Weapons – A Statistical Update

It was said:  “It hath been forbidden you to carry arms unless essential” “beyond that which is necessary to insure the internal security of … countries.” Good “people need no weapons of destruction, inasmuch as they have girded themselves to reconstruct the world. Their hosts are the hosts of goodly deeds, and their arms the arms of upright conduct, and their commander the fear of God…Such hath been the patience…the resignation…of this people…that they have suffered themselves to be killed rather than kill.”

The frequency of Gun Rampages (Mass Murders) has gone up each year for the past 10 years, demonstrated by recent research (Figure 1.)

Gun Rampages

There were a record number of mass shootings in 2012. The spike in Gun Rampages coincides with the period 2009-2012 when approx. 100 state laws were passed into legislation making it easier to legally purchase, carry, and conceal firearms. Some examples of these new laws include:

  1. In Missouri, citizens can carry a gun while intoxicated and fire it while intoxicated assuming the motive is “self-defense”
  2. In Kansas, gun permit holders are permitted to carry concealed weapons inside K-12 schools
  3. In Utah, an individual under felony indictment is permitted to purchase a gun, and a person charged with a violent crime may retain a concealed weapon permit
  4. In Nebraska, an individual who has pled guilty to a violent crime in the past is allowed to purchase a firearm permit
  5. In Louisiana, permit holders are permitted carry concealed weapons inside houses of worship
  6. In Virginia repealed the law that requires handgun vendors to submit sales records and mandated the disposal of all such previous records on file

(Source: Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence)

The deadliness of  each instance of Gun Rampages is increasing as well, in part due to the superior quality fire-power (military grade assault rifles and high-capacity magazines) being used (Figure 2.)

gun rampage annual deaths

The Texas University study calculated statistics that show the majority of Gun Rampages were carried out by men stocking multiple weapons with over 50% of them preferring assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

There were three instances of men who intervened against a shooter out of 83 total Gun Rampages (between 2000-2010). All three men were trained professionals. Two were police officers who were off duty, and 1 was a US Marine. No Gun Rampage was halted by a lay person carrying a privately purchased firearm. Out of 83 total Gun Rampages from 2000 to 2010, the prevalence of personal firearms (300 million in the US) has not contributed to preventing One Gun Rampage incident.

The question now is whether social policy will be shaped by rationality, data, and evidence-based reason, or will manufacturer’s profit margins, a culture of violence and egotism, and political corruption shape the future.

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“Every means that produces war must be checked and the causes that prevent the occurrence of war be advanced — so that physical conflict may become an impossibility…”