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Category: guns

When I called in a recent post for better reporting on gun control, I didn't realize how very desperately we would need it this week

Newsweek has put its respected brand...

When I called in a recent post for better reporting on gun control, I didn't realize how very desperately we would need it this week

Newsweek has put its respected brand name on a piece of unsubstantiated opinion the likes of which we haven't seen since Newsweek ran a similar piece of unsubstantiated ire criticizing Barack Obama during the presidential campaign.

The new piece is a white-hot eruption on the evils of gun control written by the playwright David Mamet, whose anger and passion is so intense that if he proclaimed this in a theater you'd be able to see the spittle settling like gentle rain...

Many people think there are no answers to the problem of violence and mental illness, including such journalist luminaries as Gwen Ifill of PBS Newshour. As I've noted here, that's not the case;...

Many people think there are no answers to the problem of violence and mental illness, including such journalist luminaries as Gwen Ifill of PBS Newshour. As I've noted here, that's not the case; her brief commentary on the issue was wrong

Now David Brown of The Washington Post shows up with a story that makes my point. He reports that there is a lot known about the links between mental illness and violence, and that researchers have identified things--such as alcohol and drug abuse--that can increase the risk of violence in people who are mentally ill. 

Spoiler: No, there is no screening test that will...

[Dan Kahan, a professor of law and psychology at Yale Law School, wrote this for the blog of the Cultural Cognition Project at Yale, of which he is a part. He and his colleagues study how cultural values shape risk perceptions. In this post,...

[Dan Kahan, a professor of law and psychology at Yale Law School, wrote this for the blog of the Cultural Cognition Project at Yale, of which he is a part. He and his colleagues study how cultural values shape risk perceptions. In this post, published today, he looks at research on the death penalty and concealed-carry gun laws and how the findings were portrayed in editorials in The New York Times.]

What is the expert consensus on whether the death penalty deters murders—or instead increases them through a cultural “brutalization effect”?

What is the expert consensus on whether permitting citizens to carry concealed handguns in the public increases homicide—or instead decreases it by discouraging violent predation?

According to the National Research Council, the research arm of the National Academy of Sciences, the expert consensus answer to...

At the National Journal, the long-time reporter and commentator Gwen Ifill of PBS Newshour turned in a post on Dec. 21 headlined "The Truth...

At the National Journal, the long-time reporter and commentator Gwen Ifill of PBS Newshour turned in a post on Dec. 21 headlined "The Truth of Gun Politics: No One Has Good Answers."

The post, under the rubric "Gwen's Take," is supposed to be one of those comments from a seasoned professional that cuts through the verbiage and is willing to speak the naked truth.

"I think it's fair to say we've all been crying for a week," she begins. Then she tells us that her search for the truth about guns began with conversations with "normally smooth-talking lawmakers." She mentions only two. And one of them, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, says she does have an answer: she wants a ban on assault weapons. Sen. Mark Warner says when his daughters asked him what he was...

Various press reports have mentioned that the private-equity firm behind Bushmaster assault rifles wants to sell the company and get out of the business. But Quartz, the recently launched news site, has...

Various press reports have mentioned that the private-equity firm behind Bushmaster assault rifles wants to sell the company and get out of the business. But Quartz, the recently launched news site, has a fascinating and more detailed story on this publicity-shy group.

The firm is called Cerebrus, and I recall hearing of it only when it owned Chrysler for a time. Zachary M. Seward, the author of the Quartz story, reports that Cerebrus's Freedom Group holding company owns Bushmaster, Remington, and other gun companies, and that in 2008 it reported selling more firearms and ammunition in the U.S. than anyone else. Seward writes that it sold "37% of traditional rifles, 31% of shotguns, and 33% of ammunition. All told, Freedom Group says it sold 1.2 million long guns and 2.6 billion bullets in the 12 months between April 2009 and...

Soledad O'Brien unpreparted in Lott Interview
Faye Flam
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John Lott often gets trotted out as an expert because he has a degree in economics and is author of several books, including one called More Guns, Less Crime. He is a contributor to The National Review and Fox News. On his blog he expresses a dismissive attitude toward...

John Lott often gets trotted out as an expert because he has a degree in economics and is author of several books, including one called More Guns, Less Crime. He is a contributor to The National Review and Fox News. On his blog he expresses a dismissive attitude toward scientists who are concerned about global warming and ozone loss. 

It was painful for me to watch CNN’s Soledad O’Brien flail and appear increasingly distraught as Lott listed questionable factoids suggesting gun laws kill people. See the interview here. Why wasn’t she prepared to challenge his specific statements about guns saving lives and gun-free zones posing a danger? At the very least she should have had another expert guest ready to take on his statements.  

NPR’s...

It now appears that Washington will engage in a debate over gun control, and possibly go beyond a feckless "national conversation" and actually do something. Gun control is on the agenda: but beware who is controlling the agenda.

Much of the talk in the first two business days after the Newtown, CT...

It now appears that Washington will engage in a debate over gun control, and possibly go beyond a feckless "national conversation" and actually do something. Gun control is on the agenda: but beware who is controlling the agenda.

Much of the talk in the first two business days after the Newtown, CT shooting involves suggestions to restrict the use of guns by people with mental illness, as reported in Science Times by Richard A. Friedman, a professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College in Manhattan and a regular Times contributor.

It's hard to argue with that. Guns shouldn't be in the hands of crazy people who are likely to use them to commit murder. But there are two problems with this emerging "national conversation" about guns and mental illness. 

First,...