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Tanielian Abstract: This article examines the debate over gun control. A review of each side of the argument shows that courts have left room open for the legislative branch to control sales of certain weapons, although rights to bear and keep arms as individuals are inalienable under the Constitution. Correlational analysis of national statistics and comparisons between means helps shed some light on the successes and failures of the historical system and strategy, which worked in part for some groups, but did not accomplish more expansive goals nor provide adequate relief to all Americans. Weapons bans may be effective, but the complexity of the legal system makes it impossible to determine by the numbers. Solutions to firearms crime problems prove elusive, so we take a look at what other nations do. An evolved hybrid model approach is suggested as a possible means of resolving longstanding murder problems. Keywords: Firearms, Murder, Violent Crime, Gun Control, Constitutional Law I. Introduction
Firearms-related deaths in the United States are about as common as traffic fatalities . Based upon these numbers, one might suspect firearms are not at all regulated in the U.S., but such is actually not the case. The Second Amendment is well-known as the source of rights to bear arms, but sui generis laws and regulations are in no short supply . It is true that
Gun-related deaths in the U.S. exceed 30,000 annually, down from almost 38,000 in 1993 but not forecasted to be on the decline. Motor vehicle-related deaths are less than 35,000 annually and on a steady decline over the past 3 decades. Shooting-deaths are forecasted to exceed motor-vehicle deaths by 2015. See Chris Christoff and Ilan Kolet, American Gun Deaths to Exceed Traffic Fatalities by 2015, Bloomberg (Dec 20, 2012 2:23 AM GMT+0700) http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-19/american-gun-deaths-to-exceed-trafficfatalities-by-2015.html (last visited Feb. 24, 2013).
U.S. Const. amend. II
The National Rifle Association (NRA) is frequently cited as referring to “20,000 gun laws” in the United States. Glenn Kessler, The NRA’s fuzzy, decades-old claim of ’20,000’ gun laws, Washington Post (Feb. 5, 2013 06:00 AM ET), http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/the-nras-fuzzy-decades-old-claim-of20000-gun-laws/2013/02/04/4a7892c0-6f23-11e2-ac36-3d8d9dcaa2e2_blog.html (last visited Mar. 1, 2013). The Gun Control Act of 1968 (P.L. 90–618, 82 Stat. 1213) as amended by the Brady Act (18 U.S.C. § 922(g) (1)(9) and (n)) prohibits the sale or transfer of firearms to (1) persons who have been convicted or are under indictment by a court for crimes punishable by more than one year in prison, (2) fugitives, (3) drug addicts, (4) persons who are mentally defective or have been committed to a mental institution, (5) illegal aliens, (6) persons dishonorably discharged from the military, (7) persons who renounced American citizenship, (8) persons subject to a restraining order, (9) persons convicted of domestic violence.
Americans own more guns per capita than citizens of any other country , creating the appearance of unfettered rights to bear and keep arms. However, various restrictions apply under the Brady Act , which requires background checks for potential gun owners. 95% of Americans and 74% of National Rifle Association (NRA) gun owners are said to support background checks prior to gun sales, which resulted in over two million denials since the Brady Act was adopted . Recently, due primarily to a series of brutal mass shootings, including at schools in low-crime areas such as Newton, Connecticut , the classic firearms debate has re-emerged as a headline topic. Murder rates below 10 per 100,000 are well within standardized acceptable risk ranges, but various “fright factors” influence public outrage at random attacks, especially those involving children . Whereas public reactions to other violent crime nationwide are
8 7 6 5
4 5 6
See GunPolicy.org, United States – Gun Facts, Figures and the Law (2013) http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/united-states (last visited Mar. 1, 2013). P.L. 103-159, Title I; 107 Stat. 1536.
The Brady Campaign, Policies and Programs to Save Lives (January 2013), http://www.bradycampaign.org/xshare/Facts/01142013_Fact_Sheet_-_Biden_Task_Force_FINAL.pdf (last visited Feb. 24, 2013). Between 1998 and Jan. 2013, the FBI conducted nearly 163 million National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) checks. See FBI, Total NICS Background Checks (2013), http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/reports/20130205_1998_2013_monthly_yearly_totals.pdf (last visited Mar. 1, 2013).
Twenty primary students, six faculty and staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School were shot and killed on December 14, 2012. This incident sparked nationwide fury over access to military style weapons and prompted draft legislation on gun control. The Sandy Hook case was particularly devastating due to the number of people killed and because of perceptions that such districts are immune to these types of incidents. Scores of school shootings have occurred since the 1990s, with relatively few making lasting impressions on the general public nationwide. See The Brady Campaign, Major School Shootings in the United States Since 1997, http://www.bradycampaign.org/xshare/pdf/school-shootings.pdf (last visited Feb. 24, 2013).
Boundaries of acceptable individual risk are usually defined as below a probability of 1 in 1,000 per year, with the “gold standard” being 1 in 1 million per annum. See Paul Hunter and Lorna Fewtrell, Water Quality, Standards and Health, Chapter 10: Acceptable Risk, London: IWA (2001), http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/iwachap10.pdf (last visited Mar. 1, 2013). “Fright factors” interfere with normal tolerable risk models. Risks are less acceptable if they affect small children or pregnant women. Inequitable distribution in society also reduces perceived acceptableness of risk. It should be noted that mass murders frequently occur in public places or schools in middle and upper-middle class districts. Mass murders are on the rise – 9 occurred in the 1980s, 11 in the 1990s, and 26 since 2000. See Dale Archer, Reading Between The (Head)Lines, Psychology Today (July 28, 2012),
This article examines the debate over gun control. Correlational analysis of national statistics and comparisons between means helps shed some light on the successes and failures of the historical system and strategy. 1. A review of each side of the argument shows that courts have left room open for the legislative branch to control sales of certain weapons. but the complexity of the legal system makes it impossible to determine by the numbers. intense attention toward school shootings and random mass murders has yielded an assortment of surrounding complaints. . 2013). strategy or approach may be useful in securing a more civilized public safety record in the United States. Constitutionality “A well regulated Militia.com/blog/reading-between-the-headlines/201207/mass-murders-are-the-rise (last visited Mar. An evolved hybrid model approach is suggested as a possible means of resolving longstanding murder problems. but did not accomplish more expansive goals nor provide adequate relief to all Americans. II. More specifically. Proponents of assault weapons bans consider restrictions a clear path toward lowering incident prevalence while opponents raise questions of effectiveness and legality. although rights to bear and keep arms as individuals are inalienable under the Constitution. the right of the people to keep and bear Arms.psychologytoday. Solutions to firearms crime problems prove elusive. focusing on established case law and empirical evidence obtained through statistical analysis of crime data. Weapons bans may be effective. restrictions on sales and ownership of assault weapons have been at the core of calls for changes to the system.” A. so we take a look at what other nations do. which worked in part for some groups. not the least of which is gun control. Collective or Individual Right? http://www. shall not be infringed. Crime statistics imply that a change in policy. being necessary to the security of a free State.limited.
