Firearm purchasing and firearm violence during the coronavirus pandemic in the United States: a cross-sectional study

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Injury Epidemiology
Volume 8, Article number: 43 (2021)

Authors: Julia P. Schleimer, Christopher D. McCort, Aaron B. Shev, Veronica A. Pear, Elizabeth Tomsich, Alaina De Biasi, Shani Buggs, Hannah S. Laqueur & Garen J. Wintemute

Background

A surge in firearm purchasing following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic may have contributed to an increase in firearm violence. We sought to estimate the state-level association between firearm purchasing and interpersonal firearm violence during the pandemic.

Methods

Cross-sectional study of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia from January 2018 through July 2020. Data were obtained from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (a proxy for firearm purchasing) and the Gun Violence Archive. Using negative binomial regression models, we estimated the association between cumulative excess firearm purchases in March through July 2020 (measured as the difference between observed rates and those expected from autoregressive integrated moving average models) and injuries (including nonfatal and fatal) from intentional, interpersonal firearm violence (non-domestic and domestic violence).

Results

We estimated that there were 4.3 million excess firearm purchases nationally from March through July 2020 and a total of 4075 more firearm injuries than expected from April through July. We found no relationship between state-level excess purchasing and non-domestic firearm violence, e.g., each excess purchase per 100 population was associated with a rate ratio (RR) of firearm injury from non-domestic violence of 0.76 (95% CI: 0.50–1.02) in April; 0.99 (95% CI: 0.72–1.25) in May; 1.10 (95% CI: 0.93–1.32) in June; and 0.98 (95% CI: 0.85–1.12) in July. Excess firearm purchasing within states was associated with an increase in firearm injuries from domestic violence in April (RR: 2.60; 95% CI: 1.32–5.93) and May (RR: 1.79; 95% CI: 1.19–2.91), though estimates were sensitive to model specification.

Conclusions

Nationwide, firearm purchasing and firearm violence increased substantially during the first months of the coronavirus pandemic. At the state level, the magnitude of the increase in purchasing was not associated with the magnitude of the increase in firearm violence. Increases in purchasing may have contributed to additional firearm injuries from domestic violence in April and May. Results suggest much of the rise in firearm violence during our study period was attributable to other factors, indicating a need for additional research.

Kim Rhode vs MSM

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Memes about Kim Rhode and her lack of mainstream media attention have been circulating recently.

It’s easy to blame MSM for lack of pro-gun coverage. It is also inaccurate. First, this ignores the demographics of shooting and pro-gun involvement compared to more mainstream interests, such as sport ball athletes and movie celebrities. MSM does not care about you or your issues. They care about three things:

  1. How many people watch/read/use their outlet/broadcast.
  2. How much time those people spend on viewing/reading/listening.
  3. How many dollars marketers will pay them for access to those viewers/readers/listeners.

The same can be said for all media outlets. Replace the name of any broadcast or print media outlet or news program and this is still true. I’ve found some pro-gun media outlets resistant to publishing information on competition shooting because it doesn’t cater to their readership. If it’s true for pro-gun publications and websites, even though they are focused on the specific niche and demographic of “gun owner” instead of the public at large, then it shouldn’t be surprising that general media at large is disinterested.

After Kim Rhode medalled in six Olympics in a row, some claimed her lack of media coverage was due to media bias. However, USA Today, the New York Times, CBS Sports, SB Nation, NBC, WGN, People Magazine, NBC 9News, and the Chicago Tribune published articles about her. Other publications such as Time, Forbes, the Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and NPR published articles about Rhode’s accomplishments that highlighted her views on the Second Amendment.

This isn’t some nefarious anti-gun plot, it is simply catering to the majority. Gun owners are largely ignorant of organized shooting activity. Non-gun owners are even less aware and interested. This is the simple result of a market in action, not back-room politics trying to steal your guns. If the issue is controversial but of interest to a small minority, it’s probably easier to just avoid dealings and prevent alienating the majority, and especially alienating people and companies buying advertising/marketing trying to reach that general public.

