SciCombinator

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Concept: Firearm

431

Racism is related to policies preferences and behaviors that adversely affect blacks and appear related to a fear of blacks (e.g., increased policing, death penalty). This study examined whether racism is also related to gun ownership and opposition to gun controls in US whites.

Concepts: Policy, Public policy, Firearm, Gun politics, Open carry, Gun politics in the United States

257

The horrific loss of life at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012 has prompted a national conversation about guns and mental illness in the United States.This tragedy occurred less than 6 months after 70 people were shot in a movie theater in Colorado and after highly publicized mass shootings in Arizona and at Virginia Tech. These four events share two common characteristics: all four shooters were apparently mentally ill, and all four used guns with large-capacity magazines, allowing them to fire multiple rounds of ammunition without reloading. As policymakers consider options to reduce gun violence, they . . .

Concepts: U.S. state, Mental disorder, Mental illness, Projectile, Firearm, Colorado, Weapon, Fairfield County, Connecticut

241

In the USA, the relationship between the legal availability of guns and the firearm-related homicide rate has been debated. It has been argued that unrestricted gun availability promotes the occurrence of firearm-induced homicides. It has also been pointed out that gun possession can protect potential victims when attacked. This paper provides a first mathematical analysis of this tradeoff, with the goal to steer the debate towards arguing about assumptions, statistics, and scientific methods. The model is based on a set of clearly defined assumptions, which are supported by available statistical data, and is formulated axiomatically such that results do not depend on arbitrary mathematical expressions. According to this framework, two alternative scenarios can minimize the gun-related homicide rate: a ban of private firearms possession, or a policy allowing the general population to carry guns. Importantly, the model identifies the crucial parameters that determine which policy minimizes the death rate, and thus serves as a guide for the design of future epidemiological studies. The parameters that need to be measured include the fraction of offenders that illegally possess a gun, the degree of protection provided by gun ownership, and the fraction of the population who take up their right to own a gun and carry it when attacked. Limited data available in the literature were used to demonstrate how the model can be parameterized, and this preliminary analysis suggests that a ban of private firearm possession, or possibly a partial reduction in gun availability, might lower the rate of firearm-induced homicides. This, however, should not be seen as a policy recommendation, due to the limited data available to inform and parameterize the model. However, the model clearly defines what needs to be measured, and provides a basis for a scientific discussion about assumptions and data.

Concepts: Scientific method, Epidemiology, Statistics, Mathematics, Firearm, Gun, Cannon, Firearms

34

A variety of claims about possible associations between gun ownership rates, mental illness burden, and the risk of firearm-related deaths have been put forward. However, systematic data on this issue among various countries remain scant. Our objective was to assess whether the popular notion “guns make a nation safer” has any merits.

Concepts: Firearm

32

Firearms have been a prevalent cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States since about the turn of the 20th century. Firearm deaths, including homicides, suicides, and unintentional shootings, generally increased from 1900 until the mid-1930s, dipped through the mid-1960s, and rose through the 1990s, reaching a plateau beginning in approximately 2000 that continues to the present. Motor vehicle deaths once far exceeded firearm deaths. However, thanks to investments in research and vehicle and roadway design, motor vehicle deaths have declined substantially and firearm deaths now stand to surpass them. In contrast, there remains a paucity of research about ways in which to mitigate mortality and morbidity caused by firearms. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print January 19, 2017: e1-e3. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2016.303619).

Concepts: Epidemiology, Death, United States, 20th century, Suicide, Firearm, Rifle, Firearms

31

Objectives. We explored differences in criminal convictions between holders and nonholders of a concealed handgun license (CHL) in Texas. Methods. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) provides annual data on criminal convictions of holders and nonholders of CHLs. We used 2001 to 2009 DPS data to investigate the differences in the distribution of convictions for these 2 groups across 9 types of criminal offenses. We calculated z scores for the differences in the types of crimes for which CHL holders and nonholders were convicted. Results. CHL holders were much less likely than nonlicensees to be convicted of crimes. Most nonholder convictions involved higher-prevalence crimes (burglary, robbery, or simple assault). CHL holders' convictions were more likely to involve lower-prevalence crimes, such as sexual offenses, gun offenses, or offenses involving a death. Conclusions. Our results imply that expanding the settings in which concealed carry is permitted may increase the risk of specific types of crimes, some quite serious in those settings. These increased risks may be relatively small. Nonetheless, policymakers should consider these risks when contemplating reducing the scope of gun-free zones. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print November 15, 2012: e1-e6. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2012.300807).

