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International Gun Violence and Influencing factors

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Hira Yousaf

on 4 May 2013

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Transcript of International Gun Violence and Influencing factors

Budapest International Gun Violence and its Influencing Factors
By: Hira Yousaf, Kristen Martin, Garima Thakkar & Michael Collins International Gun Violence is an important topic to study because it can ultimately help the U.S. take better measures in order to reduce overall rates of crimes. However, the evidence is not so easy to judge. Studies have shown that there is more to violence than just gun availability. However, it has been shown that easy access to guns shows a stronger relationship to higher homicide rates in developed countries like the U.S. "Americans have the highest gun ownership rates, with nine guns for every 10 people" (Businessweek). In comparison to developed countries and even many countries that aren't developed, America's more than 11,000 gun-related killings each year is extremely high. As the debate over gun laws fire away, politicians on both sides give international examples. Japan has some of the strictest rules and regulations about gun ownership. Therefore, not many people own guns in Japan. As of 2011, "Guns were used in only seven murders in Japan-a nation of about 130 million...according to the police, more people-nine-were murdered with scissors." According to the Japanese policy, civilians do not need handguns so aside from a few competitive shooters, no one else can own a gun. Owning a rifle, however, is allowed but even that is strictly regulated. Anyone wanting to own a rifle first has to go to their local police station and declare their reasoning. Then, he or she goes through a lecture and written test which is followed by a background check. The police will likely make sure with neighbors and doctors to make sure the applicant has a stable personality (no depression, temper problems, etc.) After, he or she passes all of this, they must inform the police where the gun will be stored in the home and this must be a safe place with a lock and key. The laws are quite strict and complicated but because of these, Japan enjoys low crime rates. Unlike America, Japan views gun ownership as a privilege rather than a right. People who side with gun rights often use Switzerland as an example, since it has low gun crime even without strict regulations like Japan. "The country's 8 million people own about 2.3 million firearms. but firearms were used in just 24 Swiss homicides in 2009, a rate of about 0.3 per 100,000 inhabitants. The U.S. rate that year was about 11 times higher. The reason may be due to the fact that Swiss civilians have a higher patriotic duty than other nations, since they do not have an official military. They have a collective responsibility to use weapons to defend their country rather than inflict crime. Canada and the United States have similar numerical values when it comes to Social Classes and Wealth Distribution. This is probably no surprise to most, however there are major differences in the likelihood of a person to change social class. http://www.aol.com/video/understanding-income-inequality/517379947/ Gini Index: 0 being perfect equality
1 Being total inequality

As shown in the chart you can see that the United States and Canada have similar Gini Index values and they are both on the rise. This chart from The Conference
Board of Canada shows how the Gini
Index has been rising, this is proof
that Canada is becoming worse over the years in terms of income inequality. There has been previous research done that shows a positive correlation between gun availability and homicide rates but these studies are not conclusive because they do not take into account whether higher gun availability rates lead to higher rates of homicide or vice versa (aka simultaneity). The study whose results are discussed here better accounts for simultaneity and examines how violence is shaped by the socio-historical and cultural context of nations. The relationship between gun availability, gun homicides and homicides are not consistent across nations. The results differ depending on the region of the nations. When studying the relationship between gun availability and gun homicide using statistical controls (eliminating changes in the dependent variables caused by outside sources), it was found that in Western Developed nations and Latin American nations, there was a positive relationship between the two but a negative one in Eastern European Nations. When studying the relationship between gun availability and general homicide, Latin American Nations showed a positive relationship while Western Developed Nations and Eastern European Nations showed a negative relationship. This is suggestive of the fact that gun crime is largely influenced by a nation's social and cultural context. In Western Developed Nations, guns seem to be used as a preferential weapon when violence is committed but it is not causing an increase in violence and homicide rates but rather a decrease. This suggests that guns may actually be used for self-defense in Western Nations more than they are used to cause violence.

In Latin American Nations, guns are increasing both gun crime and crime in general. This suggests that Latin Americans prefer guns as a weapon and that victims are more likely to be killed in a violent act than in other nations. This also emphasizes their machismo culture that is represented by "...aggressive masculinity, domination of women, and the use of violence."

