Giving Up The Gun

What can we learn from societies that are less violent?

Albert Bates

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You often hear, “Guns don’t kill, people kill.” After another mass shooting that killed 18 in Maine, the U.S. House Speaker (third in line to the President) declared “The problem is the human heart. It’s not guns” and, obligatorily, “This is not the time to be talking about legislation.” Last week we looked at the Edo Period in Japan, when an entire culture stepped away from guns for more than a century, choosing martial arts for blood feuds. Japan was no less violent, but death was much less random. In this week’s installment, we dig into the culture of violence.

Researchers analyzed state-level data on mass shootings from 1989 to 2014. They compared mass shootings in states with and without bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. They learned:

  • States with bans on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines had a 56% lower rate of mass shootings compared to states without such bans;
  • After controlling for other factors, the assault weapon ban was associated with a 35% reduction in the annual incidence of mass shootings;
  • Shootings involving semi-automatic rifles produce more casualties; the overall number of crimes committed with rifles of any kind is relatively low compared to handguns;
  • The 1994 federal assault weapons ban was associated with a reduction in mass shooting deaths; and
  • The expiration of the ban in 2004 saw more high-fatality mass shootings.

The FBI puts out an annual report on crime statistics in the U.S. The 2022 report provided these additional insights:

  • Most dangerous places for homicide: Washington D.C.; Mississippi; Louisiana; Alabama; New Mexico; South Carolina; Missouri.
  • Least dangerous: Maine; Idaho; Massachusetts; Utah; Hawaii.
  • Texas had the most mass shooter incidents (six), followed by Arizona, Florida, Michigan.
  • May had the highest number of active shooter incidents, with January and September tied for the least.
  • Active shooter incidents occurred on every day of the week, with Sunday having the most.
  • They were more…

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Albert Bates

Emergency Planetary Technician and Climate Science Wonk — using naturopathic remedies to recover the Holocene without geoengineering or ponzinomics.