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View Full Version : Study: JAMA Internal Medicine says states with most gun laws have fewer deaths



BrianY
10-03-2013, 12:40 PM
All the blah blah blah about the government shutdown, Obamacare and the debt ceiling is getting sooo tedious. It's time to liven things up with a good ol' fashioned Bilge gun debate! Accordingly, I offer this bit of bloody horse flesh to the shark tank. Enjoy!

http://www.wptv.com/dpp/news/national/gun-control-study-2013-jama-internal-medicine-says-states-with-most-gun-laws-have-fewer-deaths


States with the most gun laws experienced a lower overall mortality rate from firearms than did states with the fewest laws, researchers in Boston reported in a study published Wednesday.
"States that have the most laws have a 42% decreased rate of firearm fatalities compared to those with the least laws," said Dr. Eric W. Fleegler, an attending physician in pediatric emergency medicine at Boston Children's Hospital and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.
Those states with the most gun laws saw a 40% reduction in firearm-related homicides and a 37% reduction in firearm-related suicides, he said in a telephone interview.
Fleegler, the lead author in the study published online in JAMA Internal Medicine, reached that conclusion by analyzing data reported to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2007 through 2010 and then correlating those figures with state-level firearm legislation aggregated by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
Figuring out how many laws existed in each state was difficult. "What do you do when one law has seven parts" Fleegler asked. "Is that seven laws? Is that one law?"
So the researchers checked the state laws to determine whether they were intended to curb firearm trafficking; strengthen background checks beyond what's required under the Brady Hangun Violence Prevention Act; ensure child safety; ban military-style assault weapons; or restrict guns in public places.
Based on how many of those categories a state's laws covered, the researchers calculated a "legislative strength score," which they compared with firearm-related mortality rates in all 50 states. The legislative strength scores ranged from 0 in Utah to 24 out of a possible 28 in Massachusetts.
Over the four years scrutinized, 121,084 firearm fatalities occurred, with rates ranging from a high of 17.9 per 100,000 in Louisiana to a low of 2.9 per 100,000 in Hawaii.
When compared with the quartile of states with the fewest laws, the quartile of states that had the most laws had a lower firearm suicide rate and a lower firearm homicide rate, Fleegler said. The absolute difference in the suicide rates was 6.25 deaths per 100,000; in the homicide rates it was 0.40 deaths per 100,000.
"When you're talking about 300 million people, you're talking about thousands of deaths that would not otherwise have occurred," Fleegler said.
Even on a state level, some figures were striking. For example, there was a three-fold difference in firearm-related suicide between Massachusetts and Louisiana, which has few laws limiting the use of firearms.
"We anticipated that there was going to be a relationship between state laws and firearm mortality," he said. "The magnitude of the effect, a 42% reduction, that was a big number to look at."
The authors acknowledged that they showed only an association; they did not prove that more laws on firearms translate into fewer deaths.
Fleegler said his study "speaks to the importance of having legislation. One of the things that we've learned over time is that there are laws that have been passed that have large loopholes, and those loopholes make the enforcement and efficacy of the laws diminished. There are ways to make these laws better and stronger."
But Dr. Garen Wintemute, an emergency medicine physician and director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis, urged caution in interpreting the study in an accompanying editorial published in the journal.
"Correlation does not imply causation," he wrote. "This fundamental limitation is beyond the power of the authors to redress."
He added that the list of laws takes no account of differences between states in the specifics of laws and takes no account of how hard states worked to enforce those laws.
The biggest difficulty, Wintemute continued, is that almost all of the associations between more laws and fewer deaths disappeared when the investigators took into account the prevalence of gun ownership in each state.
"This is a problem because there are two completely opposite explanations for why that might be the case," Wintemute said in a video issued by his university. "One is that these laws work, and that they work by decreasing the rate of gun ownership in a state, because we know that the rate of gun ownership is associated with the rate of violent death in a state.
"But the other possibility, that's at least as plausible, is that it's easier to enact these laws in states that have a low rate of gun ownership to begin with. Gun ownership is not as important in those states, there's less opposition."
He added, "We really don't know what to do with the results. We cannot say that these laws -- individually or in aggregate -- drive firearm death rates up or down."
He predicted that policy makers would not be able to draw useful conclusions from the work. "The conclusion that I draw is we need to get this question answered right."
Wintemute said the researchers did a good job with the limited data they had available but said the larger problem dates back to the 1990s, when the National Rifle Association inserted language into the CDC's appropriation that limited its work on how to reduce firearm injuries.
Now, as lawmakers are looking for evidence on what works, "investigators like this group are reduced to doing the best they can with what's available," he said.
For his part, Fleegler bemoaned the dearth of data from individual cities about firearms-related injuries and noted that data on enforcement of those laws were also spotty. "We agree that there is a lot more research that needs to be done, that funding to allow robust research and robust collection of data is what's really going to move the science forward for understanding how we can reduce deaths," he said


