This gun policy platform could help reduce gun violence by 28%, researchers say

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Newswise – It starts with a pretty simple premise: A majority of people, regardless of which side of the political aisle they’re on, believe that someone with a history of violence shouldn’t be able to have a firearm. This common ground between gun owners and non-owners is the basis of a political platform offered in a report today of Tufts University School of Medicine experts, who have conducted research on the subject, and 97%a bipartisan organization of gun owners and non-gun owners committed to reducing gun deaths, which funded the research.

In First part of the book, released last month, among other commonalities, experts at Tufts School of Medicine found that 66% of gun owners surveyed were very concerned about the high level of gun violence in this country and more than 70% of them want to help reduce guns. injuries and deaths. Part II outlines a proposed gun policy platform that stems directly from the shared principles that the initial research found between gun owners and non-gun owners. The advantage of such a policy is that it is more likely to be supported by a large part of the population, says Michael Siegelprofessor of public health and community medicine, who led the research.

“This is the first time I know of anyone trying to create a platform based on the common ground between gun owners and non-gun owners,” he says. . “This policy proposal goes into great detail as to what exactly would be included in the laws, as our research explored the specific provisions of the laws that we believe were key to supporting or opposing gun owners to fire.”

According to Centers for Disaster Control and Preventionthe rate of firearm homicides in the United States increased by nearly 35% from 2019 to 2020. And from 2020 to 2021, the percentage of homicides attributed to gunshot wounds increased from 79% to 81% , the highest percentage in more than 50 years.

“We now have a set of research-backed gun safety policies backed by non-gun owners. and gun owners, which works holistically to significantly reduce gun deaths, while respecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners,” adds Adam Miller, co-founder of 97Percent. . . We not only found common ground; we have identified rooted solutions that leverage the perspective and expertise of gun owners, have proven effective, and can serve as a roadmap for gun safety in the future.”

According to the researchers, four policies could reduce the total number of firearm-related homicides by up to 28% and firearm-related suicides by 6%:

Violent crime laws. The first policy stems from the idea that people with a history of violence should not have access to a firearm. Research shows that those most likely to commit gun violence are those with a history of violence. The problem, Siegel points out, is that under current federal law, unless someone commits a crime, it is not illegal to have a gun in some states.

In these states, for example, someone could commit assault, harassment and/or threats of violence – all of which can be misdemeanors, not felonies – and even if found guilty, they can continue to possess gun. Some states have closed this loophole, but most have not. If this proposed set of policies were adopted in every state, then if someone committed a violent crime, whether it was a felony or a misdemeanor, they couldn’t have a gun, no matter what. no matter where he lives.

Universal background checks. Logically, Siegel continues, there has to be a way to find out if someone has a history of violence, and the only way to do that is to do a background check. In some states, when a person purchases a firearm, the retailer must perform a background check at the point of sale.

“Our research on the effectiveness of gun laws is that a state licensing system would be much more effective,” Siegel says. “In order to get a state license, someone would have had background checks at the state and federal levels. And there’s overwhelming research that state background checks are more thorough than state background checks. federal audits.

Once a person has a valid permit, they would show it to a retailer instead of a background check at the point of sale. Firearms licenses are valid for five years and must then be renewed. If during those five years someone commits a crime that makes them ineligible for a permit, they must be reported promptly to the state, which must revoke the permit immediately.

Gun licensing laws. A state gun licensing system has multiple benefits for gun owners, says Siegel. “Let’s say you live in a rural area, your brother comes to visit you for the weekend and you decide to go hunting. Your brother has a gun license but hasn’t brought his gun, so you lend him one of yours. In some states doing this is a crime and you could go to jail. In this system, you would just check his valid license and you are good to go.

State licenses would also benefit gun owners when it comes to buying a gun from a private seller versus a retailer. For example, a gun collector posts an ad to sell a piece from his collection, and someone wants to buy the gun. In states where background checks are universal, private sellers must complete a background check before selling the gun. This may mean that both parties must travel to a federally licensed arms dealer, which may not be an inconvenience for residents of urban areas, but may mean many hours of travel time for residents of areas. rural. Under Siegel’s proposal, the seller would only have to document that the buyer has a valid license.

Another advantage of state firearms licenses could be license reciprocity between states, which means that someone with a firearms license in New Hampshire could legally bring their license and their gun in Massachusetts. Currently, the United States cannot have such reciprocity without risking public safety because gun laws vary from state to state.

“These laws should be enacted at the state level,” Siegel says. “If every state adopted this mini-set of policies, we could ensure that state and local background checks for violent crimes were done for people with valid firearms licenses, regardless of the state.”

Red flag laws. The last element of the policy concerns people identified as an imminent threat, such as someone threatening suicide. Maybe they got a gun license legally, but something happens in their life that precipitates them into becoming a threat to themselves or someone else. Red flag laws allow family members or law enforcement to temporarily confiscate their gun until they no longer pose a threat.

“We put a lot of due process clauses into the policy to protect the rights of gun owners and to make sure this system is not abused,” he says. “The gun owner would have a right to a hearing, and when the order is overturned, he would promptly get his gun back.”

The Supreme Court Factor

In New York State Rifles and Pistols Association vs. Bruen, the Supreme Court recently ruled that New York’s law requiring a license to carry concealed weapons in public places is unconstitutional because it required people to “show good cause” for needing the weapon. The Court found that these so-called “emitting” laws violate the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

May laws exist in eight states, Siegel says, to allow law enforcement officials to deny permits to people they know to be at high risk of violence but who do not meet any criteria barring them from Obtain a firearms license under state law. Laws in Delaware and California, for example, state that a person must be of “good character” to obtain a firearms license, while Massachusetts and Connecticut require “a suitable person” who must also provide several personal references with their license application.

Siegel says that following the recent Supreme Court ruling, it’s likely that most or all of these will be struck down because they impose what appear to be unconstitutional requirements for firearms permits. fire ; in fact, Maryland suspended its law over the summer.

“If a state enacted the set of laws that we have described, it would no longer be necessary to have a ‘can issue’ law because major risk factors for violence would be included in background checks under the ban. violent crimes,” Siegel said. “It’s a concrete way for states that are concerned about the Supreme Court’s decision to close legal loopholes.”

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