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Preventing Mass-Murder Tragedies: What Works, What Doesn’t (Clayton E. Cramer)
National Review ^ | December 17, 2012 | Clayton E. Cramer

Posted on 12/25/2012 9:03:20 PM PST by neverdem

There is a drumbeat of demand for a new federal assault-weapons ban to prevent more tragedies like the one that happened in Connecticut. If we had not tried the experiment, you could honestly wonder if it would do any good. But the policy has been tried and found wanting.

In 1999, the National Institute of Justice published a study by criminologists Jeffrey Roth and Christopher Koper, “Impacts of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban: 1994–96.” It examined the effects of the federal assault-weapons ban in its first two years of operation and found no statistically significant reduction in murder rates. “The ban did not produce declines in the average number of victims per incident of gun murder or gun murder victims with multiple wounds.” The study also was unable to find any clear evidence that it reduced murders of police officers. The reason was simple: So-called assault weapons were never commonly used for murders before the ban, and more conventional-appearing weapons were effective substitutes for criminal misuse. Any assault-weapons ban that does not ban firearms that are equally lethal (such as those many Americans already own) is ineffective.

What does work? Professor Stephen P. Segal’s recent study of murder rates and mental-treatment policy, “Civil Commitment Law, Mental Health Services, and U.S. Homicide Rates,” examined state-by-state murder rates and mental-health services and found that “less access to psychiatric inpatient-beds and more poorly rated mental health systems were associated with increases in the homicide rates of 1.08 and 0.26 per 100,000, respectively.” There was an even greater difference in the homicide rate between states with different involuntary civil commitment (ICC) laws. “Broader ICC criteria were associated with 1.42 less homicides per 100,000.” In short, states where involuntary commitment was easy had roughly a third less murders than states where it was very hard to civilly commit a mentally ill person.

The reason that more mental-health services and more relaxed involuntary-commitment standards make such a difference in murder rates is very simple: Mentally ill persons are disproportionately involved in violent crimes, including murder. As of 2002, about 26,000 inmates in state prisons across the United States who were convicted of murder were also mentally ill. A detailed examination of Indiana prison inmates convicted of murder found that 18 percent were diagnosed with “schizophrenia or other psychotic disorder, major depression, mania, or bipolar disorder.” Many of the random mass murders that have so plagued not only the United States but many other industrialized societies in the last few years were committed by persons with clear evidence of severe mental illness, usually schizophrenia.

If we are serious about reducing these relatively rare (less than 1 percent of U.S. murders are incidents of mass murder) but terrifying tragedies, we need to be looking at the root cause: untreated or inadequately treated mental illness. Focusing on the weapons may be good politics, but the experimental evidence suggests that it is bad public policy.

— Clayton E. Cramer teaches history at the College of Western Idaho. His most recent book is My Brother Ron: A Personal and Social History of the Deinstitutionalization of the Mentally Ill (2012).


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: assaultweapons; awb; banglist; guncontrol; mentalillness; secondamendment

1 posted on 12/25/2012 9:03:26 PM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem; mgist; raptor22; victim soul; Isabel2010; Smokin' Joe; Michigander222; PJBankard; ...
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2 posted on 12/25/2012 9:06:13 PM PST by narses
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3 posted on 12/25/2012 9:06:32 PM PST by narses
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4 posted on 12/25/2012 9:07:31 PM PST by narses
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To: neverdem

The FBI defines mass murder as four or more murders occurring during a particular event with no cooling-off period between the murders.

In 2012, out of a population of 313 million, just 6 people chose to become mass murderers.

That is the proverbial microscopic spec on the point of a needle lost in the biggest haystack you’ve ever seen.


5 posted on 12/25/2012 9:23:44 PM PST by umgud (No Rats, No Rino's)
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To: neverdem

1-Connecticut had/has an assault weapons ban in place before the shooting.

2-It is against federal law to carry firearms into schools

3-It is against federal law for mentally disturbed people to possess firearms

4-It is illegal to murder another human being.

More gun bans will stop future shootings, How?


6 posted on 12/25/2012 9:29:15 PM PST by WP Lonestar (No matter where you go, there you are)
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To: neverdem

Bfl


7 posted on 12/25/2012 9:30:11 PM PST by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
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To: neverdem
Anyone that owns an AR style weapon and say a Glock knows why criminals and such prefer the Glock any day.

Cost - hey, even criminals have budgets, they steal hard for the money. A mid-level AR costs about twice as much as a Glock.

Ammo - cost again, ammo cost is about 2x per round for 5.56mm compared to 9x19...

Ease of operation. Slap a mag in the Glock, rack the action, pull the trigger. AR, mag in, press bolt release (or pull charging handle), press bolt advance to make sure it is seated, safety off, then get around to pulling the trigger...

Maintenance. An AR needs some lube every few hundred rounds and needs a thorough cleaning every thousand or so. Glocks et. al. basically just work. Yes you should clean them, but they'll put up with more abuse. Oh, and when you do clean an AR, you'll wonder if they missed any opportunity to create nooks and crannies to capture carbon. I don't think they did. A Glock you can clean with your eyes closed.

