gun in the classroom is going to either have a deterrent effect or is going to mean the successfully shooting and disabling of a well-armed intruder in a way that stops the shooting. And some of us are hard-pressed to follow that logic without a little more evidence.

A couple of thoughts:

(1) studies have shown that drawing a gun for personal defense actually increases the likelihood that you'll be shot; it makes sense that a determined shooter is going to begin by shooting the person they think is most likely to be armed. For instance, a determined schools shooter might focus on shooting the teacher first while he still has the element of surprise. (I apologize for the gruesome thought.)

(2) If you're not going to test and license gun owners for competence and you're going to have "will issue" laws on the books for conceal carry, then you're going to have to put up with the idea that we're totally aware that gun owners can act like this:

So, while it's comforting to know that you feel confident that armed citizens in gun-free zones is the answer, some folks might end up requiring just a little more study on the matter.

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bubbat 7 years, 5 months ago

Todd= Don't think my facts are wrong, our definition of a gun free zones are different, if firearms are not allowed in any area whether by the Gun Free School Zone Act , State law, City law or company policy it's a "gun free" zone. The only one I see on the that link posted that's not a gun free zone either by law or company policy is the Gifford shooting, like I pointed out early. There is no denying the majority do happen in gun free zones no matter who's definition used. I don't think a company or business should be made to allow guns on their property, it's their property they have the right to control that. I never said doing away with gun free zones will solve all shootings, but with the majority happening in them , it definitely needs to be looked at why mass shooters choose them, the most obvious conclusion is the victims will be unarmed. I agree it needs to be studied more, instead of being dismissed off hand like Donna did saying Gun Free Zones were NRA propaganda earlier in another thread. Personally I think we should hire unemployed vets and use them as armed protection for our schools not to teach. Even if teachers or other school officials are allowed to carrying firearms Even gun owners like myself :) aren't suggesting they be allowed to do so without firearms training.

  1. Don't know who you studies were done by but most legitimate studies estimates that between 1 and 2 million armed citizens defend themselves and others against crime every year with no harm to them selves.
    How would a mass killer know which teacher was armed? Teacher or school official would have more of an element of surprise. Concealed carry means concealed.

  2. We seen those videos too, and complain about how most are ignoring basic firearms safety rules, a bunch of idiots for giving 75 lbs girls magnum rifle and pistols to shoot that hammer 200 lb men. We also remove them from the shooting ranges for the safety violations, we don't allow people that that to be around us, not much we can do about them on their own property or public property. Lucky they are in the minority among gun owners.

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tstauffer 7 years, 5 months ago

Bubba: In the list I linked to, outdoors in Tulsa is not a gun-free zone (conceal carry in Oklahoma?), Accent Signature Systems is a company, Cafe Racer Espresso is a business, Salon Meritage is a business, IHOP in Nevada is a business, Hartford Beer Distributor is a business, Fort Hood is an army base, Capitol Hill in Seattle is outdoors (conceal carry in Washington State?), Lockheed Martin is a private business, Edgewater Technology is a private business, and Atlanta day-trader firms are private businesses.

Unless your assertion is that the government should be able to tell people that they can have guns on private property, etc., then the only point you may be making is that schools shouldn't be gun-free. Otherwise, even if some of those on the list are posted gun-free, what are you going to do about it?

Second, sure, you could make a case that mass-murders don't generally go into gun clubs or police stations, or if they do they don't get very far and thus don't get reported as mass murders.

But I don't think you've otherwise made a case that "gun-free" zones are causal in mass murders, nor is it clear that the location for mass shootings are rationally chosen by the shooter in each case based on whether or not it's posted gun-free. Again, most of those people had a "reason" to be in those places whether they were posted gun-free or not.

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