Author(s): James M La Valle
A recent string of vicious, senseless and tragic mass spree killings have propelled an intense re-appraisal of U.S. gun laws, but the ensuing dialogue amply demonstrates that the opposing sides of the gun policy debate are as firmly entrenched in their mutual opposition to one another as ever before (Washington, 2012). Those who favor stricter “gun control” axiomatically oppose “personal protection” (e.g., “right to carry”) strategies, whereas those who favor “personal protection” measures stridently oppose “gun control”. The present study compares statistically (N=1736) these two contrasting approaches according to the methodological recommendations published by a National Academy of Sciences Research Panel (Wellford, Pepper & Petrie, 2005), and the results provisionally suggest that “personal protection” (“right to carry”; henceforth “RTC”) laws may reduce both gun homicide rates and total homicide rates, whereas traditional “gun control” policies do not detectably effect either outcome. However, the present study also observes that neither type of measure was originally designed to protect the public against the presently emerging and more deadly threat posed by armed and mentally disturbed mass spree killers. Suggestions for the modification of existing gun measures to more effectively prevent future mass spree-killings are offered.