Even among those gun owners that are active, activities such as golf eclipse them by a large margin. Again, the market speaks. If more people golf and are willing to pay for it, then more golf courses are built and more golf coverage is seen in the mainstream media because more people are voting with their dollars and feet. Gun owners are simply not as active, even when various reports claim that they are.

This is not an anti-gun plot. Garnering publicity and inspiring public interest is a tough row to hoe for every organization.

Common, accepted estimates place somewhere between 50-80 million Americans as owning at least one firearm. I don’t know why there is such a vast lack of interest in organized shooting events among them but given that there is, shooting will never be a mainstream activity. It’s not politics. It’s not anti-gun policy. It’s the result of the market voting with their dollars and feet.

Read another take here:
http://www.ammoland.com/the-prying-business-of-facebook-and-guns

Canadian Rangers

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The Canadian Rangers compete in Service Conditions competitions using their issue Lee-Enfield bolt action rifles, recently replaced by the Colt Canada C19, a license-built, Finnish-designed Tikka T3 CTR bolt action rifle.

Here are links to examples of them shooting at CAFSAC, Connaught Range (CRPTC)

https://fb.watch/3td7IuNsTS/

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?height=476&href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fradosportstuff%2Fvideos%2F431440948071513%2F&show_text=false&width=317

https://www.tiktok.com/@donald_sutherland/video/6925432966889917702

Being A Gun Professional

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By Steven Cline
The Deadeye Method
https://www.facebook.com/TheDeadeyeMethod

What’s it take to be considered a gun professional? Should that term be reserved for law enforcement or military members only? Maybe only top end competitors? How about being a full-time firearm instructor with pages of credentials? Can a gun professional be only someone of some elite status? Certainly those suggestions might give the appearance of being a gun professional. But, I humble submit for your consideration that a person can be defined as a gun professional by the following 5 tests. And, no matter how professional a person claims to be, if they fail one or more of these test, a professional they certainly are not.

1) The Professional follows all gun safety rules, always and forever.
In some case law the gun is declared an inherently dangerous object. This places it in a unique category of items because their very use (shooting them) imparts a serious risk of harm or death. Extra care is required in the handling and shooting of firearms. For practice we have specifically and carefully constructed ranges. We have rules that demand that we be certain of our target, and what is beyond it. The first of Coopers Rules demands that we treat the firearm as if it were loaded, even when it is not. A firearm can kill and we must always remind ourselves of that. It is why were never point the gun at things we are unwilling to destroy (innocent people being foremost on the list) and we don’t place our finger on the trigger until we intend to fire it. The professional is intentional about every handling of the gun. This brings us to the second rule of being a gun professional.

2) The Professional is never cavalier about un-holstering.
Properly holstered, the firearm cannot be discharged. Removing the firearm from the holster makes it “fireable” and therefor un-holstering should always be an intentional act. The reason or purpose for un-holstering should always be reasonable and the professional considers how they will un-holstering and conduct all subsequent handling before “skinnin’ that hog leg”. A professional gun handler never finds themselves with an un-holstered gun in hand and then tries to figure out what is the safest way to do whatever they were trying to do. Examples of cavalier gun handling includes things like, “Hey check out my new gat/holster/ammo.” Or, “I am the only one professional enough in this room (that I know of) to carry this Glock 40.” Please know that the constant carrying of a gun can quickly lead to a very cavalier attitude towards the firearm with the resulting unintentional discharges. Professionals can discuss a particular model of gun, holster, carry ammo, or anything gun related without yanking the gun. Speaking of holsters.

3) The Professional uses quality equipment.
A professional does not carry a gun of dubious reputation or in an inferior holster. A high end holster is essential. Professionals do not carry in low cost, poorly designed holsters. Tom Givens of Rangemaster will not let you participate in classes with a cheap, floppy, nylon holster. I will tell you that the holster is the most under rated piece of safety equipment and that you should be spending around $50 or more on your holster alone. I’ll also tell you not to string a cheap, flimsy, light-weight belt through that holster. Some instructors will not let you attend instruction with a Serpa holster (rightly or wrongly). Of course, the Professional invests in a firearm of sufficient quality and then confirms that quality with much practice.

4) The Professional improves.
A professional constantly seeks improvement and is not satisfied with attending a single Conceal Carry class. The professional practices regularly; weekly if not more so. Are you aware that the FBI interviewed criminal who had attacked cops and found that they practiced, on average, 23 times each year? That’s almost twice a month. If you are not practicing at least that much how could you ever consider yourself a gun professional? The professional is above average in skill amongst the gun carrying community, not the general population. It’s entirely too easy to be better than the average American. The average American sucks at gun handling and shooting.
The consensus amongst quality trainers is that you should be able to draw and place an accurate shot in under 2 seconds, and the closer you get to one second the better. Most persons who carry will be at three to four seconds when tested cold and rarely approach the sub two second standard when warmed to the draw. We’ve all watched in horror as the West Freeway Church of Christ safety team member fumbled his draw for four seconds before being shot. Four seconds and he hadn’t even managed to bring the gun to bear. I can’t believe if the man knew his draw was that slow he would not have been carrying under a suit jacket and an untucked shirt. He didn’t know his ability.

5) The Professional knows their ability, intimately.
A professional is not afraid to know their real skill level by competing in shooting competition, under a timer, and in front of witnesses to hold them accountable. Many a cop and military member got a rude awakenings attending a shooting competition and found that virtually everyone there was far better (faster and more accurate with less fundamental errors). Many took the lesson to heart and sought to improve. Sadly, the unprofessional ones offered excuses and never returned less the truth be reinforced. A professional knows how fast their draw is. They know their ability to make a shot at various distances. The amateur cannot tell you how long their splits are (the time required for them to recover from recoil, reacquire a sight picture, and reset the trigger and properly press it a second time). This knowledge comes from practice and competition with a timer.

In summation, you could say that the professional is never lazy in their thinking or doing as it relates to guns. If you are careless an inattentive when you un-holster your gun, sweep others while touching the trigger, carry in a cheap holster on a flimsy belt, never practice, never improve, have no idea how poor of a shooter you are, and are relying on a single training class years ago then you are the very definition of an gun amateur. If that observation convicted you, then buy a better holster and belt, practice, get some additional training, compete, and start following the fundamental rules of firearm safety. If you passed the above five tests, welcome to the ranks of the gun professional.

Does Carrying A Pistol Make You Safer?

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It’s puzzling that so many Americans are choosing to arm themselves at a time when the FBI tells us violent crime and property crime have been falling dramatically for two decades.

John Burnett, NPR

“It’s puzzling that so many homeowners are choosing to maintain fire extinguishers at a time when the data tells us fire incidents have been falling dramatically” would sound about the same. Also, this has been the trend for three decades, since the early 1990s.

There is no correlation between homocide and gun ownership. Tools don’t do anything by themselves and their presence can not make you more or less safe. BJ Campbell has a tremendous article on this that thoroughly looks at the numbers and analyzes how a series of less-thorough reports got this wrong.

Everybody’s Lying About the Link Between Gun Ownership and Homicide
There is no clear correlation whatsoever between gun ownership rate and gun homicide rate. Not within the USA. Not regionally. Not internationally. Not among peaceful societies. Not among violent ones. Gun ownership doesn’t make us safer. It doesn’t make us less safe. A bivariate correlation simply isn’t there. It is blatantly not-there. It is so tremendously not-there that the “not-there-ness” of it alone should be a huge news story.

Gun Murder Rate is not correlated with firearm ownership rate in the United States, on a state by state basis. Firearm Homicide Rate is not correlated with guns per capita globally. It’s not correlated with guns per capita among peaceful countries, nor among violent countries, nor among European countries.

