Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

News What has the US done to tackle gun shootings?

  1. Aug 6, 2012 #1
    As a non-local, I have no clue what is been done in the US to prevent shootings from reoccurring. What keeps on happening in the US, most people up here call it insanity. The shooting news catch international attention yet prevention measures and actions from the governments don't come in the international news.

    We had two shootings here recently. Politicians acted reasonably to tackle the violence issue.
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2012/07/24/harper-toronto-gun-summit.html
    Has US also pledged any money to reduce the gun violence or created organizations to prevent random shootings?

    (P.S. This is not anti/pro guns discussion thread. It's nearly impossible to have the anti-pro discussion. But, I only wanted to know about if something is being done and how successful the government has been in tackling the gun-violence issue)
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 6, 2012 #2
    I don't really see how throwing money at a problem means they are doing something about it, or that they are "acting reasonably". It is much less simple than that, and who is to know how effective that money will be? How could a special police squad prevent some of the shootings? I think they might be able to put resources into tracking purchase of ammunition and catch some (which I am guessing is already done to some extent), but that is certainly not going to stop every determined psycho. Also, people in the US call it insanity too, among other things as well.

    Google found this pretty easily:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence_in_the_United_States#Public_policy
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence_in_the_United_States#Prevention_programs
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2012
  4. Aug 6, 2012 #3
    I checked your wiki pages. These things have been there for few years or decades now.

    It's always comfortable to see that they are at least doing something about it than nothing at all. It's impossible catch every psycho out there but that doesn't mean you accept these shootings as a new norm and don't do anything about them.
     
  5. Aug 6, 2012 #4

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Yes, we also have such an organization. It is also called 'the police'. :confused:
     
  6. Aug 6, 2012 #5
    Any attempt to regulate guns in the US immediately runs into very strong and well funded political opposition. It would appear that many find the gun violence an acceptable cost of maintaining free and almost unrestricted access to them. Many do not feel that way, but those who do are better organized and better funded than the other side. Until that changes, I fear that nothing will change.
     
  7. Aug 6, 2012 #6
    Yes, we also have that but we don't run into these high profile shootings every year. We did have two this year and politicians treated it very seriously. As I said in the OP, I have yet to see any news on government doing something about this. It might be because I don't get to see many local-US news. As an outsider without seeing any strong response, it appears that the US government doesn't treats this as a serious issue.
     
  8. Aug 6, 2012 #7
    I don't mind that but what bugs me is that mentally unhealthy people also appear to have unrestricted access. I am not sure if they tried to restrict the access to mentally unhealthy people after Virginia/Batman massacres.
     
  9. Aug 6, 2012 #8

    lisab

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Some places have stricter rules - it really varies, state to state. In the state I live (Washington), there is a waiting period before you can buy a gun from a gun store (three days, I think).

    Recently there was a story where this rule may have saved lives. A guy was going through a nasty divorce, and had a restraining order against him from contacting his family. Well, he showed up at the family home very drunk with a box of bullets, apparently making threats.

    He had tried to buy a gun earlier but because of the waiting period, he was not successful. Lucky for the family!

    http://www.thenewstribune.com/2012/03/22/2078494/gig-harbor-principal-accused-of.html [Broken]

    The waiting period doesn't apply to buying guns from individuals, though :rolleyes:.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  10. Aug 6, 2012 #9
    There are laws in place to prohibit sale to mentally unhealthy people. The application of the law is where there are issues. There are also grey areas and instances where someone may appear healthy or may even trick a mental health professional. How do you prevent someone who is healthy and then suddenly flips?

    The problems and solutions may be more fundamental in culture, society, and human nature than superficial laws and policing (although they are important too). The question I think everyone asks is why do they do it, and calling them crazy is obvious but still does not answer why. There are a lot of crazy people who don't harm others.
     
  11. Aug 6, 2012 #10
    A holmes sized shooting could happen every week and it would still be insignificant overall. The US has over 300 million people.

    Freedom which includes gun ownership has a price, sometimes people will die(although ironically holmes and similar would have killed more with bombs as has been demonstrated by attacks that have the highest deaths). The number of gun deaths that are actually homicides is surprisingly small, around 15k.


    Things like "mental health" are completely subjective and restrictions on it will never be supported outside of someone actually having a violent mental breakdown beforehand.

    You could base it on anyone who sees a counselor but I suspect that would result in many people not seeing counselors.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2012
  12. Aug 6, 2012 #11

    SixNein

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Agreed....

    I always looked at the issue as public safety vs self defense. But others look at it differently.
     
  13. Aug 6, 2012 #12

    Dembadon

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    What, exactly, are you expecting to see that would qualify as a "strong response," and that you feel would be effective?

