Contributing to evidence-based health policy decisions
Before the 1968 Gun Control Act, there were almost no federal gun-control laws. The exception was the National Firearms Act of 1934, which set up an extremely severe registration and tax system for automatic weapons and has remained in force for 78 years.
“[F]irearms are the most heavily regulated consumer product in the United States. If someone wants to purchase an AR-15 or any other firearm, the store must first get permission for the sale from the FBI or its state counterpart. Permission is denied if the buyer is in one of nine categories of “prohibited persons,” including felons, domestic-violence misdemeanants, and persons who have been adjudicated mentally ill or alcoholic.”
Knight, Brian G., State Gun Policy and Cross-State Externalities: Evidence from Crime Gun Tracing (September 2011). NBER Working Paper Series, Vol. w17469, pp. -, 2011.
This paper provides a theoretical and empirical analysis of cross-state externalities associated with gun regulations in the context of the gun trafficking market. Using gun tracing data, which identify the source state for crime guns recovered in destination states, we find that firearms in this market tend to flow from states with weak gun laws to states with strict gun laws, satisfying a necessary condition for the existence of cross-state externalities in the theoretical model. We also find an important role for transportation costs in this market, with gun flows more significant between nearby states; this finding suggests that externalities are spatial in nature. Finally, we present evidence that criminal possession of guns is higher in states exposed to weak gun laws in nearby states.
“The hypothesis of “more guns = more deaths” is demonstrably false over the past 28 years of documented American history.” (WallsoftheCity.Net: September 16, 2011)
Joe Palazzolo and Carl Bialik. Lack of Data Slows Studies of Gun Control and Crime. Wall Street Journal, 12/21/12. “The National Research Council, part of the congressionally chartered National Academies, analyzed the body of research on gun laws and gun violence and found no credible evidence that laws permitting residents to carry guns had decreased or increased violent crime, or that gun limits keep weapons out of the hands of criminals.”
A 2000 New York Times study of 100 rampage murderers found that 47 were mentally ill.
In the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry Law (2008), Jason C. Matejkowski and his co-authors reported that 16% of state prisoners who had perpetrated murders were mentally ill.
A 2011 paper by Steven P. Segal at the University of California, Berkeley, “Civil Commitment Law, Mental Health Services, and U.S. Homicide Rates,” found that a third of the state-to-state variation in homicide rates was attributable to the strength or weakness of involuntary civil-commitment laws.
Pregnancies from Rape Prove Tough to Count (Wall Street Journal, 8.25-26.12). The number of pregnancies resulting from rapes has been estimated to be between 25,000 and 32,101. But various estimates have been reported as low as 225 and 83,000. In part this relates to widely varying estimates about the number of annual rapes, which in official government publications range from 64,000 to as many as 1.3 million a year.
FBI counted about 84,767 forcible rapes (i.e., excluding statutory rapes) in 2010 based on crime reports submitted by local law enforcement agencies.
Department of Justice National Crime Victimization Survey counted 188,380 rapes and sexual assaults in 2010.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducts a victimization survey that counted 1.3 million rapes in 2010.
NCVS Victimization Analysis Tool (NVAT)is the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) interactive online tool that gives the public instant access to the largest collection of data on criminal victimization in the United States.
UNODC Homicide Statistics. The backbone of the 2011 Global Study on Homicide, UNODC Homicide Statistics is a collection of statistical data on intentional homicide (unlawful death purposefully inflicted on a person by another person). The dataset covers 207 countries and territories and provides data on homicide levels, trends and contextual characteristics drawn from a variety of national and international sources relating to homicide.