Tag Archives: gun control

Deadly weapons

By Christopher B. Daly

I have ready access to a device that can kill people. Sure, it was built for other purposes, but it can kill people — potentially lots of people.

This device is dangerous. Because it is so dangerous, people (acting through their governments) have taken steps to minimize the danger:

–As a user, I have to take lessons and prove to a police officer that I can handle this device.

–I have to submit to a government-run eye exam.

–I have to pay for a license and carry it any time I use this thing.

–I have to pay (a lot) for insurance in case I accidentally hurt someone.

–The device itself must be registered with the government.

–Every year, I have to let a stranger handle it and prove that it is in good working order.

–I have to take steps to make sure this thing is never stolen, by locking it and by installing special equipment to deter thieves.

–I have to pay taxes to help make these things safer.

–If I want to sell an old one, I can go to the private re-sale market, but the new owner has to have a license, pass inspection, etc.

–If I get too old to handle it or lose my eyesight, there goes my license.

–I cannot just hand one to a child.

–Every time I use this thing, I am subject to being watched by a police officer; if I do anything wrong or if any of my safety equipment is not working, I am subject to immediate detention.

What is it? It’s an automobile.

So, if we can live with these kinds of restrictions on our cars, why can’t gun owners accept some reasonable limits on their guns? (Not a ban, just some common-sense rules for safety.)

From the CDC’s latest national annual figures:

Deaths from motor vehicles:  34,485

Deaths from firearms:  31,347





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Reporting on gun violence and gun control (cont.)

By Christopher B. Daly

This is a huge, sprawling topic that is also something of a moving target. So, here are some more sources for journalists to consult. If you are involved in covering these issues and you come across other helpful sites, please leave a comment below, or email me and I will update.

More from the Journalist’s Resource project at Harvard:

*On gun policies: http://journalistsresource.org/studies/government/criminal-justice/effectiveness-policies-programs-reduce-firearm-violence-meta-analysis

*Global look at gun-homicide connection: http://journalistsresource.org/studies/government/criminal-justice/reassessing-association-gun-availability-homicide-rates-cross-national-level

*On violent video games: http://journalistsresource.org/studies/society/internet/value-violent-video-games-research-roundup

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What do historians make of the whole issue? That is a big, complicated tale. The subject has been almost as controversial among historians as it has been among politicians.

Here’s an intro to a recent controversy in the scholarship over gun ownership.

And here’s the major critic, Clayton Cramer. (But beware of link rot!)

Here is the report by Emory University on its own professor’s work.






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Reporting on gun violence and gun control (cont.)


By Christopher B. Daly 


In the wake of the massacre at the elementary school in Newtown, Conn., here are some more resources for reporters, editors, and users of news sites.


–The Journalist’s Resource at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center has added a new post with many new links.


–Before anyone needlessly piles onto people with Asperger’s Syndrome, here is the website of the Asperger’s Assn of New England, which has lots of resources for learning about the condition. The AANE has also issued a statement specifically addressing the Newtown case.



–Here are some links to research done by researchers at the Berkman Center on meanness and cruelty (in case those issues are relevant here, and they may not be; I am trying to cast a wide net).


–Here is the homepage of the NRA. (Yes, it looks like the opening of the Colbert Report, but that’s Colbert’s point, isn’t it?)


–Here is the homepage for a leading gun-control organization, the Brady Campaign.











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Reporting on gun violence and gun control

By Christopher B. Daly 

The recent massacre of innocents at a school in Connecticut is bound to spur a renewal of debate over gun control. Based on President Obama’s comments on Friday, it appears likely that — finally — something might happen. If you are reporting on that issue, or just reading about it, the dialogue could be elevated if the reporting were deepened.

One place to start: the highly worthwhile site Journalist’s Resource, sponsored by the Shorenstein Center at Harvard’s Kennedy School.

Here is a page of results from a keyword search for “gun control.”

It is a start toward bringing the best of fact-based research to bear on this enormous problem.



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