    "Mentally unhealthy" people don't always appear to be mentally unhealthy until a tragic event. Many of them are capable of acting "normally" when they feel like it. The implication being, not everyone who claims to be mentally unhealthy is, in fact, mentally unhealthy. Many of them choose it as a defense since it's something that can often be feigned fairly effectively.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2012
  14. Aug 6, 2012 #13
    Mental diseases are just like any other disease and there are trained psychologists to recognize them. In both Virgin Tech and Batman cases, it was known that they are not healthy. As news are emerging, even the Wisconsin guy shouldn't have had guns seeing his anti-social behavior or links to skinhead organizations. Even if guns are to be used for self-defense, how can a person self defend if he cannot distinguish between right and wrong?
    You cannot price innocent people lives who just are enjoying their day at their school, watching a movie and having a peaceful religious gathering. Lives of people who never did anything wrong to others are priceless and these lives shouldn't be compromised just to give some psycho or neo-nazi freedom to do whatever he pleases. But, of-course this is a personal opinion.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2012
  15. Aug 6, 2012 #14
    I seen some condolences from politicians after both US shootings this year but nothing more. And, I thought the state representative statement was bit non-serious. It appears as if they are seeing this just like another normal day in the US:
    This is bit different from what was in the news after we had shooting in the Canada IMO.
     
  16. Aug 6, 2012 #15
    I have serious doubts that any change in laws could have any real impact on the availability of guns and ammo. With the number of guns three times the population, it is pretty easy to buy a used gun completely outside of the legal system, with no paperwork to track it back to you. Even if you fill out the federal form at a legal gun shop, that stays in the shop. They only have to have it available if the feds ask for it, and in the majority of cases that never happens.
     
  17. Aug 6, 2012 #16

    Mech_Engineer

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Where do you get the "three times the population" value? Last I read, the estimated number of privately owned guns in the United States is around 200 million (population of the United States being around 320 million). Are you claiming there are closer to 1 billion guns in the US, a factor of 5 higher than the FBI's estimates?

    Are you referring to criminal background checks, which are electronically submitted to the FBI through the NICBCS system? People are subject to criminal background checks before purchasing a firearm in a store, although private-party sales are another matter.

    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/general-information/fact-sheet [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  18. Aug 6, 2012 #17

    AlephZero

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    I don't think it makes much difference to the argument whether there are 200m or 1bn. Scaling estimates of UK gun ownership to the size of the US population would give a figure of about 10m, but there isn't much evidence that it's hard for people who want to own a gun illegally to get hold of one, even at that "low" level.
     
  19. Aug 6, 2012 #18
    We have probably reached a point of no return as far as any kind of laws restricting weapons. The large capacity magazines are more recent, but there is no way short of civil war that people would give them up.

    The sheer number of weapons owned in this country makes it a matter of common sense that there we be no government agency coming around to take away weapons. The problem is too many people don't have the common sense to realize this. It is much easier to believe the many conspiracy theories floating around.

    It is almost as if a certain portion of the population actually wants that civil war. It is mentioned constantly on gun forums.

    It all boils down to the basic psychology that we all need an enemy. And it appears that we will indeed eventually follow the fear mongers into another civil war.


    http://www.google.com/search?source..._pw.r_qf.&fp=e4db0aae11000409&biw=960&bih=414

    The quote is from the second google link.

    I have read through dozens of weapons forums and the most common enemy claimed appears to be President Obama. Especially according to the NRA.

    So those who claim the man who can not accomplish anything is the same man who is going to have their weapons siezed?? Exactly what well organized militia do these people belong to?

    While they are fighting supposed tyranny from within what is the U.S. military and national Guard going to be doing?

    Shotgun firing dragon's breath shell for self defense ? do not fire in your home.



    AR 15 with slide stock with 100 round magazine



    Slide stock shotgun with 20 round magazine. One of these started a wild fire that burned over 40,000 acres in AZ this spring.



    Ok OK so you deserve to Have every weapon that is available to enlisted military. Wait a minute, they usually are assigned to carry one or two specific weapons, not all of them.

    I won't go in to the phallic symbol theory.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  20. Aug 6, 2012 #19

    Mech_Engineer

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I'm just trying to keep the facts straight, maybe closer to the point is about 1 in 10 people in the U.S. are lawful gun owners.

    Scaling doesn't provide a particurally useful reference since pretty much all guns are illegal in the UK.

    On the contrary, I would argue it's pretty hard for a criminal to get a gun illegally. They can't be purchased from gun stores or at a gun show without a background check, and are illegal to own if you're a felon or have certain civil or criminal court penalties.

    The only real way to get one is buy it from an illegal arms dealer, which is off the books and already out of the reach of the law (hence the moniker "illegal"). If guns were outlawed by a new law tomorrow who would be most affected by it, people legally purchasing weapons through stores with background checks, or ones being sold illegally on the black market?
     