Read more: http://www.wptv.com/dpp/news/national/gun-control-study-2013-jama-internal-medicine-says-states-with-most-gun-laws-have-fewer-deaths#ixzz2ggK27iYb

seanz
10-03-2013, 01:16 PM
Proof that a well regulated militia is a safe militia!

Curtism
10-03-2013, 01:27 PM
Here's some additional on-topic chum. This study was done, in part, to present to a congressional hearing on gun laws. Unfortunately that hearing was canceled due to it coinciding with the day the shooter that let fly at the Navy facility.


Anti-gun group study: In states with 'stand your ground' laws, justifiable homicide rates soar

A new study by a coalition of gun-control groups, including Mayors Against Illegal Guns, found that in states that have implemented "stand your ground" laws, the number of justifiable homicides has skyrocketed.

The rate is up 53 percent in 22 states, according to the study. In Florida, the average annual rate is up 200 percent. In states that do not have those laws, the rate has declined marginally.

The study, co-sponsored by the National Urban League and VoteVets.org, also concludes that the number of deaths of black people deemed to be justifiable in states with those laws has doubled.

http://http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/trayvon-martin/os-guns-stand-your-ground-problems-20130916,0,2568352.story

These findings blow some sizeable holes in the notion that blacks aren't being disproportionately effected by the stand your ground laws.

ljb5
10-03-2013, 02:45 PM
It is interesting, and most certainly counterintuitive.

My only quibble: based on the article, there's really no explanation why this may or may not be a case of causation/correlation disconnect: is it the lack of gun laws that results in reduced firearm deaths, or is some other factor at play?


I think you've got that backwards.

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People love to throw around the phrase, "Correlation does not equal causation" as if that argument alone could disprove causation.

Ian McColgin
10-03-2013, 02:52 PM
Quickly glancing at a couple of mappings and not doing it very carefully, it looks to me like there's an obvious corrolation between saturation of gun ownership and gun deaths. This study may show that gun laws reduce the saturation of gun ownership. So maybe indirect causality.

BrianY
10-03-2013, 09:21 PM
My first thought upon reading thevarticle was that it seems obvious that the greater the number of guns there are, the greater the number of gun-related incidents there will be and that alone may account for the findings of the study. The again, it may not be a number thing so much as it is a cultural thing. The peopel in a state with more gun laws (presumably supported by the people) may be culturally less likely to be inclined to use guns when they commit violent acts. Maybe not.

As the article points out, the reason for the correlation between gun laws and gun violence is unclear. The most imortant point made in the article, IMO, is that the data needed to figure out the reason in unavailable because the gun lobby has prevented research into this and other gun-related questions. It seems to me that this is reprehensible considering the importance of the gun violence issue in our culture.