Concealment. The AR has sights, pistol grips, magazines etc. sticking out all over the place getting caught on stuff. Oh, and it's a couple of feet long - hard to conceal. The Glock can disappear easily underneath an oversized sports jersey.

Magazine capacity. About even here. You can get ridiculous, mis-feed-waiting-to-happen capacity mags for both.

So you might wonder why the AR style rifles are one of (the?) most popular styles? For a firearms enthusiast they are just plain fun to shoot. They have all these cool places to hang "furniture" on and customize it. (or not, making a minimalist statement) They shoot relatively flat. As costly as the ammo is, it is cheaper than bigger-bore rounds. You can snap off a dozen or so rounds more accurately than from your Glock. For the gangsta mission though - not such a good fit.

That is why an "assault weapon" ban isn't really aimed at reducing criminal activity - and doesn't in places that have or have had it - it is aimed at firearms enthusiasts. It is intended to set a precedent for future, more draconian, more un-Constitutional firearms restrictions. (that is serious, even if my earlier comparisons were a bit tongue in cheek)

8 posted on 12/25/2012 9:42:00 PM PST by ThunderSleeps (Stop obama now! Stop the hussein - insane agenda!)
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To: ThunderSleeps

“You can get ridiculous,mis-feed-waiting-to-happen capacity mags for both.”

Not limited to the ar15 or glock.....

the m1a1 would do the same thing.... on a cheapie 30-round mag that little lift inside would stick partway up :(


9 posted on 12/25/2012 10:15:15 PM PST by WildHighlander57 ((WildHighlander57 returning after lurking since 2000))
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To: WildHighlander57
Hey, everyone knows that if you're serious about preparing for the zombie apocalypse then belt-fed is the way to go. :-)

Seriously though, I'll stick with 30 round Magpuls PMAGs for the AR and factory 15 round Glock mags for the G19. Ok, I do have some KCI mags for the Glock on order, but due to mixed reviews I'm only figuring to use these at the range. The hollow point self defense rounds will stay in the factory mags.

10 posted on 12/25/2012 10:23:03 PM PST by ThunderSleeps (Stop obama now! Stop the hussein - insane agenda!)
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To: WP Lonestar
More gun bans will stop future shootings, How?

They'll be as effective as Prohibition, the war on drugs, stopping illegal immigration, stopping drunk driving deaths, etc. In other words - not effective at all. Just another bloated, expensive, failed government program. Oh, but this one would have the added bonus of being un-Constitutional and infringing upon our inalienable rights to defend ourselves. For the big-government socialist with fascist leanings, what's not to like?

11 posted on 12/25/2012 10:27:30 PM PST by ThunderSleeps (Stop obama now! Stop the hussein - insane agenda!)
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To: ThunderSleeps

A more stable economic environment, less government intrusion, and freedom to worship God without atheists screaming to take down nativity scenes would be good for starters...might have a whole lot less shootings. People are simply reacting to the hostile environment they’ve been placed in. When the stressors hit a breaking point out comes the nuttiness...


12 posted on 12/25/2012 10:36:06 PM PST by jsanders2001
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To: ThunderSleeps; WildHighlander57
Ease of operation. Slap a mag in the Glock, rack the action, pull the trigger. AR, mag in, press bolt release (or pull charging handle), press bolt advance to make sure it is seated, safety off, then get around to pulling the trigger...

I’ve owned an AR-15 for more than 20 years. I wouldn’t say a shoot it a lot but I have it out and fire it at least 5 times a year. I can honestly say that I have only had to use the bolt forward assist once in all the years I have owned the rifle.

As for cleaning the rifle I don’t find it that much of a chore, and using good quality ammo; I don’t find that I need to clean it all that often.

Magazine capacity. About even here. You can get ridiculous, mis-feed-waiting-to-happen capacity mags for both.

I’ve heard about them but never experienced one. I use 20 and 30 round magazines and have never had a magazine jam.

I am just a hobbyist and don’t have the rifle out in the dirt and mud but I just have never had a single issue with the weapon that caused me to curse the rifle.

13 posted on 12/25/2012 11:24:30 PM PST by Pontiac (The welfare state must fail because it is contrary to human nature and diminishes the human spirit.)
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To: harpseal; TexasCowboy; nunya bidness; AAABEST; Travis McGee; Squantos; wku man; SLB; ...
Since the unfortunate "triple-post" bug surfaced on FreeRepublic some months ago, I have refrained from using my private RKBA ping-list as much as I used to. Here I make an exception.

Instead, I have been flagging firearms-related posts using the FreeRepublic "banglist" keyword. To access the FR "banglist", please click HERE .

Click the Gadsden flag for pro-gun resources!