  21. Aug 6, 2012 #20
    The vast majority of gun violence in the United States occurs with handguns in the inner cities. Usually in the cities that have the most restrictive gun laws (which results in only the criminals having guns).

    Remember that people can get guns illegally. Major Nidal Hasan used a hangun to kill all the people he did. In Norway (a country with a lot of gun control) last year, a man killed 90+ people. The other issue is that we, as a society, have also made another decision: that it is acceptable to have a lot of legitimately mentally unhealthy people walking around in order to not violate the rights of the few mentally healthy people who could accidentally be committed. This was due to a change in the civil rights laws back in the 1980s I think, where beforehand, people like a Jared Loughner, who everyone could see was nuts, would have been committed. The problem was if enough people thought you were nuts, and you really weren't, you could also be committed against your will. The modern law makes it where a person first must do something bad before they can be committed against their will.

    Yes, but by the same token, that's why people should be allowed to be armed as well, so they can defend themselves. The problem with "reasonable gun laws" regarding mental health issues or crimes is that the people who are zealous about gun control would try to make such laws very unreasonable, where if you have so much as a traffic ticket in your background, you lose your gun rights. A determined criminal will always be able to harm people, whether getting the weapons illegally (like the guys in the 1997 North Hollywood shootout) or making bombs or whatnot.
     
  22. Aug 6, 2012 #21
    "Large-capacity" magazine is an arbitrary term. To the gun control people, it means any magazine capable of holding more then ten rounds. A lot of people would disagree with that.

    When Hurricane Katrina happened, the police went around and confiscated the guns of citizens (because of course the citizens who would willingly tell the police where their guns are so they could go and take them away are the ones who cannot be trusted to hold firearms). The result was a lot of people were left defenseless as there was a breakdown of civil order.

    Don't know if they claim Obama can't do anything. People fear him seizing their weapons for reasons ranging from his anti-gun voting history as a Senator to his ability to change the structure of the SCOTUS to where it will be clearly anti-Second Amendment. The militia consists of every able-bodied male. There are also multiple state militias, some of which go all the way back to the revolution; they usually with work in with law enforcement and the military during times of crisis.

    Bump-fire weapons that simulate automatic fire capability are a bad idea IMO, as automatic fire weapons are illegal with a few exceptions. Civilians are not allowed to own every weapon that is available to enlisted military, they are allowed to own handguns, semi-automatic rifles, and shotguns. Whether these are used by the military or not is really irrelevant. So long as they meet what is legally allowed, then it's fine. Many a hunting rifle can do far more damage then a military rifle. There's also a lot of crossover between the two. The hunting variant of the AR-15 (a rifle used by Holmes), for example, fires a larger-caliber of ammunition and has a longer barrel to shoot over a longer distance, with better accuracy. The Remington 870 pump-action shot gun that Holmes also had is used in everything from hunting to law enforcement to military.

    When the Founders wrote the Second Amendment, they also meant military weapons. It wasn't put in there for hunting purposes. That said, being how modern weapons are different, weapons like bombs, machine guns, battle tanks, and all that, are not covered under the word "arms."
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  23. Aug 6, 2012 #22

    lisab

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    In your opinion. If it was clear what the founders meant when they wrote the Constitution, we wouldn't need a Supreme Court.
     
  24. Aug 6, 2012 #23

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Neither of those is correct. For most of the Constitution, there is historical record about the intent of the founders, so we do generally know what "they" intended (note however, "they" is not one person, so "they" didn't always agree with each other and "they" isn't one voice). On the narrow issue you were commenting on, the amendment was indeed intended for the populace to be able to defend themselves against government tyranny and also to help the government defend the country against invasion. That's a historical fact, not an opinion. See discussion in the wiki:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second...ion#Drafting_and_adoption_of_the_Constitution

    The reasons we need the supreme court (for this issue, anyway) is that technology has made military weapons a lot more powerful, causing concern over whether individuals should be allowed to have military grade weapons. In addition, there are always grey edges to rights that require interpretation -- the first Amendment would seem to be clearer, but there has been no shortage of litigation about it, for example.

    [edit] Also, while the USSC certainly does exist partly to bring clarity, they've already ruled on the issue multiple times, doing just that.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2012
  25. Aug 6, 2012 #24

    lisab

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    You've contradicted yourself a bit. Either the writers' intent is clear, or there is already precedent, or their intent is not clear. The very fact that they have ruled "several times" indicates the intent is not clear, or why would so many cases make it to the Supreme Court in the first place?
     
  26. Aug 6, 2012 #25
    It's fundamentally more complicated than any of the posts listed above.It has to do with the individual perpertrating the violence.Every thing counts mental health,genetics,the culture one was raised in,personal beliefs,erroneous information,personal experiences,and the lot.Anyone,under certain circumstances,is capable of such acts.How to fix this? I don't know.I'm confident people smarter than me could find many practical solutions.
     
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook