Policy Market Blog

Guns, Race, Mass Shootings...

Martin Kennedy - Friday, September 13, 2019
Legislation and Mass Shootings
From National Bur. of Economic Research (NBER) Michael Luca, Deepak Malhotra, and Christopher Poliquin.

Paraphrased abstract: 
  1. Mass shootings evoke policy responses:  One mass shooting (in a state) drives a 15% increase in the number of gun bills introduced (in that state).  
  2. Mass shootings account for relatively few gun-related fatalities
  3.  The bills that pass loosen gun restrictions in GOP-controlled legislatures.       
More (from TPM):  There are roughly 40,000 gun-related deaths per year.  Six in ten are suicides (51% of all suicides).  Almost four in ten are murders (about 75% of all murders).  CDC data

Context:  The nearly 40,000 gun deaths in 2017 was the highest recorded.  Gun murders have increased 32% from 2014.  Gun suicides have increased 41% since 2006. 

Peak gun murders however, occurred in 1993 (just over 18,000).  Violent crime levels in the U.S. were far higher than today.

The rate of gun deaths is rising—12 per 100,000 people in 2017—but the peak was in 1974—16 per 100,000 (the 70s were violent relatively speaking). 

In TN, the rate was betw. 15 and 20 per 100,000 in 2017--higher than the national average but lower than ‘Bama, Miss, La, Arkansas, and Missouri—all > 20 per 100,000 (southerners are violent). 

The lowest rates:  New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, NY, and Mass (all 5 or less per 100,000)

Race:  White southern males have far higher homicide rates than white northern males (males are overwhelming more prone to violence)

Worldwide:  Canada, Europe, and Australia have rates of 2 or less per 100,000.  Some Latin American countries have rates far above Alabama (El Salvador: 39 per 100,000)

TPM Comment:  The probability that any single person will be killed by a random shooter approaches zero.  Yet, the number of ‘active shooter’ incidents per year continues on an upward trend.  Furthermore, it’s randomness and scale that unsettle. 
The approach taken by TN (armed personell in every school) is costly even without considering the hidden costs (more students getting tangled up in the criminal justice system).  An effective deterent?  MSD school in Parkland had an armed guard. 
We laid out what we considered to be a more efficient policy response.  Let us know if you’re interested. 

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