50% of American guns owned by 3% of population – study

Half of America's guns are owned by just 3 percent of the population – and those people own an average of 17 firearms each, a new survey says. It also found that the number of male gun owners is decreasing, while female ownership is on the rise.

The unpublished Harvard/Northeastern survey – which was obtained by the Guardian and the Trace – estimates that America's gun stock has increased by 70 million guns since 1994, with the current number totaling 265 million.

However, the rise in guns hasn't come with a rise in owners. In fact, the number of people owning guns has actually decreased from 25 percent to 22 percent.

Females v males

The 3 percent drop in gun owners was heavily influenced by a dramatic decrease among men. In 1994, 42 percent of American men described themselves as gun owners, compared to 32% of in the new study.

Meanwhile, female gun ownership is on the rise, with 12 percent saying they own guns in the new survey, versus 9 percent in 1994. Females were also most likely to be in the category of those who only owned handguns.

However, the researchers were quick to stress that the jump is not significant, as female gun ownership has fluctuated between 9 percent and 14 percent in various surveys since the 1980s.

But the numbers do align with the National Rifle Association (NRA) figures which claim that the number of women enrolling in its pistol course almost doubled from 2011 to 2014, from about 25,000 a year to nearly 46,000 a year.

Political & racial trends 

Despite any increase in female gun owners, the majority of owners tend to be white, male, conservative and live in rural areas.

Thirty percent of conservatives said they were gun owners, compared to just 19 percent of moderates and 14 percent of liberals. The strongest predictor of ownership was military service, with 44 percent of veterans saying they owned a gun.

Twenty-five percent of white and multi-racial Americans said they owned a gun, compared with just 16 percent of Hispanics and 14 percent of African-Americans.

Those most likely to only own handguns were African-American (44 percent) and Hispanic (33 percent). People in the “handgun only” category were also more likely to live in an urban area, and were less likely to have grown up in a house with a gun. Only 21 percent of whites fell into the “handgun only” category.

What fuels gun ownership?

Lead author Dr. Deborah Azrael, a Harvard School of Public Health firearms researcher, said the data points to gun ownership being driven by “increasing fearfulness” which must be addressed.

“If we hope to reduce firearm suicide, if we hope to reduce the other potential dangers of guns, my gut is, we have to speak to that fear,” Azrael said.

She went on to state that the answer is not to focus on the gun owners with dozens of weapons, but on the nearly 50 percent of gun owners who have just one or two firearms.

“To change their behavior with respect to guns, and the ways in which they store them, or their decision-making – we could have a really big impact on suicide,” she said.

Azrael also noted that she doesn't “know anybody who thinks or talks seriously about confiscating guns,” but went on to compare the situation to that of cigarettes.

“From a public health perspective – you don’t seize cigarettes.” But, she said, “You do try to make good science available. You do try to help people think about the risks and benefits of the behavior they choose to undertake.”

Approximately 20,000 of America’s more than 30,000 annual gun deaths are suicides.

The study is based on a survey of nearly 4,000 Americans who were questioned only in 2015 by market research company GfK, with a panel of opt-in participants who are paid to complete surveys on various topics.

It is currently undergoing peer review, and is scheduled to be published in the autumn of 2017 by the Russell Sage Foundation. The survey has, however, gone through an initial round of comments and revisions from a group of leading firearms researchers, according to Azrael.

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Unarmed Ohio Teen Tyree King Killed By Police

The teenager was shot dead after he tried to pull a gun from his waistband; the weapon was later confirmed to be a BB gun.

A police officer fatally shot a 13-year-old black boy late Wednesday night in Columbus, Ohio, after he “pulled a gun from his waistband,” authorities said. The gun was later discovered to be a pellet gun, according to local press reports.

RELATED: Global Protests Haven’t Stopped US Police from Killing Black People

The boy was identified as Tyree King and according to officials he was shot by police officers investigating an armed robbery in the area. He died at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus. 

Police described the BB gun as resembling a weapon, “with an attached laser sight.” A man with King at the time of the shooting has been taken into custody, authorities said, but have not released his identity.  