TomF
10-03-2013, 09:27 PM
What we'll need to know is whether the overall suicide or homocide rates are comparable, independent of the tool used to achieve the end. It could be, after all, that people in Louisiana and Mass. are equally deadly, but those in Mass. are forced to disproportionately use handkerchiefs, tire irons and Bic pens.

One can't be hasty about these things.

David W Pratt
10-04-2013, 11:30 AM
Wikipedia lists California's gun death rate as 4.9/100k,
Vermont's as 1.1/1`00k,
DC as 21.8
As you probably know DC and CA have very restrictive gun laws, VT has very relaxed gun laws
Not what the study predicts

Ian McColgin
10-04-2013, 11:38 AM
The study does not "predict" anything. It provides some general corrolations. The notion that Vermont proves something is about as reasoned as claiming that Yao Ming proves many Chinese are tall.

Full Tilt
10-04-2013, 11:59 AM
Here's some additional on-topic chum. This study was done, in part, to present to a congressional hearing on gun laws. Unfortunately that hearing was canceled due to it coinciding with the day the shooter that let fly at the Navy facility.



http://http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/trayvon-martin/os-guns-stand-your-ground-problems-20130916,0,2568352.story

These findings blow some sizeable holes in the notion that blacks aren't being disproportionately effected by the stand your ground laws.

I don't see it.

"in states with stand your ground laws justifiable homicide rates soar"

Doesn't that mean that the number of homicides remains the same, but they are just classified differently?

ljb5
10-04-2013, 12:44 PM
Wikipedia lists California's gun death rate as 4.9/100k,
Vermont's as 1.1/1`00k,
DC as 21.8
As you probably know DC and CA have very restrictive gun laws, VT has very relaxed gun laws
Not what the study predicts

Would you care to read the study? It might contain some information.

David W Pratt
10-04-2013, 01:27 PM
If you checc MMWR for 5-13-11/60 (18); 573-578
you will see that the CDC concluded that the way to reduce gun violence among urban youth was to:
1) Increase youth skills and opportunities
2)Improve parenting, mentoring skills
3)Improve social and economic characteristics of schools
4)Apply mediation techniques to reduce violence overall
A little thought leads to the idea that if guns themselves were the problem, there would be no racial disparity in the perpetrators of gun violence

ljb5
10-04-2013, 01:51 PM
If you checc MMWR for 5-13-11/60 (18); 573-578
you will see that the CDC concluded that the way to reduce gun violence among urban youth was to:
1) Increase youth skills and opportunities
2)Improve parenting, mentoring skills
3)Improve social and economic characteristics of schools
4)Apply mediation techniques to reduce violence overall

No, that's not what it says. If you're interested you may read that report here: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6018a1.htm?s_cid=mm6018a1_w

It doesn't use the word "concluded" anywhere.
It doesn't recommend any way as "the way" to reduce gun violence.
It mentions legislative efforts, which you conveniently failed to mention... and it says all methods need to be studied more.

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Since I've provided a link, you might have a chance to give it a read. You probably shouldn't skip over the paragraph that begins "Notable patterns by geographic region..."

BrianY
10-04-2013, 01:55 PM
A little thought leads to the idea that if guns themselves were the problem, there would be no racial disparity in the perpetrators of gun violence

True enough, but that misses the point. "Guns" in and of themselves are not the problem. The problem is that the easy and ubiquitous availability of guns combined with social and economic problems leads to violent acts being committed by people wielding guns - acts which by virture of the tool employed (a gun) are particularly devasting in their effect.

Gun control is not about "controlling guns". It's about "controlling access to them" and limiting what can be done with them.

Hwyl
10-04-2013, 02:04 PM
If you checc MMWR for 5-13-11/60 (18); 573-578
you will see that the CDC concluded that the way to reduce gun violence among urban youth was to:
1) Increase youth skills and opportunities
2)Improve parenting, mentoring skills
3)Improve social and economic characteristics of schools
4)Apply mediation techniques to reduce violence overall
5) Get rid of the guns.


I edited it to make sense.