Heller. we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument. 27.Ct. 10 “In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a "shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length" at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia.S.Ed. 6 L. 174 (1939) at 178. Miller weapon 11 10 9 dealt with questions related to a dangerous and unusual of the time – a sawed off shotgun. if construed as a whole rather than in parts. 188. A simplified model of the debate pits interpretation for individual rights against that for collective rights. but it excludes secret or technical meanings that would not have been known to ordinary citizens in the founding generation” (District of Columbia v. 28. 2013). 11 In response to the 2012-13 revived weapons debate. 2013). 716. 12 Cases v.com/politics/2013/02/27/democrats-push-for-assault-weapons-ban-in-congress-but-itstill-faces-uphill/#ixzz2MATlgmIT (last visited Feb. 75 L.Ed. FoxNews (Feb. during which time the American Courts gave little and vague direction on interpretation of the Second Amendment. 9 Wheat. In Miller. http://www. see also Gibbons v. its words and phrases were used in their normal and ordinary as distinguished from technical meaning. “Normal meaning may of course include an idiomatic meaning. 23 (1824).” 307 U. 128 S.S. 282 U. Dems ramp up push for assault weapons ban. See Doug McKelway.S. United States 131 F. 640 (1931)). yet it is only 27 words and not excessively vague. which suggests less for individual rights and more for States‟ rights or collective rights. Ogden. ties the right to bear and keep arms to a well-regulated militia. 220. Sprague. 731. Attorney General John Walsh said "There clearly is room for reasonable regulation particularly of dangerous and unusual weapons." (United States v. 51 S.2d 916 (1942). U. One side holds that the amendment‟s ordinary meaning . United States v. 2783 (2008)). . but it cannot prohibit the possession or use of any weapon which has any reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia. face headwinds from states. the Supreme Court determined “the federal government can limit the keeping and bearing of arms by a single individual as well as by a group of individuals. 9 "The Constitution was written to be understood by the voters.Perhaps no other part of the Constitution is the source of more controversy than the Second Amendment.” 12 Questions regarding the reach Miller extended to regulators remained for decades.foxnews.Ct. 1.”.
1. See Jack Lessenberry. Michigan Radio (July 24. See http://www. among other things. which the NRA says makes Americans safer. 1. 2013). and provided evidence supporting claims that more guns create more threats . 2013). 16 The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence cited studies which showed that. Detroit is maybe 6% white. Conservatives took the opportunity to argue that increased danger increases the need to have firearms.edu/publications/focus/pdfs/foc32a.wisc. murder rates in the USA fell to their lowest levels since the beginning of the 20th century . http://www. leaving inner-cities poor. Homicide in the United States 1950-1964. and without effective public safety.irp.Following World War Two until the early 1960s. . ban on handgun possession in the home violates the Second Amendment. Then. See Jan Blakeslee.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_20/sr20_006acc. 1. 2012 10:30 AM). in the 1960s through 90s. Detroit Riots: Forty-Five Years Later. (2) possessing a gun increases risks of being shot by 4. U. 24 states adopted right to carry laws. Detroit was more than 60% white when the 1967 riot happened. dangerous. Increased danger gave liberals an opportunity to argue against broad rights to own and keep firearms. 20(6) (1967).aspx?s=rightto-carry+2012&. the Supreme Court held that a Washington D. 3 Focus Institute for Research on Poverty Newsletter (1978-79). See FBI UCR Tool. 2013). 2013). after which time both leveled-off above the numbers from early 1960s . 2013).C. 2013). “White-flight” 14 15 13 – a mass exodus of Caucasians from cities – occurred. 17 NRA. bringing to the total to 41 .org/post/detroit-riots-forty-five-years-later (last visited Mar.gov/Search/Crime/State/TrendsInOneVar. (1) keeping a firearm in the home increases the risk of homicide by a factor of 3. 17 16 13 14 15 See Figure 2. http://www. Between 1960 and 1970.ucrdatatool. 1. http://www. In District of Columbia v. 1.S.nraila. social and political upheaval ravaged American communities at a time when mass production and marketing made weapons more readily available.org/gun-laws/articles/2012/right-to-carry-2012.5 times.bradycampaign.pdf (last visited Mar.st=&. 1. which seems to be the more successful side of the argument.ps= (last visited Mar.cfm (last visited Mar. “White Flight” to the Suburbs: A Demographic Approach.pdf (last visited Mar. Murder rates and totals underwent a parabolic rise and fall between the late-60s and late-90s.org/ (last visited Mar. http://www. Right-To-Carry 2012. white populations in central cities experienced roughly 10-17% decrease.michiganradio. Since 1991. Heller.cdc. http://www. National Center for Health Statistics. In 2012.