BJ Campbell

More:
https://opensourcedefense.org/blog/gun-rights-are-winning-and-nobody-has-realized-it

https://www.heritage.org/crime-and-justice/commentary/here-are-8-stubborn-facts-gun-violence-america

Gov’t Study: Buyback programs do not work

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My conversations with shooters in Australia indicate that their massive buyback program was used by many to dump unsellable firearms they no longer wanted.

Government agencies that have formally studied the result found the scheme failed to produce claimed results.

“Although gun buybacks appear to be a logical and sensible policy that helps to placate the public’s fears, the evidence so far suggests that in the Australian context, the high expenditure incurred to fund the 1996 gun buyback has not translated into any tangible reductions in terms of firearms deaths”

https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/Abstract.aspx?id=246605

– National Criminal Justice Reference Service

ABOUT National Criminal Justice Reference Service
Established in 1972, the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) is a federally funded resource offering justice and drug-related information to support research, policy, and program development worldwide.

More:

https://theconversation.com/factcheck-qanda-did-government-gun-buybacks-reduce-the-number-of-gun-deaths-in-australia-85836

Anti-gun Professor Stops Stereotyping Gun Owners After Talking To Gun Owners

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Even though this English professor still claims to not like guns, even after learning the basics of shooting, she does admit that she no longer stereotypes gun owners. Not ideal, but it is progress. And it’s something we hear of often. If people are willing to be open-minded and try shooting or even just talking to gun owners they often walk away with a vastly different take on the Second Amendment and those of us who believe so strongly in it.

To that end, we as gun owners need to do our part to win over anyone willing to hear us out. That means being open and friendly to those who may not necessarily share our exact views on freedom, gun ownership and self-defense.

This happens one person at a time, and one conversation at a time. But before that process can begin those non-gun owners have to feel comfortable approaching us. And more often than not that process begins by being open and approachable.

Major kudos to the instructor at the Butch Olafson Range who took that phone call from a very nervous English professor. And kudos to Ms. Spaulding-Kruse for owning up to and overcoming your fear, as well as moving past your preconceived stereotype of gun owners. You still may not like guns, but if you ever want to go shooting again look us up. We’re happy to continue your education on shooting sports and gun ownership.

http://iowafc.org/blog/english-prof-in-ia-stops-stereotyping-gun-owners-after-talking-to-gun-owners/

Strength Training Effects on Endurance

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Three groups of runners were equalized as Novices (layoff from any training for an equal amount of time) and then conducted the same running program. The training difference was the three groups used a 5×5 strength training program (“heavy strength training”), 3×5 lifting with plyometrics (“complex training”), and high repetition (“endurance strength training”).


The two group training with sets of five (5×5 or 3×5 with plyo) had similar good benefits to their running results while the high rep group had the worst results despite being novice trainees in an endurance sport.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32981468/


https://trainright.com/why-heavy-strength-training-is-most-effective-for-runners/

“HST (heavy strength training) and CPX (complex training, mix of strength training with plyo) produced similar improvements in maximum strength, power (as ascertained through the squat jump and countermovement jump) running economy and vV02max. Additionally, HST and CPX resulted in greater eccentric strength and running economy improvements than the low weight, high repetition EST (endurance strength training), which showed some marginal and not significant improvement. This adds to the body of literature that overall favors heavy and/or plyometric strength training being superior to low weight, high repetition strength training specifically for running (and in many cases other types of endurance) performance.


“In addition to this, one of the interesting ways the research team standardized the groups was that all of them abstained from strength training for the prior 6 months before the intervention. Normally when this is the case, any intervention results in a meaningful positive adaptation simply because the training stimulus is novel as well as an overall increase in training load (you are adding strength training on top of your normal run training). So, when you look at the fact that the EST (low weight, high rep) produced basically no response despite the intervention being additive to the underlying run training load and despite it being novel, you could easily say that it was a waste of the athlete’s time.

