Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Background pt. 2

Gun Violence Research from NAP Report

My summary

This information comes from a report issued by the National Academies Press entitled "Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence", published in 2013. Contributors include the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the National Research Council (NRC).

After reading the article, here are my initial thoughts about what parameters we should look at:

  1. Characteristics of violence
    1. Homicide, suicide, fatal, non-fatal, accidental
    2. Role of controlled substances
    3. Type of firearm / ammunition used
  2. Location
    1. Rural vs. Urban
    2. Type of location
      1. In a home, park, school, etc.
    3. General geographic information
  3. Victim / Perpetrator information
    1. Age, sex, race
    2. Relationship of victim to perpetrator
    3. History of mental illness and other risk factors

My Notes

***(I include these as a sort of summary of parts of the report I thought would be relevant to our study. Page numbers refer to the page of the PDF document I viewed)***

"Applying Public Health Strategies to Reducing Firearm Violence" (p.29)
            This section describes how strategies can be implemented to prevent violence similar to those taken with tobacco/alcohol and motor vehicles.
            "Such strategies are designed to interrupt the connection between three essential elements: the “agent” (the source of injury [weapon or perpetrator]), the “host” (the injured person), and the “environment” (the conditions under which the injury occurred)" (p.29)
                        1. Agent - The source of injury
                        2. Host - The injured person
                        3. Environment - conditions under which injury occurred
            There are 5 areas where more information about gun violence is needed (p.33):
                        1. characteristics of firearm violence,
                        2. risk and protective factors,
                        3. interventions and strategies,
                        4. gun technology, and
                        5. influence of video games and other media.
            [For the purposes of our investigation, I suggest focusing on (1) and (2), which are discussed below.]

"Impact of Existing Federal Restrictions on Firearm Violence Research" (p.34)
            Information is lacking on:
                        1. Gun Sales, ownership, possession
                        2. Names of gun purchasers
"Policy makers need a wide array of information,
including community-level data and data concerning the circumstances of firearm deaths, types of weapons used, victim–offender relationships, role of substance use, and geographic location of injury — none of which is consistently available" (p.35)
                        3. Circumstances of death
                        4. Types of weapons used
                        5. Victim-offender relationships
                        6. Role of substance use
                        7. Geographic information
"Basic information about gun possession, acquisition, and storage is
lacking" (p. 36), [however I don't think this is the kind of information we will be able to gather, so I won't write much about it]
"Data about the sources of guns used in crimes are important because the means of acquisition may reveal opportunities for prevention of firearm related violence" (p.36)
            Currently some information is collected by the ATF
                        Only after a gun is used in a crime, though, and does not track changes in ownership - not representative of crimes
Possible source of information: Weapon-Related Injury Surveillance System (WRISS) which some municipalities use

            Basically, not much is known
            To Look Into:
                        1. Types and number of firearms that exist in the US
                                    "In general, there are three characteristics that define individual guns: gun type, firing action, and ammunition" (p.39)
            Types of Firearm Violence:
                        1. Broad level: fatal or non-fatal
                        2. Fatal: homicides, suicides, homicides, unintentional
                                    a. Mass-shootings sometimes another category
                        3. Non-fatal: unintentional vs. intentional, threats, defensive use,
                                    Though there are cross classifying characteristics, such as age, sex, etc., these categories are useful.

What is known / not known about the following occurrences:
                        Fairly well known:
                                    Urban vs. Rural
                                    Age, Sex, Race
                        Not well known:
                                    Premeditated or Impulsive?
                                    Use of firearm vs. other method
                        Fairly Well known:
                                    Victim-Offender relationship (though still important)
                                                Race, Sex, age, etc.
                                    Domestic violence related shootings
                                    Type of gun used
                        In general, more is known about homicides
            Unintentional Fatalities
                        Fairly well known:
                                    Self inflicted?
                                    Self Defense?
                                    Rural vs. urban
            Mass Shootings
                        Not well known:
                                    Characteristics of suicides associated with mass murders
                        Fairly well known
                                    Intentional vs. unintentional
                                    Self-inflicted vs. other-inflicted
                                    Use in assault (as a threat)

