In last week’s episode, we learned that around 30,000 Americans die each year from guns. This week, we examine possible solutions. Do better background checks, buybacks, and gun registration lead to fewer shooting deaths? What happened in Australia after they got rid of all the guns? To find out, we talk to gun shop owner Bob Kostaras, former ATF special agent Mark Jones, Prof. Philip Alpers, and Prof. Peter Squires.
Get 10% off your first Squarespace purchase by using the offer code ScienceVS at checkout
Spotify’s Discover Weekly feature makes Mondays better, with a new playlist every week of 30 songs curated just for you. Get your Discover Weekly playlist now at spotify.com/discoverweekly
This episode has been produced by Heather Rogers, Caitlin Kenney, Austin Mitchell, and Kaitlyn Sawrey. Editing by Annie Rose Strasser and Alex Blumberg. Production Assistance by Diane Wu, and Shruti Ravindran. Fact checking by Michelle Harris. Sound design and music production by Matthew Boll, mixing by Martin Peralta and Haley Shaw. Music written by Bobby Lord.
- US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (2755)
- US Crisis Text Line Text “GO” to 741741
- Australia: Lifeline 13 11 14
- Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention
- UK & Ireland: Samaritans 116 123
- Background Checks for Firearms Transfers, US Bureau of Justice, 2009 Including details on federal gun purchase regulations
- Issues with the current US background check system, plus recommendations for improvement Wintemute, “Background checks for firearm transfers: Assessment and recommendations.” Violence Prevention Research Program, UC Davis. 2013.
- States with more comprehensive background checks, including better reporting, have lower rates of gun homicide Ruddel and Mays, “State background checks and firearms homicides,” Journal of Criminal Justice, 2005.
- Most prisoners incarcerated for a gun-related offense did not buy their gun from a licensed dealer Harlow, C. “Firearm use by offenders”, Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report, 2001.
- How much of violent crime in Sweden can be attributed to people with severe mental illness? About 5% Fazel and Grann. “The Population Impact of Severe Mental Illness on Violent Crime.” Am J Psychiatry, 2006
- A study of how gun laws in Australia changed gun homicide rates Chapman et al, “Association Between Gun Law Reforms and Intentional Firearm Deaths in Australia, 1979-2013”, Journal of the American Medical Association, 2016.