“The literature is starting to demonstrate more and more, you are better off taking that time you are spending doing a billion bodyweight step-ups and redirecting it into a handful of heavy squats”

Michael Owen Nails the Gun Debate

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https://bretigne.typepad.com/on_the_banks/2017/10/michael-owen-nails-the-gun-debate

Michael Owen Nails the Gun Debate

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This is the best commentary I’ve seen on the gun debate ever. And Michael Owen needs to start his own (real) blog:

“No amount of statistics or facts will sway either side in the gun control debate, because they are all looking for simple solutions to complex problems. The facts of those complex problems are uncomfortable and nobody really wants to come to grips with them.

“For example, we don’t really have a single America with a moderately high rate of gun deaths. Instead, we have two Americas, one of which has very high rates of gun ownership but very low murder rates, very comparable to the rest of the First World democracies such as those in western & northern Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, South Korea. The other America has much lower rates of gun ownership but much, much higher murder rates, akin to violent third world countries.

“The tough questions are those like, why do we have these two Americas? But that’s an uncomfortable discussion to have. So instead those on the left favor simple minded restrictions that target first world America, with its high gun ownership but very low murder rate, but don’t address the root causes of third world America’s violence at all. Meanwhile those on the right correctly feel their civil rights are constantly threatened, so they are constantly in a state of “better stock up before they finally ban it” and the guns and ammo fly off the shelves. The left’s constant gun control rhetoric is the greatest thing ever for arms manufacturers.

“Meanwhile, over the past 40 years, while the number of guns in private hands has doubled, the murder rate has dropped by half. The left are constantly prattling about “assault weapons” which are almost never used to commit murders (about 1% of gun murders; all rifles combined are around 3%). More murders are committed with baseball bats than “assault rifles”; the vast majority of gun homicides are committed with handguns, but it’s easier to sell restrictions that target “assault weapons”, even though such restrictions, even if 100% effective, would make no detectable change in the murder rate (especially because of substitution effects). They favor ridiculous measures such as bans on “high capacity magazines”, as if magazines weren’t cheap and easily swapped out in a fraction of a second.

“The uncomfortable fact is that roughly 80% of the US homicide rate is associated with the drug trade, and the drug trade is violent because the drug war reserves it for violent criminals. We have a system in place where the government subsidizes poverty in urban areas, imposes economic blight in those same areas through heavy taxes and regulations, renders the residents permanently unemployable via the “criminal justice” (sic) system, and creates a lucrative black market in drugs by restricting supply (not to mention increasing demand as people are desperate to escape their circumstances by getting high), meaning the only game in town is often entering the drug trade. The drug trade is violent because those in it have no access to courts to settle disputes. Powerful industries lobby to keep the drug war going; the top spenders are law enforcement unions, the prison industry, big alcohol, tobacco, and pharma.

“Guns are not the proximate cause of gun violence in the US. Childlike magical thinking and simple “fixes” to complex problems will not work. But it is comfortable, and self-righteousness feels so good. So I expect it to continue indefinitely.”

How to Reduce Injuries Related to Recoil

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by Jay Chambers

Hunting is a very exciting sport to indulge in. Also, a gun is a great thing to have around for self-defense. Plus, we can’t help but appreciate how fun it is to go to the shooting range or an airsoft camp. It can help us relieve built-up stress and make us feel psychically better after a long week at work.

However, the part that is not so fun is recoil. Sure, loud noises may be brought down by a good pair of earmuffs – but what do you do about recoil? Recoil injuries can get out of hand very quickly, often leaving severe traumas that even doctors have difficulties in handling. That being said, in order to reduce these injuries, there are several tips that you may want to consider. Check them out!

