Opinion: Gun Violence, Separating Truth From “Untruth” Part II

Sean Newhouse
Contributing Writer

This is an accompanying article to Gun Violence, Separating Truth From “Untruth.”

Due to the continuing national discussion over guns in the U.S., the need for fact-checked and accurate information is more important than ever. This article seeks to correct, clarify and contextualize some of the more popular misleading statements.

  1. Is arming teachers an effective way to prevent mass shootings?

Short answer: I don’t think anyone knows for sure

Providing firearms to educators to be used in the event of a school shooting, an idea backed by President Donald Trump, became a major point of contention in the debate following the Parkland school shooting.

School districts in states such as Arkansas, South Dakota, Texas and Utah already allow school officials to carry firearms on school grounds. In some cases, the reasoning for doing so is because the schools are in rural areas far from law enforcement, and it is cheaper to train teachers than to hire a school resource officer.

Most districts require these officials to go through rigorous training, and the policies have been met with a generally positive reception.

As part of the gun legislation passed by the Florida legislature in response to the Parkland school shooting, $67 million has been allotted to arm school teachers if the school district and local sheriff’s department agree to it.

However, this has been met with backlash. More than 5,000 teachers participated in #ArmMeWith, a social media campaign that had participants state what they would rather be provided with besides guns, including more funding and smaller classroom sizes.

Regardless of how people view this topic, there seems to be a consensus that arming teachers is not a panacea to prevent school shootings.
&’ async type=’text/javascript’>&’ async type=’text/javascript’>&’ async type=’text/javascript’>&’ async type=’text/javascript’>&’ async type=’text/javascript’>&’ async type=’text/javascript’>&’ async type=’text/javascript’>&’ async type=’text/javascript’>&’ async type=’text/javascript’>&’ async type=’text/javascript’>&’ async type=’text/javascript’>&’ async type=’text/javascript’>&’ async type=’text/javascript’>&’ async type=’text/javascript’>&’ async type=’text/javascript’>

  1. Will a ban on assault rifles work?

Short answer: There’s a lot to consider

It’s important to first distinguish the difference between automatic and semi-automatic weapons.

With a semi-automatic weapon, the shooter must squeeze the trigger for each firing. In contrast, automatic weapons, often times described as machine guns, continue firing as long as the user is squeezing the trigger. Automatic weapons are incredibly difficult to acquire in the U.S.

Nonetheless, bump stocks, the device used in the October 2017 Las Vegas shooting, enable semi-automatics to fire at the same rate as an automatic.

The semi-automatic AR-15, the weapon used in the Parkland shooting as well as many other mass shootings, has origins in the U.S. military.

From 1994 to 2004, there was an assault weapons ban in the United States. Christopher S. Koper, a researcher who conducted thorough analysis of the effects of this ban, found mixed results. There was a decline in gun crimes with assault weapons but that decline was offset by a rise in the use of other guns with large-capacity magazines.

While Koper concluded the ban had limited success, he also said “…there is some evidence to suggest it may have modestly reduced shootings had it been in effect for a longer period.”

Another consideration in this debate is assault weapons constitute about two percent of U.S. gun deaths and less than one percent of gun injuries.

  1. Are the media and video games to blame for mass shootings?

Short answer: Partly, but it’s not the only or even the most important factor

Multiple mass shooters in recent years have become household names. The “No Notoriety” and “Don’t Name Them” campaigns are trying to change that.

“No Notoriety” was founded by the parents of Alex Teves, who was killed in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting. The organization’s goal is to convince the news media “to limit the use of the perpetrators’ name and image to a few constrained circumstances.”

“Don’t Name Them,” which is supported by the FBI, has a similar mission to focus on the victims, and not the shooter, with the objective of deterring future shootings.

While studies haven’t inarguably proven that immense media coverage influences individuals to commit copycat shootings, researchers have cautioned media outlets in their coverage of sensitive events.

Media researchers also have strongly disagreed with the proposition that video games are the primary cause of mass shootings, an idea put forth by multiple conservative figures following the Parkland shooting.

Simply put, there’s no evidence that says violent video gaming, by itself, turns a stable individual into a homicidal one. Moreover, there are other countries, such as Japan, Germany and Australia that have a similar popular video game culture to the U.S., but sizably less gun crime.
&’ async type=’text/javascript’>&’ async type=’text/javascript’>&’ async type=’text/javascript’>&’ async type=’text/javascript’>&’ async type=’text/javascript’>&’ async type=’text/javascript’>&’ async type=’text/javascript’>&’ async type=’text/javascript’>&’ async type=’text/javascript’>&’ async type=’text/javascript’>&’ async type=’text/javascript’>&’ async type=’text/javascript’>&’ async type=’text/javascript’>&’ async type=’text/javascript’>&’ async type=’text/javascript’>

Follow Us On Twitter & Facebook!
Stay up to date with Flyer News and campus activities.

 

  1. How powerful is the NRA (National Rifle Association)?

Short answer: Very

Though founded in 1871, the NRA has only been actively involved in legislative affairs since the 70s when it formed its lobbying arm and own Political Action Committee (PAC).

The NRA spends more than all the U.S. gun control advocacy organizations combined, but it also has a significantly larger membership with three to nearly five million members, depending on the source.

Arguably more important, though, is the special interest’s ability to mobilize its members for or against a candidate or piece of legislation. The NRA’s grading of members of Congress has impacted elections, for example.

Acting under the principle that more guns means greater safety, the NRA has opposed virtually all forms of proposed gun control. Furthermore, the NRA successfully lobbied Congress to severely decrease federal funding for research into U.S. gun mortality.

Since the mid-1990s, governmental research into gun-related deaths has decreased by 96 percent.

This phenomenon has influenced how guns are discussed in the U.S., and affected this article series.

  1. When will it end?

It seems like some Americans live with an entirely different set of facts than their other fellow Americans do regarding guns. If the U.S. is to become like every other developed country and practically end gun-related deaths, then its citizens must stop relying on partisan propaganda and inflammatory rhetoric to lead the discussion.

Photo Taken from wlrn.org.