QUICK FACTS FROM:
DOCTOR GAG ORDER LAWS
The gun lobby promotes state legislation that bars doctors from asking patients questions about gun ownership, often referred to as “doctor gag order” laws. Doctor gag order laws interfere with the doctor-patient relationship and obstruct physicians’ ability to share potentially life-saving information on responsible gun storage practices with their patients—despite scientific evidence that patients counseled by their doctors on gun safety practices are more likely to store their firearms responsibly
GUNS ON CAMPUS
In recent years, gun lobby-backed legislation that would force colleges and universities to allow guns on campus has been introduced across the country. Major stakeholders—from students to campus law enforcement to college presidents and school faculty—have voiced strong opposition to these bills. Statehouses should not override the public safety judgment of our colleges and universities, especially given the risk factors common to campus life, where young people live in close quarters and may make impulsive decisions.
The gun lobby pushed legislation in states around the country this year that would have dismantled state concealed carry permitting systems and let people carry concealed, loaded guns in public without a permit or safety training. These permit less carry bills lower the bar for who may carry hidden handguns in public—allowing violent criminals, teenagers and people with no safety training to carry in crowded town centers and on city streets. This reckless legislation ignores the 88 percent of Americans who support requiring safety training and a clean criminal record in order to carry a concealed handgun in public.
GUNS IN BARS:THE DANGER IN MIXING GUNS AND ALCOHOL
Guns and alcohol don’t mix. There is strong evidence that people under the influence of alcohol is at an elevated risk of violent behavior, including gun violence. The public recognizes the danger, and overwhelmingly opposes allowing people to bring guns into establishments where alcohol is consumed. But the gun lobby is currently pushing legislation in several states that would allow people to carry loaded guns in bars. Lawmakers should use common sense and reject the gun lobby’s dangerous effort to spread the threat of alcohol fueled gun violence to every corner of the country
TRENDS IN GUN VIOLENCE IN THE U.S.
Nearly 12,000 Americans are murdered with guns every year — a rate more than 25 times higher than that of other developed countries — and over 20,000 kill themselves with guns. Although the violent crime rate has generally decreased over the past 15 years, the gun murder rate in the U.S. has hardly changed. Because we haven’t enacted common sense gun policies that will save lives, we haven’t meaningfully reduced gun violence in America. It is high time to pass common sense public safety measures like comprehensive and enforceable background checks that will reduce gun crime and save lives.
MAYORS AGAINST ILLEGAL GUNS: TRACING GUNS TO SOLVE CRIMES AND ENHANCE PUBLIC SAFETY
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) makes available to all local law enforcement agencies—at no cost—the opportunity to trace any firearm recovered in a criminal investigation. A recovered firearm that is successfully traced may generate a lead for an ongoing investigation, and the trace result will contribute to the larger body of crime gun trace data that can illustrate intrastate and interstate trafficking patterns—assisting law enforcement across the country in crafting more effective strategies for preventing gun crime.
LESSONS FROM MISSOURI: THE COST OF ELIMINATING BACKGROUND CHECKS
For several decades, Missouri required every handgun buyer to pass a criminal background check and obtain a purchase permit. In 2007, the state dismantled its permit system and eliminated the background check requirement. While federal law continues to require background checks for all gun sales by licensed dealers, handgun buyers who shop with unlicensed sellers in Missouri are no longer required to pass a background checks and get a permit. Felons, convicted domestic abusers, and other people legally prohibited from buying guns can evade background checks by seeking out unlicensed sellers, including at gun shows or online. A variety of data indicate that gun trafficking and gun homicides increased in the state as a result of the policy change.
FIREARM TECHNOLOGY AND VOCABULARY
To write or speak with legitimacy about guns, gun crime, and gun violence requires accurate use of terminology. This is a basic guide for describing firearms, accessories, and safety or regulatory technologies.