Monthly Archives: October 2015

6 Americans Have Been Shot by Their Dogs

By Adam Johnson, AlterNet, October 28, 2015

The ubiquity of guns in America is summed up perfectly in one depressing statistic.

dogs_gunsPhoto Credit: Shutterstock.com

The always enjoyable Christopher Ingraham over at Washington Post’s Wonk Blog noticed something pretty crazy: At least six Americans over the past five years have been shot by their dogs. While generally rare, these accidents are relatively frequent in our country compared to other countries, namely due to Americans’ love of guns, hunting and dogs.

Ingraham’s investigation was in response to a recent story of an Indiana woman who was shot in the leg by her Labrador retriever, Trigger (yes, that’s the dog’s real name), who stepped on her shotgun which was laying around loaded with the safety off….

read more at AlterNet

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How many guns are in America? A web of state secrecy means no one knows

by Jessica Glenza, The Guardian, 10/17/15

A majority of states actively restrict access to information on gun permits, the FBI must destroy background checks and Congress bans funding for research

The American Public Health Association will join the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence in a national summit in Washington DC to tackle gun violence. They describe the issue as “one of the biggest public health issues facing America”.

But you wouldn’t know it from looking at the state of gun research.

Ask one of the dozen or so active firearms researchers in the United States, and they won’t be able to answer the fundamental question: how many guns are in America?

In addition to a 1996 ban on federal funding for firearms research that is cited as one of the most onerous obstacles to treating gun violence as a public health issue, states have passed dozens of laws in just the past five years that make once-public data on gun ownership confidential.

The best available data comes from a private survey by the University of Chicago, not the federal government, and that is still an estimate, finding that 79 million US households have guns. Other surveys have estimated there are between 270 and 310m guns.

“There are lots of holes in actually having any data on the number of guns in our communities,” said Fred Rivara, head of pediatrics at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center and Seattle Children’s Hospital…

read more at The Guardian

Concealed Carry Myth of Self Protection-NY Times Oct. 26th, 2015

The more that sensational gun violence afflicts the nation, the more that the myth of the vigilant citizen packing a legally permitted concealed weapon, fully prepared to stop the next mass shooter in his tracks, is promoted.  This foolhardy notion of quick-draw resistance, however, is dramatically contradicted by a research project showing that, since 2007, at least 763 people have been killed in 579 shootings that did not involve self-defense. Tellingly, the vast majority of these concealed-carry, licensed shooters killed themselves or others rather than taking down a perpetrator.
The death toll includes 29 mass killings of three or more people by concealed carry shooters who took 139 lives; 17 police officers shot to death, and — in the ultimate contradiction of concealed carry as a personal safety factor — 223 suicides. Compared with the 579 non-self-defense,concealed-carry shootings, there were only 21 cases in which self-defense was determined to be a factor.
The tally by the Violence Policy Center, a gun safety group, is necessarily incomplete because the gun lobby has been so successful in persuading gullible state and national legislators that concealed carry is essential to public safety, thus blocking the extensive data collection that should be mandatory for an obvious and severe public health problem. For that reason, the center has been forced to rely largely on news accounts and limited data in 38 states and the District of Columbia.
More complete research, unimpeded by the gun lobby, would undoubtedly uncover a higher death toll. But this truly vital information is kept largely from the public. A Gallup poll this month found 56 percent of Americans said the nation would be safer if more people carried concealed weapons.
Recent concealed-carry excesses include legal shooters charged by the police with recklessly pegging a few wild shots at shoplifters and other nonviolent suspects they see fleeing on public streets. This is dangerous vigilantism that endangers communities, the police warn, not the mythic self-defense being peddled as concealed carry.

State reps owe no apology for common-sense gun bill

editorial, Daily Local News from Delco Daily Times, 10/26/15

Last week when a group of state legislators and anti-gun violence advocates announced the introduction of a bill in the House of Representatives that would close a loophole in Pennsylvania’s background check law, they almost sounded apologetic.

“We are here today not to take anyone’s rights away. We’re not here today to trample the Second Amendment. We are here today to strike a reasonable balance between those rights and the ability of law enforcement across this commonwealth to protect the citizens of Pennsylvania,” said state Rep. Steve Santarsiero, D-31 of Bucks County.

He was speaking at a press conference promoting House Bill 1010 which he introduced, and companion Senate Bill 777 introduced by state Sen. Vincent Hughes, D-7 of Philadelphia, who was also at the event.

“All we’re trying to do (through the legislation) is to modernize the system, to use the technology that’s available to us to do a simple thing: Keep people a little bit safer and try to reduce the opportunity for violence and loss of life that could occur as a result of using guns. All we’re trying to do is save someone’s life,” said Hughes.

The bills they have introduced would amend the Pennsylvania Crimes Code to include universal background checks for the purchase of all firearms, short-barreled and long guns, whether from a licensed gun dealer or from an individual, including sales made at gun shows….

read more at Daily Local News

Columnists who argue against stronger gun laws part of the problem

The ‘Farce’ of Thomas Sowell on Guns
from letter by Tom Buglio, Daily Local News, 10/23/15

After the recent school shootings in Oregon, Arizona and Texas, the national debate on what to do about the gun violence problem in the country has once again heated up. The visible frustration and anger of the President talking about the Roseburg college shooting represented the feelings of millions of Americans who are sick to death of the mass, school and inner city shootings that are such regular events in our country.

You would think anyone in a position to influence public opinion would want to find answers to the bloodshed. Unfortunately, some, like columnists Thomas Sowell, once again use cries to stop the violence as a time to criticize the President and decry those who argue for stronger gun laws as having no data to support their claims. Never mind that Mr. Sowell produces no data to support his claim about how many lives are saved by defensive use of a gun.

The Brady Campaign, Americans For Responsible Solutions (Gabby Giffords’s group), Everytown for Gun Safety, and Cease Fire PA, among many other groups trying to reduce the violence, are awash in strong evidence and data that back up stronger gun laws leading to lower death rates. Here are some examples:

States with the strongest gun laws and lowest gun ownership have the lowest level of gun deaths: Continue reading

Anger and Sadness After Girl Hit by Stray Bullet on Long Island Dies

By ELI ROSENBERG and RICK ROJAS, New York Times, OCT. 18, 2015

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — The morning services had ended at Antioch Baptist Church, but in the early afternoon on Sunday, a crowd of well over 100 people was outside the red brick sanctuary. They were angry, and they were hurt.

On Friday evening, in a two-story house around the corner, a 12-year-old girl was in her living room when she was hit by a stray bullet fired from the street. The police said they found the girl, Dejah Joyner, with a single gunshot wound to the head. A day later, the authorities said, she was dead….

read more at New York Times

Democrats welcome the gun debate to the campaign

CBS8 News, 10/18/15

WASHINGTON (AP) — After 15 years of a virtual gag order on guns in presidential politics, Democrats are talking again.

President Barack Obama is considering more executive action on gun control. The front-runner in the Democratic race to replace him says she “will not be silenced” on guns. At the Democrats’ first debate in the presidential season, candidates jockeyed for bragging rights over who had the lowest rating from the National Rifle Association.

The return of the gun debate comes in the first White House contest since the December 2012 shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, that killed 20 children and six educators at an elementary school, and a string of mass shootings after that. The absence of gun legislation passed by Congress has spurred a steady call for action from the Democratic base….

keep reading at CBS8 News