Reports on Gun Control Laws

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Reports on Gun Control Laws

Postby crimefree » Wed, 2008-10-29 12:56

Research on Gun Control Laws

Wright, James D., Peter H. Rossi, and Kathleen Daly, Under the Gun: Weapons, Crime, and Violence in America (New York: Adline de Gruyter) 1983. Ch. 13.

Intending to build the case for comprehensive federal gun restrictions, the Carter administration handed out a major gun control research grant to sociology Professor James D. Wright, and his colleagues Peter Rossi and Kathleen Daly. Wright was already on record as favoring much stricter controls, and he and his colleagues were recognized as among sociology's brightest stars. Rossi, a University of Massachusetts professor, would later become President of the American Sociology Association. Wright, who formerly served as Director of the Social and Demographic Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, now teaches at Tulane. Daly was a relatively young scholar at the time, but she has since gone on to win the Hindelang Prize from the American Society of Criminology. The Hindelang Prize is awarded for the most significant contribution to criminology in a three-year period. Daly is the most recent winner, for her studies of women's issues. Anyway, Wright, Rossi, and Daly were asked to survey the state of research regarding the efficacy of gun control, presumably to show that gun control worked, and America needed more of it. But when Wright, Rossi, and Daly produced their report for the National Institute of Justice, they delivered a document quite different from the one they had expected to write. Carefully reviewing all existing research to date, the three scholars found no persuasive scholarly evidence that America's 20,000 gun control laws had reduced criminal violence. For example, the federal Gun Control Act of 1968, which banned most interstate gun sales, had no discernible impact on the criminal acquisition of guns from other states. Washington, D.C.'s 1977 ban on the ownership of handguns which had not already been registered in the District was not linked to any reduction in gun crime in the District. Even Detroit's law providing mandatory sentences for felonies committed with a gun was found to have no effect on gun crime patterns, in part because judges would often reduce the sentence for the underlying offense in order to balance out the mandatory two-year extra sentence for use of a gun. The Wright/Rossi/Daly team exploded scores of other gun control myths. They discussed the data showing that gun owners-rather then being a violent, aberrant group of nuts-were at least as psychologically stable and morally sound as the rest of the population. Polls claiming to show that a large majority of the population favored "more gun control" were debunked as being the product of biased questions, and of the fact that most people have no idea how strict gun laws already are. As the scholars frankly admitted, they had started out their research as gun control advocates, and had been forced to change their minds by a careful review of the evidence. Review by Dave Kopel, Independence Institute,

Roth, Koper, et al., Impact Evaluation of the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act of 1994, March 13, 1997, Reedy and Koper,

"Impact of handgun types on gun assault outcomes: a comparison of gun assaults involving semiautomatic pistols and revolvers," Injury Prevention 2003, Koper et al.,

Report to the National Institute of Justice, An Updated Assessment of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Impacts on Gun Markets and Gun Violence, 1994-2003, June 2004, Wm. J. Krouse, ... _final.pdf

Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, "Semiautomatic Assault Weapons Ban," Dec. 16, 2004; Library of Congress, Report for Congress: Firearms Regulations in Various Foreign Countries, May 1998, LL98-3, 97-2010;

Task Force on Community Preventive Service, "First Reports Evaluating the Effectiveness of Strategies for Preventing Violence: Firearms Laws," Morbidity and Mortaility Weekly Report, Oct. 3, 2003,

National Research Council, "Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review," National Academies Press, 2005 ,
"Two memorials remain today at Thermoplylae. Upon the modern one is engraved his response to Xerxes' demand that the Spartans lay down their arms. Leonidas' reply was two words, Molon Labe. 'Come and get them'."
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