22 The Miller Court.L. when firearms manufacturers started making “copycat” models such as the Bushmaster XM-15. 103-322 (1994) (repealed 2004). and of the militia of the several states” (U. 2783 (2008). Justice Scalia commented in Heller that “*f+rom Blackstone through the 19th-century cases. their safety and the safety of other law-abiding members of the community would be enhanced by the possession of handguns in the home for self-defense. Const. 24. Olympic Arms produced its PCR – “Politically Correct Rifle”. 1).bradycenter. commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.org/xshare/pdf/reports/mass-produced-mayhem.which the dissent considered an unreasonable departure from the Miller decision . A lesser-known problem arose shortly after the ban went into effect. while the most lethal type of firearms. then the Second Amendment right protects the rights of minorities and other residents of high-crime areas whose needs are not being met by elected public officials. 2013). Bush Sr. at 2817). §2. B. the President may make orders. 128 S. Handguns. Ct.S. TEC-9s. Heller. “The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States. 20 21 P. Justice Stevens. Limitations on Ownership Both Heller and McDonald dealt with the legality of possessing handguns. or otherwise lend executive approval to bans on certain types of firearms. but lacking an organized structure. On Target: The Impact of the 1994 Federal Assault Weapon Act (2004).Ct. 3020.” 19 130 S. Little reasonable doubt remains as to the Constitutionality of gun control.org/xshare/pdf/reports/on_target.” “We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of ‘dangerous and unusual weapons. Heller was applied in McDonald v. art. dissenting.pdf (last visited Feb. “If. See also Brady Center. and Clinton each used 18 District of Columbia v. AR-14s are well known assault weapons that fell under the 1994-2004 ban. but that it does not curtail the Legislature's power to regulate the nonmilitary use and ownership of weapons—is both the most natural reading of the Amendment's text and the interpretation most faithful to the history of its adoption. Uzis. are not unusually dangerous when compared to other varieties of firearms. Being the head of the militias. Assault weapons named in the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Act and similarly-functioning models 21 20 are sufficiently unusual such that the Constitution has 22 been interpreted to allow for their ban . Presidents Lyndon Johnson. argued “*t+he view of the Amendment we took in Miller—that it protects the right to keep and bear arms for certain military purposes.Ct.bradycenter. Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Obviously. thereby quashing the collective rights side of the interpretation debate. military-style weapons bear some relationship to a standing militia. and Intratec released its AB-10 – “After Ban-10”. commented on uncommon firearms.’” (128 S. cl. http://www.pdf (last visited Feb. 2013). . AK47s. individuals in possession of such weapons are not likely to fit the description of members of a militia.” at 3050. 28. as petitioners believe. http://www. II. Chicago 19 18 to grant individuals rights to bear arms under the Second Amendment. MAC-10s. Assault Weapons: “Mass Produced Mayhem” (October 2008). most notably..
President Obama signed 23 gun control orders following the Newton. II. cl. FoxNews (January 16. §3. III. art.S. President Obama Announces New Measures to Prevent Gun Violence.whitehouse. Some analysts argue that indirect spending on institutions like 25 24 23 23 Juan Williams. http://www. the President “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed”. The White House (January 16. but the overall safety of the nation or region is judged by examining a more geographically diverse sample. Although there is no doubt that increasing direct expenditures on public safety from the zero level directly results in crime reduction. some communities are safer than others. Colleen Curtis. are not often interpreted as having great significance. questions linger regarding the marginal benefits of increases past a certain point. Const. 1. but it has been interpreted to include such grants of power . 1. The Constitution does not explicitly address Presidential powers to control guns under executive order. if not part of a general nationwide trend. 2013). . For a variety of reasons.S. Beyond this unknown maximum.their executive authority to issue orders on the sale of guns and ammunition .gov/blog/2013/01/16/president-obama-announcesnew-measures-prevent-gun-violence (last visited Mar. Unfortunately. 2013 01:57 PM EST). 24 25 In addition to being head of the militia. 2013). Connecticut massacre . criminal justice systems are too complex and crime levels influenced by too many uncontrollable variables to pinpoint precise returns on expenditures. there may be diminishing returns on each additional monetary unit spent on justice systems. Spending Increases and Bans Have Not Solved the Problems Assessments of violent crime. 2013). What everybody needs to know about our Constitution and gun control. Budget crises in the U. give new life to debates about spending and effectiveness of public safety models. (U. homicide and firearms-related crime data focus on national levels and aggregate statistics. 4). Localized reductions.com/opinion/2013/01/16/what-everybody-needs-to-know-about-ourconstitution-and-gun-control/ (last visited Mar.foxnews. http://www.
Likewise. A. Increased higher education spending enhances public safety and deters crime.pdf (last visited Feb. BJA Factsheet (August 2011).ucrdatatool. Evidence-based and cost-effective solutions are imperative in today’s economic environment. Total homicides ranged between 13. Evidence-based policy and action is needed to maximize efficiencies of human and capital resources.” See Jacquelyn Rivers. although murders with shotguns composed less than 5% of total firearms murders in the period.gov/ (last visited Feb. whereas over 75% were handgun-related . but the need for a more scientific approach to issues is still present despite the highly emotional social context. murders by handguns and rifles were not significantly associated with direct justice expenditures at any of the three levels of government.org/post/public/policy/increased/higher/education/spending/enhances/public/safety/and/de ters/crime (last visited Feb. 27 “State and local expenditures in corrections grew to nearly $72 billion in 2007 and have outpaced our ability to afford a “one size fits all” justice approach.pdf (last visited Feb.gov/Publications/JRI_FS. 28 FBI Expanded Homicide Data tables for years 2001 through 2009 were retrieved using the UCR data tool available at http://www. state and local governments were not associated with statistically significant reductions in total murders or murders with firearms. In order to accurately and reliably comment on the future direction of gun control and violent crimes policy.cjcj. https://www. 2013). Violent crimes are of a serious nature. 4. Patti Saris regarding unsustainable spending in corrections and needs for changes in sentencing. 28.” See http://www.gov/criminal/foia/docs/2012-annual-letter-to-the-us-sentencing-commission.636 . Strong. 2013). Patrick Wynne. Improving Criminal Justice and Reducing Recidivism Through Justice Reinvestment. and the need for a redesigned approach to tackling crime . the current trajectory of corrections spending will lead to further imbalances in the deployment of justice resources.bja.justice. negative correlations were found between shotgun murders and expenditures at all three levels of government. Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer wrote to Hon. 2012 11:23). 2013). 28.education enhances public safety and deters crime . statistical analyses are imperative. Still more reflect upon the impossibility that is perpetual increases in budget expenditures. Relationships between Justice Expenditures and Firearms-Related Murder Between 2001 and 2009. 28. 28. Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice (Oct. “Given the budgetary environment. 28 27 26 26 S. http://www. increased justice expenditures at federal. 2013).