SUMMARY (p45):
Characterize differences in nonfatal and fatal gun use across the
United States. Examples of topics that could be examined:
            1.What are the characteristics of non-self-inflicted fatal and nonfatal gun injury?
                        o What attributes of guns, ammunition, gun users, and other circumstances affect whether a gunshot injury will be fatal or nonfatal?
                        o What characteristics differentiate mass shootings that were prevented from those that were carried out?
                        o What role do firearms play in illicit drug markets?
            2. What are the characteristics of self-inflicted fatal and nonfatal gun injury?
                        o What factors (e.g., storage practices, time of acquisition) affect the decision to use a firearm to inflict self-harm?
                        o To what degree can or would prospective suicidal users of firearms substitute other methods of suicide?
            3. What factors drive trends in firearm-related violence within subpopulations?
            4. What factors could bring about a decrease in unintentional firearm-related deaths?

Situational factors associated with firearm violence (p.48)
            1. Presence of drugs / alcohol
            2. Intent: to acquire money, or as an impulse
                        Need to protect personal status/property
                                    "Some social and psychological research suggests that the need to defend social status may increase the likelihood and severity of response to provocation in the presence of an audience"(Griffiths et al., 2011; Papachristos, 2009) (p.48)
            3. Gang involvement
            4. Other situational factors such as excessive heat (Anderson et al., 1995), the presence of community disorder (or “broken windows”)
            5. Specific locations, e.g.: house/apartment, public street, natural area, vehicle, parked car, athletic area, hotels/motels, commercial areas

Study-proposed research questions (p.50)
            Three important research topics were identified by the committee:
                        1) factors associated with youth having access to, possessing, and carrying guns;
                        2) the impact of gun storage techniques on suicide and unintentional injury, and
                        3) “high-risk” geographic/physical locations for firearm violence.
            Youth Gun Violence [probably can't tackle most of these]
                        Examples of topics that could be examined:
                                    o Which individual and/or situational factors influence the illegal acquisition, carrying, and use of guns by juveniles?
                                    o What types of weapons do youths obtain and carry?
                                    o How do youths acquire these weapons, e.g., through legal or illegal means?
                                    o What are key community-level risk and protective factors(such as the role of social norms), and how are these risk and protective factors affected by the social environment and neighborhood/community context?
                                    o What are key differences between urban and rural youth with regard to risk and protective factors for firearm-related violence?
                        o What are the associated probabilities of thwarting a crime versus committing suicide or sustaining an injury while in possession of a firearm?
                        o What factors affect this risk/benefit relationship of gun ownership and storage techniques?
                        o What is the impact of gun storage methods on the incidence of gun violence—unintentional and intentional—involving both youths and adults?
                        o What is the impact of gun storage techniques on rates of suicide and unintentional injury?
                        1. What are the characteristics of high- and low-risk physical locations?
                        2. Are the locations stable or do they change?
                        3. What factors in the physical and social environment characterize neighborhoods or sub-neighborhoods with higher or lower levels of gun violence?
                        4. Which characteristics strengthen the resilience of specific community locations?
                        5. What is the effect of stress and trauma on community violence, especially firearm-related violence?
                        6. What is the effect of concentrated disadvantage on community violence, especially firearm-related violence?

More information is needed on the effectiveness of intervention programs. Is this something we'll be able to consider? (p. 61).
            Possible factors: Childhood education, poverty, substance use

More information is needed about the effectiveness of gun safety technology

1 comment:

  1. Cool, this is really interesting. I think your list of things we should initially look at is a good place to start. Some (e.g. fatal/non-fatal, rural vs. urban) will probably be much easier than others (e.g. relationship between victim and perpetrator). But once we have a big enough collection of data, we should be able to do a round of identifying relevant articles and manually coding them for these data points. Some annotation will help us better understand what tends to be reported at all in news articles.