Police in Columbus said that officers arrived at the place and identified three people matching the suspects' descriptions. When they approached the men to interview them, two ran away.

"Officers followed the males to the alley ... and attempted to take them into custody when one suspect pulled a gun from his waistband," officers said in a statement.

RELATED: Black Mother Killed in Her Home by Baltimore Police, Child Shot

In recent years, U.S. police have faced increasing criticism for the killing of unarmed civilians, typically people of color, sparking nationwide protests, as well as a fierce debate over racism in policing. 

According to human rights activists and organizations, Black people in the U.S. are far more likely to be shot at, arrested and imprisoned by police than any other demographic group. A 2012 study by the Malcolm X Grassroots movement revealed that a Black person was killed by police or surrogate personnel every 28 hours in the U.S. 

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Miami: Another of its Fallen “Angels”

El Nuevo Herald journalist Daniel Shoer Roth wrote a pathetic article on the constant killing of children in that city.

Now, he referred to the case of Jada Page, the 8-year-old girl, whose life was cut short by a shot on the head.

Shoer Roth’s analysis appeared last Friday in El Nuevo Herald under the title: “The Death of Jada”.

It reads, let‘s talk openly, the premature and violent death of that poor little angel adds another cry to the despair that criminality imposes us.

It explains that she was starting fourth grade in a new school, where she would foster friendships and aspire to knowledge.

Last Sunday, adds the article, the little girl was on the way to the movies with her dad, when a fatal shot from a shooting outside her house struck her.

“A wounded girl. A miracle begged for her salvation that will never work. A demolishing tragedy”.

According to Shoer Roth, Jada’s name joins a long list of children murdered on the dangerous streets of Miami’s marginal neighbourhoods.

There, he states, armed violence is on a war footing and leaves serious social consequences in our city.

The author of the article, who lives there, is able to touch local reality and rules the following:

“The story of children fallen in crossfires from local gangs, drug trafficking and proliferation of weapons in the hands of criminals repeats once again”.

El Nuevo Herald said that little Jada and her dad were about to go outside their house, when they were shot from a moving vehicle, and as a result of it a shot struck the girl in the back of the head.

According to the police, her dad, wounded too, was the target of the criminals.

“I don’t understand how they can sleep at night knowing they killed my child….”, shouted her mother in front of reporters.

And many inhabitants? Observers say that, absorbed in their things, the majority “is quite indifferent”.

A similar tragedy took place half a year ago, when boy King Carter, 6, was playing with other kids in the vicinity of his home.

At the same time, some teenagers from rival gangs clashed in the vicinity and shot him to death.

Has this situation changed in the neighbourhoods of Miami?

Experts have just denied it, saying that parents of kids like King and Jada “still fear that shootings claim the life of their children”.

And the case of this Florida city is not unique in U. S., so it’s a huge cynicism to demand Cuba, Venezuela and other independent countries, to copy the current democracy of the North.

Translated by Jorge Mesa / Cubasi Translation Staff

There's a call to end 'gun violence' at this year's Teen Choice Awards

The ongoing issue of gun violence in the US was raised at the Teen Choice Awards in Los Angeles.

Hollywood actress Jessica Alba was joined on stage by teenagers who've been directly affected by recent shootings in America.

She asked viewers to use the hashtag #StopTheViolence, saying: "It keeps happening, and it has to stop.

"Tonight we stand together with these teens united in a call for peace and an end to this violence."

Ne-Yo's performance also highlighted the controversial issue by performing Marvin Gaye's What's Going On.

The Dolan Twins
The Dolan Twins won Choice web stars award and Choice YouTuber

And the award goes to...

  • Published in Culture

One Dead, Four Wounded in Shootings in Texas

WASHINGTON – One person was killed and four other people were wounded in separate shootings in downtown Austin, Texas, media reports said on Sunday.

“Separate shootings within the same area. Both scenes are secure at this time,” the Austin Police Department said in a Twitter post.

A 30-year-old woman was killed, CNN reported, citing Austin-Travis County emergency services officials.