In Eastern European Nations, guns seem to be decreasing gun homicides and violence in general. Guns are a way to deter crime in times of the instability of the governments and changes to their economies to market capitalism. In Latin America, urbanization seems to have the opposite on homicide as expected and hence gun availability seems to be suppressing the effect of urbanization. This suggests that people are protective of each other in cities, where they live closer together and crimes are more likely to happen in rural areas. Proportion of young males also has a negative correlation with homicide rates which is representative of the fact that older adults are more likely to commit crimes in Latin American Nations similar to Eastern European Nations, and opposite of Western Developed Nations like the United States. Economic Inequality has a positive correlation with homicide rates in Eastern European Nations, negative correlation in Western Developed Nations, and no effect on Latin American Nations. These different results show that even one of the most important factors that influences rates of violence is affected by the social and cultural contexts of a nation. Gun Related Homicides Although Canada and the United States have similar numbers when it comes to inequality they are VERY different when it comes to gun related homicides. Between 2005 and 2009 Canada's gun related homicides was only 1.6% of the amount of the United States. This could be because the United States is more accustomed to guns or even because in Canada there is a better chance for a person to change wealth and social classes so even with similar Gini Indexes there is less divide between classes than in the United States giving the population less reason to resort to gun related violence between classes. Video from Huffington Post Business: A survey conducted from 2007 and 2011 showed that 70% of the drug cartels in Mexico get their guns from the U.S. This is hugely in part because it is near impossible to purchase a gun in Mexico! Gun dealers on the border (about 8,000) make that possible. Furthermore, a study conducted by the University of San Diego showed that from 2010 to 2012, gun traffickers attempted to smuggle 250,000 guns into Mexico. The Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act of 2013, a proposed package of legislation, would prohibit smuggling of guns out of the U.S. to other nations such as Mexico. This Act is expected to establish new federal crimes, expand existing crimes, and steadily increase penalties for offenses related to firearms trafficking (Congressional Budget Office). Essentially, making it harder to obtain guns along with harsher consequences ($) if guns are smuggled in. It will be interesting to see if the impact of this Act on Mexico's gun violence rates.... The GDP (Per capita Gross Domestic Product) and GNI (Gross National Income) are two factors used to measure the economic development of a country. This is not a way to directly measure poverty because these factors do not account for the deprivation among citizens. For example, Equatorial Guinea has a high GNI index due to their oil extractions yet most citizens make $2 a day. As for inequality, it is measured using the Gini coefficient. It is described as "...unequal resource allocation." Like the United States, Mexico once had the right to bear arms. Until 1960, firearms were easily available, but violent student riots inspired a strengthening of gun control laws. The gun violence was so out of control that now there is only ONE legal gun store located in Mexico City, and buyers have to wait months to get approval from the Ministry of Defense. Furthermore, purchases can only be limited to hunting rifles for self-protection/defense and semi-automatic weapons for the police and military. It is illegal for private citizens of Mexico to carry a firearm or concealed weapon. Moreover, the expiration of U.S. Federal Assault Ban in 2004, had a great impact on the rates of gun violence in Northern Mexico. Suggesting that gun control itself has an impact on the gun violence. The harder it is to obtain a gun, the more violence and illegal acts will ensue to obtain one. More economically developed countries are expected to have less crime because they have less absolute poverty. Also, richer countries are able to provide their poor with sufficient living conditions more frequently than not. They also tend to have better systems for controlling crime. Good examples of countries that have high homicide rates due to poor criminal systems include West Africa and El Salvador. In 1999, only 8% of homicides lead to an arrest in El Salvador. Inequality Inequality increases tension for all types of people, not just the poor. People tend to develop a mistrust for the government and each other. This leads to less social cohesion and possibly higher rates of crime. Poverty If people are not able to meet their basic needs, then crime definitely increases. Stealing things can easily lead to homicide due to weapon availability and frustration. The original intent therefore may not be to kill but it ends up happening. Measuring poverty is difficult because data for it is not so readily available. The following study uses excess infant mortality rates to study poverty relative to a country's GNI. Infant mortality may not be a direct way to measure poverty, since clean water also causes infant mortality but nonetheless it is a sufficient method. In 1991 Brazil had a homicide rate of 26.8/100,000. This rose to a peak at 31.8 in 2001 and fell back to 26.8 in 2007. Through 2007 violence and injuries accounted for 12.5% of all deaths, 83.5% of which were among young men, for a total of 47,707.
Of the 63% of cases where information was available, about 45% of these men had 4-7 years of schooling, while only 4% had 12+ years of education.
The highest homicide rates were in large cities, where over 40% of crime was committed by men aged 20-29. In 2007 firearms were used in 71.5% of homicide related deaths in Brazil; and again, almost 40% of these occurred in capital cities, where only 24% of the population lives.