  • Get a Good Recoil Pad

In most cases, the recoil pad will determine whether your gun will have a lot of recoil or very little recoil. Sure, aluminum or plastic recoil pads – the ones that generally come with the gun – are among the least expensive options. However, they are more likely to injure you with their recoil.

This is why you might want to go for a soft, padded recoil pad instead, as it can suck up the recoil. Rubber is also a good choice, as it is very efficient at absorbing shock and has vibration isolation properties. Make sure that the length of the pull works well with the size of your recoil pad.

  • Go for Recoil Reducing Stocks

There are various stocks that you can buy that have counterweights, spring systems, or other mechanical additions meant to reduce the recoil. These are not necessary for low recoil levels, as they can get quite expensive – but if the recoil particularly bothers you, you may want to invest in something like this.

For example, you can use it if you have a weapon large enough to use a rifle scope for 500-yard lines – as these guns create a bit of recoil. Moreover, you need to protect your gun accessories. Even if you have a short hunting range, recoil can injure you and your gear – and these recoil-reducing stocks are great for preventing that from happening.

  • Use Reduced Recoil Ammunition

Sometimes, you may have the perfect gun that barely has any recoil and the best tools to dampen the effect of the recoil. However, if the ammo you are using is going at full power, then you may expect a lot of recoil as well. Plus, think about it this way: do you really need to push yourself for no reason with full-power ammunition each time you are at the shooting range? You can be sure that ammo such as a 5.56x45mm NATO will have quite a bit of recoil.

That being said, every major shotshell manufacturer can provide reduced-recoil options for buckshot, birdshot, and slugs. If you are planning to shoot more than a couple of rounds per session, you might want to consider using low-recoil shells. They can make your experience much more pleasant, particularly when it comes to slugs and buckshot.

  • Go for Wearable Recoil Shields

These work pretty much in the same way as a recoil pad – but what makes them special is that you strap them to your shoulder or chest. Many people find these recoil-reducing tools quite convenient for long-range shooting or longer sessions. There are also those who dislike them because apparently, the shield gets in the way. It prevents them from mounting the gun as quickly as they want it.

Despite this fact, they are quite efficient in preventing a recoil injury from happening – but will also protect you if you already have an existent shoulder injury. This way, you will not add further shock to it, injuring yourself once more.

  • Be Careful with the Trigger

If your gun has a heavy trigger, then it will certainly add to the gun recoil. Instead, if you go for a crisp and relatively light trigger, things will be much easier to set off – therefore, making the whole shooting experience less unpleasant.

That being said, don’t even think about diddling with the gun’s trigger and trying to change it yourself. Not only is it dangerous, but the National Firearms Act may not allow you to make certain types of modifications without authorization.

  • Go for 20-Gauge

If you want to reduce the risk of recoil-related injury, then most people suggest that you use a 20-gauge gun instead of a 12-gauge option. These types of guns are relatively bigger in comparison to their 12-gauge counterparts – and while it might seem like a smart idea to get a smaller gun for lesser recoil, it is actually the opposite.

If the gun is lightweight, it will not have that much stability. Instead, a heavier gun will be held down by its own weight – therefore, reducing the recoil. A 9lbs gun is slightly more difficult to carry around (if you do not like the weight). Still, it will typically result in less recoil. Plus, it may be heavier, but many hunters say that these guns are very fun to shoot.

  • Wear Equipment

The last and perhaps one of the most efficient ways to reduce injuries caused by recoil is to wear the proper equipment. Goggles and gloves are recommended – but in most cases, the gloves are more than sufficient. Go for some snug, yet thin-fitting leather gloves, as they will reduce the amount of shock your hands receive. Make sure that the gloves aren’t too thick, as this can affect your aim when you are pulling the trigger.

Final Thoughts

Recoil is never fun – but there are some ways in which you can protect yourself. Sometimes, it is all a matter of accessories that you have around you. Other times, you might just need to change the gun or the ammo. Whatever option you choose, these small changes or additions will make your hunting/shooting experience much pleasant.

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