Gun Control Doesn't Help Ease Violence.......

John blueoval at 1SMARTISP.NET
Mon Jan 3 12:43:17 MST 2005

Gun control doesn't reduce crime, violence, say studies
National Academy of Sciences, Justice Dept. reports find no
benefits to restricting ownership of firearms

Posted: December 30, 2004
1:00 a.m. Eastern

© 2004

WASHINGTON   While it is an article of faith among gun-control
proponents that government restrictions on firearms reduces
violence and crime, two new U.S. studies could find no evidence to
support such a conclusion.

The National Academy of Sciences issued a 328-page report based on
253 journal articles, 99 books, 43 government publications, a
survey of 80 different gun-control laws and some of its own
independent study. In short, the panel could find no link between
restrictions on gun ownership and lower rates of crime, firearms
violence or even accidents with guns.

The panel was established during the Clinton administration and
all but one of its members were known to favor gun control.

"Policy questions related to gun ownership and proposals for gun
control touch on some of the most contentious issues in American
politics: Should regulations restrict who may possess firearms?
Should there be restrictions on the number or types of guns that
can be purchased? Should safety locks be required? These and many
related policy questions cannot be answered definitively because
of large gaps in the existing science base," said Charles F.
Wellford, professor in the department of criminology and criminal
justice at the University of Maryland and chairman of the
committee that wrote the report.

However, the National Research Council decided even more thorough
research on the topic is needed.

Many studies linking guns to suicide and criminal violence produce
conflicting conclusions, have statistical flaws and often do not
show whether gun ownership results in certain outcomes, the report

A serious limit in such analyses is the lack of good data on who
owns firearms and on individual encounters with violence,
according to the study.

The report noted that many schools have programs intended to
prevent gun violence. However, it added, some studies suggest that
children's curiosity and teenagers' attraction to risk make them
resistant to the programs or that the projects actually increase
the appeal of guns.

Few of these programs, the report concludes, have been adequately

The report calls for the development of a National Violent Death
Reporting System and a National Incident-Based Reporting System to
begin collecting data.

The study by the Research Council, the operating arm of the
National Academy of Science, was sponsored by the National
Institute of Justice, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
Joyce Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation and the David and
Lucile Packard Foundation.

"While more research is always helpful, the notion that we have
learned nothing flies in the face of common sense," said John
Lott, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a
critic of gun-control laws. "The NAS panel should have concluded
as the existing research has: Gun control doesn't help."

Meanwhile, a study released by the Justice Department suggesting
background checks at gun shows would do little to keep firearms
out of the hands of criminals.

The study noted the number of criminals who obtained guns from
retail outlets was dwarfed by the number of those who picked up
their arms through means other than legal purchases. The report
was the result of interviews with more than 18,000 state and
federal inmates conducted nationwide. It found that nearly 80
percent of those interviewed got their guns from friends or family
members, or on the street through illegal purchases.

Less than 9 percent were bought at retail outlets and only
seven-tenths of 1 percent came from gun shows.

The Justice Department's interviews also showed so-called "assault
weapons" are not a major cause of gun violence. Only about 8
percent of the inmates used one of the models covered in the
now-expired assault weapons ban, signed into law by the Clinton
administration in 1994.

More information about the Rushtalk mailing list