Gun control — does it work? In last week’s episode, we learned that around 30,000 Americans die each year from guns. This week, we examine possible solutions. Do better background checks, buybacks, and gun registration lead to fewer shooting deaths? What happened in Australia after they got rid of all the guns? To find out, we talk to gun shop owner Bob Kostaras, former ATF special agent Mark Jones, Prof. Philip Alpers, and Prof. Peter Squires.
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This episode has been produced by Heather Rogers, Caitlin Kenney, Austin Mitchell, and Kaitlyn Sawrey. Editing by Annie Rose Strasser and Alex Blumberg. Production Assistance by Diane Wu, and Shruti Ravindran. Fact checking by Michelle Harris. Sound design and music production by Matthew Boll, mixing by Martin Peralta and Haley Shaw. Music written by Bobby Lord.
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- Background Checks for Firearms Transfers, US Bureau of Justice, 2009
Including details on federal gun purchase regulations
- Issues with the current US background check system, plus recommendations for improvement
Wintemute, “Background checks for firearm transfers: Assessment and recommendations.” Violence Prevention Research Program, UC Davis. 2013.
- States with more comprehensive background checks, including better reporting, have lower rates of gun homicide
Ruddel and Mays, “State background checks and firearms homicides,” Journal of Criminal Justice, 2005.
- Most prisoners incarcerated for a gun-related offense did not buy their gun from a licensed dealer
Harlow, C. “Firearm use by offenders”, Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report, 2001.
- How much of violent crime in Sweden can be attributed to people with severe mental illness? About 5%
Fazel and Grann. “The Population Impact of Severe Mental Illness on Violent Crime.” Am J Psychiatry, 2006
- Gun buy-backs in Buffalo, NY did not reduce gun crime by statistically significant amounts
Philips et al, “An evaluation of a multiyear gun buy-back programme: re-examining the impact on violent crimes,” International Journal of Police Science & Management, 2013.
- A study of how gun laws in Australia changed gun homicide rates
Chapman et al, “Association Between Gun Law Reforms and Intentional Firearm Deaths in Australia, 1979-2013”, Journal of the American Medical Association, 2016.
- Comparing violent deaths in the US with other countries
Grinshteyn and Hemenway, “Violent Death Rates: The US Compared with Other High-income OECD Countries, 2010,” The American Journal of Medicine, 2016.