Firearm violence injures or kills 100,000 Americans each year. Research on firearm violence tends to focus on two elements-the host (i.e., victims of firearm violence) and the environment (i.e., gun policies)-but little attention has been paid to the agent (the gun and ammunition) or the vector (firearm manufacturers, dealers, and the industry lobby). Using Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives data, trends in firearm manufacturing were investigated from 1990 to 2015. Overall domestic firearms production decreased slightly from 1996 through 2004, and then steadily increased from 1.7% in 2005 to 13.8% in 2013, when >10 million firearms were produced for the domestic market. The increase in total firearm production was driven by the increased production of pistols and rifles. Within the pistol category, increased production was attributable to an increase in higher caliber weapons. Similar trends were observed in gun purchases and recovered and traced crime guns. Trends in firearm manufacturing reveal a shift toward more-lethal weapons, and this trend is also observed in gun purchases and crime gun traces. This may reflect a societal shift in cultural practices and norms related to guns and could inform strategies to reduce firearm violence.
Citation: Smith VM, Siegel M, Xuan Z, Ross CS, Galea S, Kalesan B, Fleegler E, Goss KA. Broadening the Perspective on Gun Violence: An Examination of the Firearms Industry, 1990-2015. Am J Prev Med. 2017. pii: S0749-3797(17)30258-1.
Gary Wintemute doesn’t look like a slayer of gunslingers, writes the Sacramento Bee in a profile of one of the nation’s leading researchers on the gun industry. He’s a bespectacled professor of 65, and speaks in the measured tones of the scientist he is. But for the gun industry, he may be the most dangerous scientist in America, more so starting on July 1. That’s when the University of California will release the first of $5 million to fund the UC Davis Firearms Violence Research Center, located in an unmarked building on Stockton Avenue, across from the UC Davis Medical Center.
Hundreds of gay activists will begin a campaign of civil disobedience and direct action against gun companies and their supporters, to demand an end to the epidemic of gun violence blighting the US, reports The Guardian. Members of Gays Against Guns, a group formed in the wake of the massacre of 49 people at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando earlier this summer, said they would “no longer stand by and watch the gun industry profit from death”. Above, the group pictured during the 2016 NYC Pride March. Credit.
A stark battle between corporate and public interests is taking place in a courtroom in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where the families of 10 children killed in the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School are suing Remington Arms, the company that makes and sells the semiautomatic weapon used by the killer, writes Alison Frankel for Reuters. The fight is over Remington’s marketing and sales information. Read more.
The Guardian reports that a coalition of more than 100 medical groups is asking Congress to fund research on gun violence at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to end a decades-long drought of federal public health research on the subject. The groups sent a letter requesting that Congress “end the dramatic chilling effect of the current rider language restricting gun violence research and to fund this critical work”.
An op ed in the Sacramento Bee notes that year after year, Americans are horrified by the relentless gun violence in this country – and feel despair that it can’t be stopped. Now California’s Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is taking the issue directly to the people, with his proposal of a state ballot measure to advance gun safety. The measure would make California the first in the nation to implement point-of-sale background checks for ammunition purchases.