These horrifying new numbers show how America's lax gun laws hurt black Americans - Vox
Yep, and we lawfully-armed citizens are the ones living in a dream world.Article said:What's to blame for the alarming black homicide rate? The Violence Policy Center, which favors more restrictive gun laws, focused on firearms: "For homicides in which the weapon used could be identified, 84 percent of black victims (4,960 out of 5,891) were shot and killed with guns. Of these, 73 percent (3,609 victims) were killed with handguns. … In comparison, 65 percent of white victims and 74 percent of victims of all races were killed with guns."
The report concluded, "For black victims of homicide, like all victims of homicide, guns — usually handguns — are far and away the number-one murder tool. Successful efforts to reduce America’s black homicide toll, like America’s homicide toll as a whole, must put a focus on reducing access and exposure to firearms."
There are, of course, other factors behind these high levels of homicides, ranging from socioeconomic variables to urbanization to alcohol consumption. (We'll get to those later.) But the research shows that guns — and access to them — do play a big factor.
Despite all of this research, policymakers, particularly at the federal level, have opted not to pass comprehensive gun laws. To this day, America has much weaker gun laws than other developed nations. There's no sign of that changing anytime soon.
So what else can be done?
Guns, after all, are one factor, but not the only factor. The fact that researchers need to control for different variables, from urbanization to alcohol consumption, in gun studies is indicative of this: If guns were the single dominant issue when it came to violence, major statistical controls wouldn't be necessary.
I asked researchers about other policy ideas for reducing violence. Here are some of the ideas they put forward (which you can read about in much more detail here):
- Stricter alcohol policies: Studies suggest that raising the alcohol tax, limiting the number of alcohol outlets, and even revoking repeat offenders' right to drink can cut back on violence.
- Hot-spot policing: Deploying police in blocks and neighborhoods with high levels of crime and violence, particularly if done in cooperation with the local community, can significantly reduce crime without displacing it to other areas and generally to positive reactions from locals.
- Focused deterrence policing: This strategy hones in on specific community problems (drugs, violence, and so on), and works with community groups, such as churches and schools, to get the individuals and groups who drive most of that activity to stop. It's partly credited with the "Boston miracle," in which the city saw violent crime drop 79 percent in the 1990s. And other research found that it can work in other places.
- Raise the age or grade for dropping out of school: A study published in the American Economic Journal analyzed different cohorts of kids, finding that the group with higher dropout rates was more likely to commit crime. The authors of the study said its findings indicate that raising the dropout age — from 16 to 18, for example, — or forcing students to complete a certain amount of grades before they can drop out could reduce crime.
- Behavioral intervention programs: One such program, Youth Guidance's Becoming A Man, targets youth who are at risk of getting into violent encounters and teaches them how to resolve conflicts peacefully. Randomized control trials by the University of Chicago Crime Lab found the program reduced violent crime arrests by 30 to 50 percent during the time of the intervention.
- Eliminate blighted housing: A 2015 study found that fixing up abandoned and vacant buildings in Philadelphia led to significant drops in overall crimes, total assaults, gun assaults, and nuisance crimes. There was no evidence that crime shifted to other areas, although there were signs that drug dealing, drug possession, and property crimes went up around remediated buildings. Still, net gains overall.
As the variety and depth of these ideas may suggest, there are a lot of things that policymakers could be doing to reduce America's extraordinary levels of violence — even if they refuse to enact new gun control measures.