05). and state expenditures (r = -. relationship between spending and firearms murders existed for years between 2001 and 2009. 2013). 66.465.09E+10 USD. p = . or murders by handgun (r = -. Data were approximately normally distributed as assessed by Q-Q plots.455.364. No statistically significant relationship was found between state expenditures and victimization of blacks (r = .111). p < . p = . p = . National Victimization Analysis Tool (NVAT).884). p = 5.894.136) race categories.75).usdoj. 29 Bureau of Justice Statistics.ojp.337. if any. and local expenditures (r = -. murders by firearms (r = .026). State expenditures grew from 5. murders with firearms. increases in direct justice expenditures at the federal. Very strong. or murders by handgun (r = -. State. p = . Impacts of Spending Constrained by Race and Relationship of Victims Between 1995 and 2010. Firearms-related homicides ranged between 8.080).699.258).348.730. Between 2001 and 2009. p = 3. murders by rifle (r = -. 29 and 15. 2010) and Employment and Expenditures http://bjs.805). Key Facts at a Glance http://bjs.30E+10 USD to 1. 28.622).B. p = .293. p = . murders by firearms (r = . Statistically significant.081). this is a product of local economy and tax revenue.260).443).gov/index.ojp.219.403. Tables were retrieved for violent victimizations by weapon category.usdoj.183). p = . or victimization of Asian-Pacific (r = -.571). No statistically significant relationship was found between local expenditures and victimization of blacks (r = -.88E+10 USD to 8.0005). . but no such effects were noticed among black or Asian-Pacific victims . p < .420. and Local government levels were entered into SPSS alongside total murders. p = . NVAT data were entered into SPSS alongside justice expenditures data (Id.071.74). state expenditures (r = -.69E+10 USD.53E+10 USD to 4. and local levels were highly correlated with decreases in firearms-related violent victimization of whites. http://bjs.usdoj. where wealthier districts are in a better position to provide higher quality public safety.057.0005).219). p = . p = .ojp. Federal expenditures were not correlated to total murders (r = -. p = .403.136).75% of total murders were related to firearms.gov/content/glance/tables/expgovtab. Near-perfect negative correlations between expenditures and victimization of whites imply uneven distribution of expenditures throughout districts.0005). At the local level where the highest expenditures are seen. p = . p = . p < .890 and 10. Pearson product-moment correlations were calculated to determine what.cfm?ty=nvat (last visited Feb. 25. murders by rifle (r = -.087 in the period. and murders by weapon type data. p = .30E+11 USD. and local expenditures (r = -.218. State expenditures were not correlated with total murders (r = -.852. and local expenditures grew from 8.422. Data were approximately normally distributed as assessed by Q-Q plots and Shapiro-Wilk tests (p > . murders by firearms (r = .gov/index. Federal expenditures grew from 2. state. or victimization of Asia-Pac (r = -.770.428.036).358). p = . 28. statistically significant negative correlations were found between victimization of whites and federal expenditures (r = -. p = .466.).191. Local expenditures were not correlated with total murders (r = -. 2013). or Asian-Pacific persons (r = . Data regarding direct expenditures at Federal. or murders by handgun (r = -.cfm?ty=tp&tid=5 (last visited Feb.cfm (last visited Sept.828. p = .074. Pearson product-moment correlations were calculated to determine relationships between variables. strong negative correlations were found between murders by shotgun and federal direct expenditures (r = .225. murders by rifle (r = -. p = .015).856). race-expanded categories. and victim-offender relationship for years 19952010. Justice expenditure data was retrieved via Bureau of Justice Statistics. No statistically significant relationships were found between federal expenditures and victimization of black (r = -. p = .
000 per year is needed to house each of the more than 53. Reductions in victimization of strangers may relate to decreases in victimization of whites in such crimes as car-jackings and muggings. p = .598. http://digitalcommons.S. SPSS Pearson tests showed federal expenditures were significantly negatively correlated with firearmsrelated violent victimization of strangers (r = -. (2012). Increased expenditures were also very strongly correlated with reductions in firearmsrelated violent victimization of strangers and acquaintances.kennesaw.003). An estimated $18.000 cases. and Gender Disparities in Sentencing: Evidence from the U.167.823.gov/public/pdf. prison sentences for black offenders were roughly twice those of white offenders. While 0.0005) and of acquaintances (r = -. but no statistically significant relationship was found between expenditures and victimization of intimates or relatives .537 million prisoners were black and Hispanic. between state expenditures and victimization of intimates (r = -.S. Judicial discretion. mean and standard deviation among blacks were 181. and Econ. Highly significant negative correlations were also found between state expenditures and victimization of strangers (r = -.128. of Pub. 2011 statistics for federal and state sentenced prisoners show that roughly 62% of 1.877.506. and among the Asia-Pacific race category: 16.932 ± 11. L. p = .pdf (last visited Feb.199. and victimization of well-known persons or acquaintances (r = -.241. p = . 28.708. p = .5% of white males were in prison in 2011. Racial.0% of . 2013).664). http://www.054) or of relatives (r = .454 ± 68. sizeable portions of those expenditures go toward prisons which house primarily black and Hispanic inmates . p < . 33 Kamal Rattray and Nicole Lee.068) or of relatives (r = .pdf/$file/NSPI201212.635. 285 (2001). or of relatives (r = .Considering that yearly victimization of whites 30 was more than twice as prevalent as victimization of blacks and Asians combine. 2013).843. p < . Ethnic. p = . Federal Courts.0005). Among a sample of over 58.763) included Hispanics.486. 3. p = .nsf/lookup/NSPI201212.000 prisoners in the State of Georgia. Whereas expenditures may be increased with intent to protect primarily white populations.495). p = . 32 David Mustard. p = . 2 Georgia J.483. a strategy designed to reduce victimizations among the highest-risk group was rational although its effects were politically incorrect.569).011). Id.edu/gjpp/vol2/iss1/5 (last visited Feb.464. These uneven impacts left multiple high-violence neighborhoods across America.fjc. more than 60% of which are black. not limited to “subconscious bias” has been at the root of racial disparities in sentencing.066). Joshua Fischman and Max Schanzenbach.222 ± 207. No significant relationships were found between federal expenditures and victimization of intimates (r = -. Local expenditures were significantly negatively correlated with victimization of strangers (r = -. 28. and Georgia. Racial Disparities under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines: The Role of Judicial Discretion and Mandatory Minimums. 44 J.0005) and of acquaintances (r = -. p < . Racial disparities in sentencing 32 31 may also factor into unequal relationships between expenditures and victim categories.019). 33 30 31 Firearms-related victimization of whites (430. p = . Pol. Racial Disparities in Sentencing in the U. nor between local expenditures and victimization of intimates (r = -.
