Saturday, December 26, 2015

Missouri: Fewer Gun Restrictions and More Gun Killings

The NRA and its political whores love to say "guns don't kill, people do," yet a new study that has tracked the decline in gun restrictions in Missouri found that - as any rational person would expect - the easier it is to purchase guns, the more gun killings increase.   With deaths from gun violence now exceeding deaths from auto accidents an a number of states, it is simply ridiculous to pretend that lax gun controls don't increase gun violence and killings involving guns.  Watching the Today Show this morning while preparing for a family get together we were hosting, out of the "top stories from 2015," roughly 3/4th involved gun violence.  True, strict gun control laws might not have stopped all of the tragedies, but many of the perpetrators might very well have not been able to secure the guns that they used to create mayhem and death.  Here are highlights from a New York Times piece that looks at the lesson to be learned from Missouri's short sighted easing of gun restrictions:

In the past decade, Missouri has been a natural experiment in what happens when a state relaxes its gun control laws. For decades, it had one of the nation’s strongest measures to keep guns from dangerous people: a requirement that all handgun buyers get a gun permit by undergoing a background check in person at a sheriff’s office.

But the legislature repealed that in 2007 and approved a flurry of other changes, including, last year, lowering the legal age to carry a concealed gun to 19. What has followed may help answer a central question of the gun control debate: Does allowing people to more easily obtain guns make society safer or more dangerous?

[T]he Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, found that in the first six years after the state repealed the requirement for comprehensive background checks and purchase permits, the gun homicide rate was 16 percent higher than it was the six years before. During the same period, the national rate declined by 11 percent. After Professor Webster controlled for poverty and other factors that could influence the homicide rate, and took into account homicide rates in other states, the result was slightly higher, rising by 18 percent in Missouri.

Before the repeal, from 1999 to 2006, Missouri’s gun homicide rate was 13.8 percent higher than the national rate. From 2008 to 2014, it was 47 percent higher. (The new data also showed that the national death rate from guns was equal to that from motor vehicle crashes for the first time since the government began systematically tracking it.)

California, where the San Bernardino gun attacks happened, has some of the strictest laws in the country. But supporters say mass shootings, while attention-grabbing, account for fewer than 2 percent of the more than 30,000 gun deaths in the United States each year. They say tougher gun laws help reduce the slow, steady stream of killings that pile up quietly in communities like this one, often poor, often of color, and cut down on suicides, which make up two-thirds of all gun deaths in the United States.

In 1995 Connecticut enacted a law similar to the one Missouri repealed, and gun homicides declined by 40 percent in the 10 years that followed, he found.

Missouri began changing its gun laws after the Republican Party won control of the State House in 2002 for the first time in years.  . . . .The changes tapped into profound differences between rural and urban Americans about guns. The state legislature is predominantly white, rural and suburban, but the effects of the laws it makes are felt largely in Missouri’s cities, where gun homicides are one of the biggest causes of death for young black men.

“There is this idea that law-abiding citizens’ rights are being secured,” said Richard Rosenfeld, a professor of criminology at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. “In fact, it’s the people most inclined to do harm whose privileges are being secured.”

As Rosilyn Temple tells it, guns have become so prevalent in her Kansas City neighborhood that owning one is about as common as owning a cellphone. “You can’t buy liquor, but you can carry a gun,” she said, alluding to the legal age to obtain a concealed carry permit. The legal age to buy alcohol in Missouri is 21.

Of all the gun law changes, the one that most affected homicides was the repeal of the permit law requiring a background check at a sheriff’s office, Professor Webster argued. It had applied to any prospective gun buyer — even someone buying from a private seller.

Now permits are no longer required. Gun buyers must still pass background checks if they buy guns in stores, which send applicants’ personal information to the F.B.I. Gun control proponents say those checks are less rigorous than before, though gun rights supporters insist they are just as thorough. Buying from a private seller requires no check at all.

Guns also confer status. And because the repercussions for carrying them without the proper authorization are so minor, there is little risk in showing them off.  “The big thing used to be having a fancy car and driving it around,” Chief Dotson said. “Now, it’s having a pistol with extended magazine and posting pictures of it on Facebook.”
In this area, my view as that rednecks and poor whites who have to have a jacked up trucks and guns are trying to compensate for their small penis size.  A "bad ass" truck and a trove of guns do not make on a man regardless of what the NRA would have one believe.

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