14 posted on 12/26/2012 3:10:12 AM PST by Joe Brower (The "American People" are no longer capable of self-governance.)
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To: harpseal; TexasCowboy; nunya bidness; AAABEST; Travis McGee; Squantos; wku man; SLB; ...
Since the unfortunate "triple-post" bug surfaced on FreeRepublic some months ago, I have refrained from using my private RKBA ping-list as much as I used to. Here I make an exception.

Instead, I have been flagging firearms-related posts using the FreeRepublic "banglist" keyword. To access the FR "banglist", please click HERE .

Click the Gadsden flag for pro-gun resources!

15 posted on 12/26/2012 3:11:11 AM PST by Joe Brower (The "American People" are no longer capable of self-governance.)
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To: harpseal; TexasCowboy; nunya bidness; AAABEST; Travis McGee; Squantos; wku man; SLB; ...
Since the unfortunate "triple-post" bug surfaced on FreeRepublic some months ago, I have refrained from using my private RKBA ping-list as much as I used to. Here I make an exception.

Instead, I have been flagging firearms-related posts using the FreeRepublic "banglist" keyword. To access the FR "banglist", please click HERE .

Click the Gadsden flag for pro-gun resources!

16 posted on 12/26/2012 3:12:14 AM PST by Joe Brower (The "American People" are no longer capable of self-governance.)
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To: ThunderSleeps

The reason it hasn’t gotten much better is we only have 20,000 gun laws on the books.....we need 20,001 laws, yep, that will do the trick....


17 posted on 12/26/2012 4:28:50 AM PST by goat granny
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To: ThunderSleeps

It’s not just big government bureaucrats pushing this garbage. I heard a criminal defense attorney from Jacksonville on my radio morning drive show this morning who was espousing a new AWB to “fix the problem of mass shootings.”

I was literally screaming at my radio. She was so ill-informed, even quoting Heller saying that “the Supreme Court only supported handguns.” I’ll be penning a nasty email to the morning show’s producer to make sure that nutbag never gets on that show again, even though I know it’s likely folly.

The attorneys in this country are as liberal as the rest of the lot, and I fear for our nation if moonbats like this liberal moron from Jacksonville are out there lobbying the lawyers in Congress to do something like this when history and statistics prove the laws are not only worthless but burdensome on gun owners and the law-abiding.


18 posted on 12/26/2012 5:20:26 AM PST by rarestia (It's time to water the Tree of Liberty.)
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To: neverdem

Clayton makes perfect sense.

No on IN THEIR RIGHT MIND is going to shoot up a classroom filled with children.............


19 posted on 12/26/2012 5:50:07 AM PST by basil (Second Amendment Sisters.org)
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To: basil

Hi basil —

You are so correct about Clayton. Everything he has said, or written since he debunked “Arming America” by Bellesiles, which ultimately caused Bellessiles to resign and be stripped of his academic standing. Clayton Cramer is indeed one of the good guys! I heard him on CNBC last week speaking with clarity and authority.

He was a hidden treasure to me until that CNBC interview. But now, having done background research on him, I am confident he is centered and focused. He should be listened to in any “discussion” of firearms.

Gwjack


20 posted on 12/26/2012 6:39:02 AM PST by gwjack (May God give America His richest blessings.)
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To: gwjack

Absolutely!


21 posted on 12/26/2012 7:47:33 AM PST by basil (Second Amendment Sisters.org)
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To: Joe Brower; goat granny; rarestia; basil; gwjack; Travis McGee; lentulusgracchus

These killings belong squarely in the lap of Democrat policies. Here in Illinois they’ve created a homeless and violence crisis by cutting/closing mental health budgets/institutions. It didn’t just start recently, but has been an ongoing process of underfunding over decades.

Illinois No. 1 state for mental health care budget cuts

http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=204004

This isn’t a new crisis. Violent criminals have long been known to be seriously mentally ill.


22 posted on 12/27/2012 4:18:34 AM PST by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: gwjack
Clayton Cramer is indeed one of the good guys!

He was standing ahead of me in the registration line at a Gun Rights Policy Conference. I had a chance to chat with him while the line inched forward. Very well-informed guy. He has published a lot of stuff worth reading.

23 posted on 12/27/2012 4:35:26 PM PST by JoeFromSidney ( New book: RESISTANCE TO TYRANNY. Buy from Amazon.)
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To: rarestia

That attorney is just tying to make sure his clients get their day in court and he gets his pay check. After all, if armed citizens kill the perps, it cuts down on his client pool...


24 posted on 12/27/2012 4:49:57 PM PST by Little Ray (Get back to work. Your urban masters need their EBTs refilled.)
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To: JoeFromSidney

Hi JoeFromSydney, I can’t agree more. He has a variety of interests, and firearms is a passion with him. Perhaps I should say that he has a passion for the honest, straight-forward presentation of FACTS related to guns. With his other interests, I believe he is a modern day Albert Schweitzer living among us.

Gwjack


25 posted on 12/27/2012 9:33:58 PM PST by gwjack (May God give America His richest blessings.)
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