President Obama voiced support for gun control legislation as the 2013 Assault Weapons Ban was introduced . 2013 5:10AM GMT+0700). "There clearly is room for reasonable regulation particularly of dangerous and unusual weapons. 35 Vivian Chu. 2013). If evidence were clear that the 1994 Act were effective. with Republicans balking at encroachment on their interpretation of Constitutional rights.com/news/2013-02-27/policeofficials-republicans-clash-on-assault-weapon-ban. and Democrats pushing for a new ban . "They cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation's recent drop in gun violence. but no increase back to levels prior to the ban was seen after its 2004 expiration.gov/content/pub/pdf/p11." said U. debates ensued over the effectiveness of the 1994 Act and appropriateness of a renewed term or similar new legislation. Attorney General John Walsh. E. 2013).pdf (last visited Feb. it is not objectively clear whether or not the 1994 Act was primarily or directly responsible for reductions in firearms-related incidents. Prisoners in 2011.S. 34 Senator Chuck Grassley (R. Ann Carson and William Sabol. . Congressional Research Service 7-5700 (2013).ojp. IA) and House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R. See supra note 11. and 35 34 blacks and 1. Inconclusive Effects of Assault Weapons Ban In the months following the Sandy Hook elementary shootings. 28. http://fpc. http://www. Bloomberg (Feb. However.state. A clear and remarkable drop in homicide and firearms-related violent crime levels occurred in the first few years of the 1994 ban. Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Legal Issues. Heidi Przybyla. Bureau of Justice Statistics (2012). 28. Partisan politics dominated the conversation.html (last visited Feb. http://bjs. 28. VA) were among those opposed to an assault weapons ban. suggesting that numerous other factors contributed to the reductions in homicide and firearms-related violent crime. leading to questions of a more empirical nature.gov/documents/organization/205203.usdoj. then it would be easier to gain broader support for a renewal. Significant differences in homicide levels are noticed between years in which the Act was active and those prior to its enactment." Grassley said.C.2% of Hispanics were incarcerated.pdf (last visited Feb. 2013).bloomberg. 28. Republicans Clash on Assault Weapons Ban. Valid arguments exist on both sides of the issue. Police Officials.
a 66% drop was seen. p < .433 ± 728). http://www2. no statistically significant differences between means were found with a one-way ANOVA (F(1. p < . 2013).gov/compendia/statab/cats/law_enforcement_courts_prisons/crimes_and_crime_rates. http://www.between years following its expiration and those prior to its enactment.0005). see FBI.633 ± 2. While it is important to note that average homicide levels during the ban were higher than those following its expiration.042) than between 2005 and 2009 (16. Firearms and Explosives (ATF) reported a drop in involvement of assault weapons in crimes during the ban.042) than between 1994 and 2004 (17. 39 See supra note 14.079. 2013). Census cited FBI violent crime data. . 2013). http://www. A statistically significant difference was found between years prior to the Act and those during which the Act was in force (F(1. Three Strikes and You’re Out: A Review of State Legislation.nij. as determined by a one-way ANOVA (F(1. Gun control prior to the 1968 Act was virtually a 39 38 37 36 and handguns consistently make 36 See United States Census.826. Three strikes laws. 28. Between 1990 and 1994. 37 38 National Institute of Justice.633 ± 2. Table 1. There was also a statistically significant difference between homicide levels in years after the Act expired and those prior to its enactment.805 ± 2.271.census. 4.14) = 1. Table 312: Homicide Trends 1980 to 2008. Crime in the United States (CIUS).htm (last visited Feb.gov/ucr/cius2009/data/table_01. During the 10 years when the Act was in force.0005). among other more obvious interfering factors. IV. during. leaving only 1.ht ml (last visited Feb. Twenty-four States adopted three strikes laws around the same time as the 1994 Act . We could thus infer that stricter penalties rather than the assault weapons ban were most responsible for decreases in firearms crime.html (last visited Feb. and after the Act. This represents roughly 60.279).82% of crime gun traces related to weapons named in the Act. p = . (1997). Homicide was more frequent between 1980 and 1993 (21.000 guns over 10 years. Homicide levels were higher between 1980 and 1993 (21. but the magnitude was again minimal considering that less than 5% of gun crimes involved assault weapons prior to the Act up 75% or more of total firearms murders . The Bureau of Alcohol.631). For 2009. Tobacco. 27. 28. make isolating the effects of the 1994 Act impossible. See supra note 21. All data was entered into SPSS.gov/pubs-sum/165369.23) = 16.61% of ATF traces related to assault weapons.fbi. but no such difference is found between years during which it was valid and those after its expiration . A one-way ANOVA test was run to calculate any differences in homicides before. Elusive Solutions Benefits of gun control laws and regulations are implicit despite the apparent lack of undeniable evidence of their past successes.17) = 30.