Concepts: Crime, Conviction, Criminal law, Firearm, Concealed carry in the United States, Crimes, Assault, Theft

31

Suicide is a serious public health concern that is responsible for almost 1 million deaths each year worldwide. It is commonly an impulsive act by a vulnerable individual. The impulsivity of suicide provides opportunities to reduce the risk of suicide by restricting access to lethal means. In the United States, firearms, particularly handguns, are the most common means of suicide. Despite strong empirical evidence that restriction of access to firearms reduces suicides, access to firearms in the United States is generally subject to few restrictions. Implementation and evaluation of measures such as waiting periods and permit requirements that restrict access to handguns should be a top priority for reducing deaths from impulsive suicide in the United States. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print November 15, 2012: e1-e4. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2012.300964).

Concepts: Public health, Death, United States, Policy, Bipolar disorder, Suicide, Firearm, Gun

29

We examined student support for a policy that would allow carrying of concealed handguns on university campuses. Large percentages of students at 2 universities expressed very low levels of comfort with the idea of permitting concealed handgun carrying on campus, suggesting that students may not welcome less restrictive policies. Students held slightly different opinions about concealed handguns on and off campus, suggesting that they view the campus environment as unique with respect to concealed handgun carrying.

Concepts: University, Policy, Student, Campus, Public policy, Firearm, Universities and colleges, Handgun

28

The objectives of this autopsy-based audit of firearm-related fatalities were to acquire data to inform policy decisions and to assess the probability of the injured arriving alive at a hospital and receiving definitive care. EVALUATED VARIABLES: Demographics; co-morbidities; location and intention of the injury; toxicology; types of firearms; Abbreviated Injury Scale; Injury Severity Score (ISS); transfer means and time; and location of death. RESULTS: Of a total of 370 fatalities, 85.7% were male. The median age was 38 (9-95) years. Suicides (47%) and assaults (45.1%) were the most common underlying intentions. The most seriously injured regions were the head (44.5%), thorax (25.7%), abdomen (10.7%), and spine (5.7%). Of the 370 total subjects, 4.9% had an ISS<16 and 59.5% had an ISS≤74; both groups were classified as potentially preventable deaths. The majority (84%) died at the scene, and only 9.8% left the emergency department alive for further treatment. Multivariate analyses documented that postmortem ISS is an independent factor that predicts the probability of the injured reaching a hospital alive and receiving definitive care. Individuals injured in greater Athens and those most seriously injured in the face, abdomen or spine had significantly greater chances of reaching a hospital alive and receiving definitive care, whereas those injured by a shotgun and the positive toxicology group were significantly less likely to. In conclusion, this study provides data to inform policy decisions, calls for a surveillance network and establishes a baseline for estimating the probability regarding the location of firearm-related deaths.

Concepts: Death, Demography, Surgery, Multivariate statistics, Injury, Policy, Injury Severity Score, Firearm

28

Fragmentation of the lead core of conventional wildlife hunting rifle bullets causes contamination of the target with lead. The community of scavenger species which feed on carcasses or viscera discarded by hunters are regularly exposed to these lead fragments and may die by acute or chronic lead intoxication, as demonstrated for numerous species such as white-tailed eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla) where it is among the most important sources of mortality. Not only does hunting with conventional ammunition deposit lead in considerable quantities in the environment, it also significantly delays or threatens the recovery of endangered raptor populations. Although lead-free bullets might be considered a suitable alternative that addresses the source of these problems, serious reservations have been expressed as to their ability to quickly and effectively kill a hunted animal. To assess the suitability of lead-free projectiles for hunting practice, the wounding potential of conventional bullets was compared with lead-free bullets under real life hunting conditions. Wound dimensions were regarded as good markers of the projectiles' killing potential. Wound channels in 34 killed wild ungulates were evaluated using computed tomography and post-mortem macroscopical examination. Wound diameters caused by conventional bullets did not differ significantly to those created by lead-free bullets. Similarly, the size of the maximum cross-sectional area of the wound was similar for both bullet types. Injury patterns suggested that all animals died by exsanguination. This study demonstrates that lead-free bullets are equal to conventional hunting bullets in terms of killing effectiveness and thus equally meet the welfare requirements of killing wildlife as painlessly as possible. The widespread introduction and use of lead-free bullets should be encouraged as it prevents environmental contamination with a seriously toxic pollutant and contributes to the conservation of a wide variety of threatened or endangered raptors and other members of the guild of scavengers.

Concepts: Toxicology, Lead, Hunting, Firearm, Bullet, White-tailed Eagle, Rifle, Ammunition