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Strategies for Reducing Gun Violence in American Cities

June 1, 2016

Urban gun violence touches on issues central to American life: safety, equality, opportunity, and community. As thousands of city residents are killed or injured with guns each year, mayors and other community leaders face an urgent challenge: finding effective solutions and implementing them to make a difference now and into the future. This report, a collaboration between Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and the National Urban League, is a tool for all city leaders who want to reduce gun violence.First, the report summarizes much of what is known about urban gun violence: its causes, the ways it differs from violence in other settings, and the ways it undercuts many other aspects of city life. It is not the intent of this report to explain all the variation in gun violence across cities; instead, it is a primer for cities that want to act today, in spite of uncertainty. Far from presenting novel ideas, it brings together the knowledge of academic researchers, community activists, nonprofit leaders, and civil servants who have been addressing gun violence in cities for decades.Second, the report describes seven strategies that dozens of cities have taken to reduce gun violence in their communities, drawing on specific case studies. The identified interventions address factors known to contribute to urban gun violence, are supported by a growing body of evidence, and can each be a part of any city's larger strategy for reducing gun violence. This is not a comprehensive account of the hard work taking place in communities across the country, the volume of which is impossible to capture, but these case studies demonstrate that cities can learn from one another, building on successes, and informed by a growing body of evidence.

In the Business Outside the Law: How Unlicensed Sellers Are Flooding the Internet with Guns

December 1, 2013

This investigation of high-volume online sellers shows that hundreds of gun sellers are using the internet to transfer tens of thousands of firearms each year, blurring the line between private sellers and licensed dealers, undermining the background check system, and putting guns in the hands of killers

Felon Seeks Firearm, No Strings Attached: How Dangerous People Evade Background Checks and Buy Illegal Guns Online

September 16, 2013

The online marketplace for guns is vast -- and growing. Each year, millions of people connect through online ads to buy and sell firearms. And because many of the transactions are conducted by so-called 'private sellers' who are not required by federal law to conduct background checks, guns routinely change hands with no questions asked. In the digital age, convicted felons, domestic abusers and other dangerous people who are legally barred from buying guns can do so online with little more than a phone number or email address. And they do. Countless tragedies have demonstrated that determined criminals are exploiting this 'private sale loophole' to acquire guns online and murder innocent peopleThe National Rifle Association, which once supported the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), has recently opposed efforts to close this growing loophole. One argument often recurs: criminals won't submit to background checks.This report demonstrates that their claim is both false and true. Criminals undeniably do submit to background checks: in 2010 alone, federal and state checks blocked more than 150,000 gun sales to prohibited buyers. But criminals also undeniably avoid background checks -- by exploiting the private sale loophole. Indeed, one measure of NICS's success is that it appears to have forced a growing number of criminals to seek out private sellers since the system was established in 1998.

Gun Laws and Violence Against Women

March 1, 2013

To fully combat violence against women in America, Congress must act to strengthen our gun laws. Women in the United States are far more likely to be murdered with guns than they are in any other developed nation. More than half of women murdered with guns in the U.S. are killed by intimate partners, and more than half of mass shootings are acts of domestic or family violence. This violence is directly related to our weak gun laws -- and requiring a background check for every gun sale would reduce violence against women and save lives.

Access Denied: How the Gun Lobby is Depriving Police, Policy Makers, and the Public of the Data We Need to Prevent Gun Violence

January 1, 2013

"In God we trust," the saying goes, "all others bring data." The free flow of information is central to the American idea. It fuels our economy, keeps our elected officials accountable, and guides our public policy choices.But not always. Since the 1990s, the Washington gun lobby has led an aggressive effort to limit what we know about firearms. And it has largely succeeded.Americans murder each other with guns at a rate nearly 20 times higher than people in other high-income countries.Among a group of 32 comparable nations, the United States accounts for 30 percent of the population, but 90 percent of the gun homicides.Despite this epidemic, the federal government conducts almost no scientific research on how criminals get and misuse guns, or what policies are effective at stopping them. Law enforcement officials are prohibited from sharing their analyses of crime gun trace data with policymakers and the press. And military leaders and pediatricians have been barred from discussing the subject with those under their command or care.This report describes the many ways in which the Washington gun lobby has kept the country in the dark about gun violence, and the dire consequences for public health and public safety.

Fatal Gaps: How Missing Records in the Federal Background Check System Put Guns in the Hands of Killers

November 15, 2011

This report analyzes newly released FBI data showing millions of records identifying seriously mentally ill people and drug abusers are missing from the NICS database because of lax state reporting. The data also show that 52 of 61 federal agencies that are required to submit records have not done so. The 50-state analysis identifies which states are best and worst at reporting, and examines the strategies that have helped some states succeed.

Trace the Guns: The Link Between Gun Laws and Interstate Gun Trafficking

September 1, 2010

This report reveals a strong connection between weak gun laws and interstate gun trafficking. The report, which examines comprehensive crime gun trace data provided by ATF to Mayors Against Illegal Guns, finds that the states with the weakest gun laws are the top suppliers of the guns recovered in out-of-state crimes and are also the source of a greater proportion of likely trafficked guns.