infowars. 2013). 2013).bet. new gun control statutes and regulations provide mostly moral support. there is much more racially-diverse and bipartisan opposition to gun control in the celebrity media culture. In devising potential cures for the gun violence illness. http://www. 2. and appeals to the more emotional side of the public. See http://www. 2013).non-issue.co. CBS News (April 29. A. . Or so it would seem. Effects and implications are significant.html (last visited Mar. In much the same way. 2009 9:59 PM).S. Gun Play: Rappers With Weapons Charges. a demand for the restricted ownership of firearms seems non-controversial.html (last visited Mar. Some rappers. 2013). The GOP is generally for more gun rights whereas the Democratic Party is generally for more gun control. United States of America: Murder Capital of the Developed World 41 40 40 AP.html (last visited Mar.” See Piers Morgan stares down the barrel in bust-up with gun nut Alex Jones. the result was a moral victory rather than a tangible solution to gun crime. When British-national CNN anchor Piers Morgan took a strong position on gun control after the Sandy Hook shootings. http://www. Simon Kelner from the British Independent labeled Jones a “gun nut”.uk/voices/comment/piers-morgan-stares-down-the-barrel-in-bustup-with-gunnut-alex-jones-8443838.com/alex-jones-vs-piers-morgan/ (last visited Mar. like “Mack 10” and “Tech N9ne” named themselves after banned weapons. and stood up for Morgan. MGM 2003). most notably. 2. Characters like Glenn Beck and Alex Jones represent a sect of Republican supporters which are most vocal in their opposition to gun control. assessment of the issue worldwide can offer some guidance. saying “To English eyes. “Newsflash: Rappers are big supporters of the Second Amendment. See also Bowling for Columbine (Michael Moore. 41 Americans have not infrequently been characterized as “gun nuts”. However. Alex Jones of Inforwars. Kmart Kills Ammunition Sales.” See BET. Rappers. violence and crime in the movies. “Scarface” is both a popular film and the stage name of a rap music star.com/music/photos/2012/01/gun-play-rappers-with-weapons-charges. http://www. but over there it has led to calls for his deportation for impugning the second amendment of the US Constitution (the right to bear arms). and yet murder rates and totals in those years were half to two-thirds those of the first decade and more of the new millennium. Exposure to and consumption of such media is not limited by demographics. assault weapons have been called out by name in lyrics of hundreds of rap songs. Political remedies win over many hearts and minds. 2. but the flat and high numbers show the problems are persistent.independent. judging from the ridiculous number of MCs who've been arrested for weapons possession or other gun-related charges over the years.com started a petition to deport Morgan. and help stigmatize the culture of assault weapons and murder in the U. 1. Obama‟s gun control gives some closure to survivors and family members of victims of shootings. This element of American culture complements the fascination with gangsters. When Michael Moore helped survivors of the Columbine shooting motivate Kmart to stop selling ammunition .com/2100201_162-299156.cbsnews. . Since the 1990s. are generally the antithesis of the Republican Party agenda.
but in the case of homicides. Thomas Hamilton. 2013 4:56). 2012 14:44). 1. which adopted a ban on private ownership of all handguns after the 1996 Dunblane massacre . and handgun crimes fell 44% between 2002/03 and 2010/11. 3.2) and Mexico (18. Only a handful of countries have higher homicide totals than the United States . 2013).S. . http://edition. but it is fitting that the world‟s wealthiest nation would also be one of the world‟s safest and least violent. total (15.S. http://www.239). Anti-gun advocates cite successes of countries like the UK. 2. 2010 Mexico (20. “*a+cross the whole of the EU-27 there were 1.org/documents/data-andanalysis/statistics/Homicide/Globa_study_on_homicide_2011_web. rate comparisons are more hopeful than those with nominal totals. 2013).1 in neighbouring Estonia – down to less than 1 in Spain.europa.1). Germany. The Economist (December 15. 2013.834).pdf (last visited Mar.com/blogs/lexington/2012/12/gun-control (last visited Mar. Elsewhere in the world.php/Crime_statistics (last visited Mar.S. 06:57HKT). 2. homicide rates to be on track with EU-27 rates. Following the enactment of the statutory ban. A Look at Foreign Systems 44 43 42 Debate in the public media includes calls for bans on guns in general . 44 45 Lexington.S. swiftly became engaged in a publicly-supported process to reduce risks of gun violence. http://www.0) is higher than all others except for Estonia (5. and 2010 Colombia (15.cnn.economist. Dunblane: How UK school massacre led to tighter gun control. killed 16 children aged five and six and their teacher in a school in Dunblane. Scotland.909).000 number. Slovenia and Austria.com/2012/12/17/world/europe/dunblane-lessons (last visited Mar.963). The gun control that works no guns. CNN (Jan.It is no secret that Americans are more murderous than Europeans. B. http://epp.ec. Global Study on Homicide (2011). One would need to ignore statistics to conclude that bans on guns are not related to low prevalence of gun violence. A comparison of murder rate within the OECD shows that in the U. 2009 India (40. Rates do not tell the whole story.459) totals exceeded the benchmark 15.eurostat. in 2008 in Africa. ranging from a high of 8. 2008 Indonesia (18. but for U. leading to a legislative ban on private ownership of handguns in the mainland.585). gun crime decreased by more than 50% from peak levels in the 1990s. and Nigeria (18. 2013). Britain. 20.752).954) surpassed the 15. In 1996. which has no “gun culture” comparable to the USA. South Africa (16. 43 years-old.3 in Lithuania – and 6. (5. Statistical studies from the U. The law was passed within a year and a half of the Dunblane shootings. See Peter Wilkinson.000 inhabitants.3 homicides per 100.eu/statistics_explained/index. and 2009 Russia (15. frequently cite stark reductions in homicide over the past three decades. 45 43 UNODC.000 mark. only Ethiopia (20.241).422) had more homicides than the 2009 U. This may seem like an unrealistically onerous endeavor. Crime Statistics (December 4. but regardless 42 For years 2007-2009.” European Commission Eurostat. total murders would need to be reduced by a factor of three . 2013).unodc. For example. In the Americas. 2009 Brazil (42.