For a comparison, Brazil averages 4x the firearm-related deaths than the U.S. with half the population. Between 2000 and 2010 the GINI index coefficient fell in 13 of 17 countries. Inequality of opportunity was measured to be from 1% to 25%, varying mostly by school type, gender, and parental education. Brazil was the most unequal of this sample. Why does Brazil have such a high violent crime rate?
Some suggested factors:
-much violence is associated with misuse of alcohol and drugs or attributed in combination with the wide availability of firearms
-age distribution: in the 1960's there was a baby boom, leading to high current unemployment or informal employment of youth
-income inequality (GINI index)
-literacy rate
-poverty (GDP per capita)
-regional subculture of violence: machismo culture
- an exaggerated sense of masculinity promotes male-on-male violence (violence is a way to preserve masculine identity)
-machismo also promotes violence against women to preserve sense of superiority over women (domestic violence->disintegration of family support system)
-accelerated urbanization without corresponding infrastructure and services
-insecurity from interpersonal crime rates
-inefficient and corrupt police
-inadequate response by justice system Study Results The results in this study showed that countries with low homicide rates had "...a larger GNI per capita, a lower excess infant mortality rate,
less income inequality, and less ethnic heterogeneity. In addition, these countries
are more often full democracies and are less often involved in wars. ” In Countries with medium homicide rates "...only income
inequality and the presence of an authoritarian regime are related to the homicide rate.” In countries with high homicide rates, "...income inequality, ethnic heterogeneity, and the presence of an authoritarian
regime” all seem to matter. Countries with an authoritarian regime tend to have lower homicide rates. Global Wealth Inequality: Surprisingly, homicide rates seem to correlate with increases in the economy, possibly due to the rising demand of security measures such as guards, fencing, and gated housing.
A study showed that about 30% of guns involved in crimes had previously been confiscated by police. This led to the new policy of destruction of confiscated firearms enacted around 2007, and since then crime rates have fallen, possibly as a result. In conclusion: In the United States, the gun violence is heavily influenced by the drastic differences in social classes.
In Canada, the ability to change social classes gives the population a better chance to change their social status for the better compared to other countries like the United States.
In Mexico, the gun violence rates are heavily influenced by the difficulty to obtain a gun.
In Brazil,
In Switzerland, despite liberal gun regulations, the gun violence is low.
In Japan, gun violence is low due to very strict regulations. Work-Cited http://www.cbo.gov/publication/44009
http://www.wola.org/commentary/four_facts_about_gun_legislation_and_cartel_violence_in_mexico
http://www.kpbs.org/news/2013/jan/16/how-mexico-reduces-gun-violence/
http://www.abdn.ac.uk/sociology/notes06/Level4/SO4530/Assigned-Readings/Seminar%206.1.pdf
http://www.conferenceboard.ca/hcp/details/society/income-inequality.aspx
http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/canada#rate_of_gun_homicide
http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/united-states#rate_of_gun_homicide
"Health in Brazil 5: Violence and injuries in Brazil: the effect, progress made, and challenges ahead" -Michael Eduardo R, Edinilsa Ramos de S, Claudia Leite M, Maria Helena Prado de Mello J, Cosme Marcelo Furtado Passos da S, Maria Cecília de Souza M.

"Reassessing the Association between Gun Availability and Homicide at the Cross-National Level"

"Around world, gun rules, and results, vary wildly"

"Do Guns Matter? A Multi-level Cross-National Examination of Gun Availability on Assault and Robbery Victimization" Study Discussion

The U.S., countries that once belonged to the Soviet Union, countries in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbeans have higher homicide rates than expected. Countries that were once part of the Soviet Union have higher rates of violence because of their transition to democracy. This rapid social change in their countries lead to an increased amount of violence. Violence in Latin America seems to be high due to a range of factors such as corrupt governments, poor policing systems and armed conflicts. Arab countries have lower rates of violence than expected when taking into consideration their youth proportions and poverty levels due to their authoritarian regimes. "As stated by Adam Michnik (historian) (1998), 'As a rule, dictatorships guarantee safe streets and the terror of the doorbell. In democracy the streets may be unsafe after dark, but the most likely visitor in the early hours will be the milkman.'” THE END! Any Questions? Studies showing Influencing Factors Countries we choose to discuss:
U.S, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, El Salvador, Switzerland and Japan There has been previous research done that shows a positive correlation between gun availability and homicide rates but these studies are not conclusive because they do not take into account whether higher gun availability rates lead to higher rates of homicide or vice versa (aka simultaneity). The study whose results are discussed here better accounts for simultaneity and examines how violence is shaped by the socio-historical and cultural context of nations. The relationship between gun availability, gun homicides and homicides are not consistent across nations. The results differ depending on the region of the nations.
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