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      Firearm Availability and Fatal Police Shootings

      The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science

      SAGE Publications

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          Abstract

          Do states with more guns have higher rates of fatal police shootings? This article uses a validated measure of firearm availability (the percentage of suicides committed with a firearm) to examine the relationship between gun proliferation and fatal police shootings. It expands on existing research to include (1) measures of access to Level I and II trauma centers, (2) interpretation of the findings from the lenses of “statistical prediction,” and (3) tests for structural differences between models for black decedents versus nonblack decedents. Findings confirm the correlation between statewide prevalence of gun ownership and fatal police shootings for both all decedents and unarmed decedents. It provides partial support for “statistical prediction” by police and finds that greater access to trauma centers is associated with lower rates of citizen deaths. The analysis suggests a far broader range of policy options for saving lives, such as better enforcement of legal restrictions on firearm possession, than focusing solely on policing systems.

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          Most cited references 10

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          Firearms and suicide in the United States: is risk independent of underlying suicidal behavior?

          On an average day in the United States, more than 100 Americans die by suicide; half of these suicides involve the use of firearms. In this ecological study, we used linear regression techniques and recently available state-level measures of suicide attempt rates to assess whether, and if so, to what extent, the well-established relationship between household firearm ownership rates and suicide mortality persists after accounting for rates of underlying suicidal behavior. After controlling for state-level suicide attempt rates (2008-2009), higher rates of firearm ownership (assessed in 2004) were strongly associated with higher rates of overall suicide and firearm suicide, but not with nonfirearm suicide (2008-2009). Furthermore, suicide attempt rates were not significantly related to gun ownership levels. These findings suggest that firearm ownership rates, independent of underlying rates of suicidal behavior, largely determine variations in suicide mortality across the 50 states. Our results support the hypothesis that firearms in the home impose suicide risk above and beyond the baseline risk and help explain why, year after year, several thousand more Americans die by suicide in states with higher than average household firearm ownership compared with states with lower than average firearm ownership.
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            Race, Crime, and the Micro-Ecology of Deadly Force

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              Homicides by Police: Comparing Counts From the National Violent Death Reporting System, Vital Statistics, and Supplementary Homicide Reports.

              To evaluate the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) as a surveillance system for homicides by law enforcement officers.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
                The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
                SAGE Publications
                0002-7162
                1552-3349
                January 2020
                February 13 2020
                January 2020
                : 687
                : 1
                : 49-57
                Article
                10.1177/0002716219896259
                © 2020

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