Cengage (2011).S. if more informal measures could be used within communities. the Confucian tradition does not rely upon the coercive State to create social order.pdf (last visited Mar.npa. Instead of roving streets in patrol cars. Involvement of the formal courts is somewhat of a last resort . could deter crime in highrisk locations.S. Comparative Criminal Justice Systems. 2.jp/english/seisaku1/JapaneseCommunityPolice. Throughout the East Asian world.go. one or more officers per shift are appointed to a fixed location in neighborhoods . . Instead. 47 46 46 47 History of the Japanese Police Box System. the Confucian legal and social tradition motivates individuals and communities to prevent and deter crime without formal government assistance. Corrections are handled primarily through a system of informal processes. Aside from prohibition. 2013). In Japan. there are certain social. Although adoption of such a less-formal system would be unappealing to many Americans who prefer the adversarial style of the Common Law. corrections spending could be reduced and criminal histories would not as often restrict class mobility. Such integration of the police into communities in the U. Harry Dammer and Jay Albanese.of merits and successes of these types of policies. reduce response time. In urban areas such as Detroit. a house could be used as both a residence and mini police station. generally within the family and localized social hierarchy. the community-policing model has been incredibly effective. political. where property values have plummeted due to foreclosures. at http://www. and institutional changes that could occur in the U. independent compliance with a moral order is stressed. and get civilians more involved in public safety. improve public relations. In contrast to the Common Law and Civil Law traditions. such a restrictive approach is not suitable for the United States of America. Koban and chuzaisho (police boxes) are standardized into every neighborhood.
In Vancouver.org/mil/law/table_state_militia_laws. In one picture. at http://vancouver. Michigan Militia. they are not integrated into any system of defense to the extent of National and State Guards . Canada. See International Committee for the Red Cross. . if militias wish to petition the government for exemption to general rules.michiganmilitia. but they use their equipment to call in an officer. at http://www. once famously associated with Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. For a review of State laws regarding militias. staffed and governed by members of the local civilian population . thus not only is a militia necessary. If civilian patrol cars encounter an incident. American Common Defence Review (2006).Neighborhood Watch programs are popular throughout the United States.ca/police/ (last visited Mar.icrc. Minors are prohibited by customary international humanitarian law (Rules 136-137) from engaging in military activities.org/ihl (last visited Mar. 2013). Developing a New Strategy Each word in the Second Amendment is articulated intentionally to serve a specific purpose. The Michigan Militia.pdf (last visited Mar. see Don Hamrick. but a “well-regulated” one. 2. the police integrated volunteers and civilians a bit more to enhance the effect of such programs. Vancouver‟s innovative public safety strategy also includes community policing centers that are operated. a 9 year-old girl is shooting a rifle while wearing a gas mask. On the matter of assault weapons bans. they do not get directly involved.S. In such a case. These types of projects could be combined with police box and informal remedies to provide real. Citizens‟ Crime Watch volunteers are trained and coordinated by police officers who work with volunteers to patrol streets. 2. minimally-invasive community-based public safety throughout the U. C. Although many States have adopted statutes which mention the common private militias. at http://www. 2. 2013). cost-efficient. standing militias would need to first organize more and cooperate with State agencies to register their members. then this may be an option whereby such organizations could retain rights to bear certain arms. perhaps issuing renewable militia 49 48 48 49 Vancouver Police Department. 2.com/ (last visited Mar. 2013). features pictures of training operations on its homepage. 2013). http://constitution. International Humanitarian Law.
Oakland. annexing the suburbs into New York style boroughs is a possible solution. ID. Municipalities like Central Falls. Obama formally orders ‘deeply destructive’ cuts. In other cases. 3 Most Desperate Cities include . Simply ignoring the problems by moving out of the cities or into increasingly ruralized districts does not help the collective American society. Richard Cowan and Alistair Bell. Legislative measures do remain the most attractive approach on the government end toward curbing gun crime. RI. PA. Historical “white-flight” obviously relocated tax revenues and investment capital. Thus. 50 50 Sequestration officially started in March 2013. and Memphis without sufficient finances to protect citizens while still providing other basic services. and Vallejo. Harrisburg. 2013 1:04am EST). However. such as that in Detroit. 2.reuters. Otherwise. and efforts to reduce their illegal use to a level concurrent with developed. leaving major cities like Baltimore. More social involvement is needed to effectively minimize murders in the United States. civilized nations have been largely ineffective. AL. CA went through bankruptcy following the financial crisis. though. the majority of the burden rests on individuals and smaller-scale communities. these types of budgetary maneuvers are impractical in times of sequestration and public bankruptcy . Handguns are the main problem. if individuals cannot show that they are actively involved in a well-regulated militia.identification cards. revision of State and County budgets is needed to support enhanced policing. blames Congress. Boise County. Assault weapons are not the primary cause of gun violence. the American populace is resistant to various government initiatives to the extent that it is unlikely the traditional coercive powers of the State will effect a comprehensive remedy. regardless of increased inputs. The leveling-off of murder totals against increased justice spending suggests that the government has reached its maximum level of power. 2. In many cases. then the Constitution does not extend rights to bear any and all arms. Alan Farnham. Increased spending has not solved the problem of murder in the USA. Of course.com/article/2013/03/02/us-usa-fiscal-idUSBRE91P0W220130302 (last visited Mar. Jefferson County. http://www. 2013). Reuters (Mar.