Three people – two women and a man – were wounded in the shootings, emergency services officials said, adding that a fourth person declined to be treated by paramedics.

A few hours before the shootings, police had asked the public to stay away from downtown Austin due to an “active shooter incident.”

The motive for the shootings has not been determined and police did not say whether any suspects were under arrest.

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Supreme Court makes major rulings on abortion, gun rights, corruption

The US Supreme Court struck down abortion restrictions in Texas, ruled that domestic violence misdemeanor convictions are grounds to lose gun ownership rights, and raised the bar for prosecuting public officials on corruption charges.

In the Texas abortion law case, known as Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the Court threw out a previous ruling by an appellate court in a 5-3 decision. Justices Breyer, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan were in the majority, while Thomas, Alito and Roberts dissented.

The Texas law, known as HB2, required abortion providers to have facilities similar to surgical outpatient centers. While the state said that the requirement was necessary to protect women’s health, abortion right groups argued that the law was crafted to make it more difficult for women in Texas to obtain abortions.

The decision was immediately hailed by the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

@HillaryClinton SCOTUS's decision is a victory for women in Texas and across America. Safe abortion should be a right—not just on paper, but in reality. -H

Justice Clarence Thomas was the only member of the court who would have upheld the Texas statute outright. Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito, two other conservative-leaning members of the Court, said that they favored require more analysis, according to SCOTUSblog.

The Court also ruled against two plaintiffs in Voisine v. United States, a case with implications for gun ownership rights. Stephen Voisine and William Armstrong had argued that a federal law that barred them from owning firearms because of misdemeanor domestic violence convictions violated their constitutional rights.

In a 6-2 ruling, the court upheld the opinion that domestic violence convictions can result in gun ownership restrictions, even if the misdemeanor is only the result of recklessness rather than intent. Justices Roberts, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer and Alito were in the majority, with Thomas and Sotomayor dissenting.

Unanimous ruling makes it harder to prosecute elected officials accused of bribery

The Supreme Court also announced its unanimous decision to vacate the conviction of former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell on corruption charges.

“There is no doubt that this case is distasteful; it may be worse than that. But our concern is not with tawdry tales of Ferraris, Rolexes, and ball gowns,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote. “It is instead with the broader legal implications of the government’s boundless interpretation of the federal bribery statute.”

For something to qualify as political corruption, the government official would have to take formal action on a pending matter, not just set up meetings, the court ruled. A lower court will decide whether to set a new trial for McDonnell.

Monday's announcements were the last opinions to be issued by the Supreme Court this term.

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US Supreme Court turns down challenge to assault weapons ban in 2 states

The US Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to laws in two states that restrict ownership of semi-automatic firearms.

On Monday, justices rejected an appeal of an October decision by the Second US Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld laws in Connecticut and New York that prohibit civilians from owning certain semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity magazines.

The laws bar access to the same gun used by Omar Mateen, the man who killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in a terrorist attack on an Orlando nightclub last week.

A federal ban enacted in 1994 had similar prohibitions on certain semi-automatic firearms and magazines that were defined as high-capacity, but that law expired in 2004.

The bans in Connecticut and New York were enacted in response to the Sandy Hook massacre, where a shooter with a semi-automatic rifle killed 20 children and six teachers at an elementary school in 2012.

Five other states and Washington, DC also have bans on semi-automatic rifles.

The two states’ gun laws were originally challenged in two cases from gun rights organizations and individual gun owners. The appeals courts consolidated the cases into one and upheld the law.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that individuals have a right to possess guns in their home for self-defense, but has since refused to strike down state and local laws that enact restrictions on activities. Those restrictions include requiring guns to be locked or disabled when not in use, banning ownership for those under age 21, and bans on carrying firearms in public.

The US Senate is currently expected to vote on a set of competing gun control measures in response to the Orlando mass shooting, two proposed by Democrats and two proposed by Republicans.

The four bills address changes to the federal background checks systems and restrictions on gun sales to those on terror watch lists. All of them are expected to fail, however.

  • Published in World
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