“The Master said: Guide them with policies and align them with punishments and the people will evade them and have no shame. ABC News (Sept. Some elements of each type of legal system will be of use in developing a truly American tradition – that reflecting the melting pot culture.html (last visited Mar. http://www. Larger-order problems in the American society require more integrated social action. 2013).pdf (last visited Mar. for the world‟s most economically powerful nation to join its wealthy peers when it comes to homicide rankings. 2011). Central Falls. 3. a real socio-cultural transition needs to occur in the U.. 51 52 See Hofstede’s National Culture at http://geert-hofstede.S. 2013). An American Legal Tradition It is true what Confucius professed.indiana.. learn. However. and evolve into the great society that Lyndon Johnson may have desired when he signed the 1968 Act into law. fear and hatred of the government. 3. Longer investigations and a more inquiry-based 52 51 Vallejo. http://abcnews. especially those related to firearms. 2013). Since we live in a period of change.I. D.” Confucius.000 annually. 2.com/national-culture. which could pose significant challenges to the individualist culture . 8. Bk. Ch. 3. Guide them with virtue (de) and align them with li and the people will have a sense of shame and fulfill their roles. in many cases. R. Analects.com/Business/desperate-us-cities-counties-file-bankruptcy/story?id=14464314 (last visited Mar. we may have sufficient opportunity to grow as a people. Harrisburg. adapt.go. that right living must come from within the individual . English Common Law forms the basis of jurisprudence. Most likely. The outlook that public safety should be left to public officials and servants will likely lead to another ten years like the last.edu/~p374/Analects_of_Confucius_(Eno-2012). . but in many cases a less adversarial approach would help quell cynicism. 3.To consider the American people wholly disinterested in the safety of their communities would be blind to the overwhelming show of support for legal action in cases of violent crime.. is a fault of the American perspective which contributes to failure to achieve reasonably safe city streets and blocks. reliance upon the police and courts. Calif. with homicides around 15. Pa.
Such advancements would undoubtedly be challenging and would require paradigm change. extreme incidents like school shootings. is another matter entirely. Combining informal remedies and community responsibility. Conclusion A murder rate of 5. more appropriate application of religious principles and personalized handling of persons of different religions. and mass murders in public places cause public outrage and spur demands for increased gun control. Due to the greater magnitude of their impacts.0 per 100. The underlying. could help further reduce inefficiencies in criminal justice systems. in the style of Sacred Law systems. Other civilized nations ban military style weapons. focusing exclusively on neither factual nor legal guilt.000 inhabitants is obviously tolerable to many people. sniper attacks. . Finally. incidents involving assault weapons are much less frequent and cause far fewer fatalities than handgun incidents. but rather a fair combination of the two with the aim of rendering win-win outcomes.process in the style of Civil Law systems could help reduce court expenditures and improve judicial economy. they are certainly not without value. could help motivate citizens to voluntarily comply with laws. but notwithstanding their potentially mute effects. Americans should feel proud to be among such elite external powers in adopting bans. Statistics have shown clearly that new gun control legislation will not likely cause major impacts. long-term problem with misuse of firearms however. V. Likewise. Citizens may well favor a balanced approach. Incidents with multiple fatalities are much less probable and represent a much smaller percent of the total homicides yearly when compared to single fatality incidents. similar to Confucian tradition.
people kill people. The conservative philosophy of tragedy: guns don’t kill people. but there are other means of establishing community responsibility without widespread upward 54 53 54 U. 2012 10. which as the “supreme law of the land” 53 will be the guide for all American gun laws. 2013). Macroeconomic stability will help. well-regulated State militias. the more complete truth of the matter is that people kill people with guns. It is also a conservative “mantra”.000 in total.000 or lower. Volunteer. requires incredible effort.00EST). Courts may at some future time support possession of military style weapons for active and documented members of recognized. ambitious target will be reached only through grassroots. art. In the presenttense. Such an expansive. 3. No amount of public funds is or will be available that could directly cause this drastic reduction.Rights to bear arms are clearly set out in the Constitution. informal and community-based policing are all great ideas. they should join in the cause of making American safer in general. if such organizations are properly managed and transparent. Publicprivate partnerships are of indelible importance.S.co. While it is true that “guns don‟t kill people – people kill people” . a rate of less than 2. Those guns have been banned in the past. If people wish to honor victims at school shootings. . VI. This is a well-known saying featured on cultural items like bumper stickers and t-shirts. and future bans are within the Constitutional limits. cl.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/21/guns-conservative-philosophy-tragedy (last visited Mar. Some guns make killing multiple persons easier. http://www. Guardian (December 21. interactive. See Jill Filipovic. Court interpretation supports possession of handguns in homes.5 per 100. community-level channels.guardian. This broader goal of decreasing homicides to less than 8. Integrated efforts between branches of government and between departments like education and corrections will be essential. 2. but they require support from other institutions to be successful. In closing the debate. acceptance of statutes and case law are imperative. we should look toward the future. Const.
cbsnews. 1993 Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (P. 1. 90–618. Retrieved Mar. compliance with laws of torts. We people should feel honored to make such revolutionary steps. 2. Retrieved Mar. and we should happily move toward a more harmonic civilization.html Archer. it should be a fundamental goal. 82 Stat. if they felt their individual opinions and beliefs were represented in their government. 1. Religious organizations and charities have powerful effects in creating moral integrity among people of all classes. Reading Between the (Head) Lines. positive. Private Citizens need to do more for their communities and they must do so out of a sense of personal responsibility for society. Gun Play: Rappers with Weapons Charges.com/blog/reading-between-theheadlines/201207/mass-murders-are-the-rise BET (2012). such wholly representative government should be an explicit objective.com/2100-201_162-299156. respect for civil rights and other sections of statutory guidelines. CBS News.L. 1213). Psychology Today.L. AP (2009). and it should be obligatory.psychologytoday. (2012). References 1968 Gun Control Act (P.com/music/photos/2012/01/gun-play-rappers-with-weaponscharges. 107 Stat. 103-159. In a democratic society. Retrieved Mar.L. Governments need to persuade the public to cooperate more. Kmart Kills Ammunition Sales. they could be more easily moved toward obedience of criminal codes. 1536). 103-322) (repealed 2004).mobility or constant growth. In summary. 2013 from http://www. 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Act (P.html . D. sustained action is needed on both side of the aisle and both sides of the courtrooms.bet. If the American public felt a sense of ownership over their legal system. 2013 from http://www. 2013 from http://www. Title I.
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