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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  December 28, 2015 3:01pm-5:02pm EST

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report from 1984 after the kenya bombing simply to the original benghazi report from accountability review board it would look almost identical. we did not learn the lessons from the bombing in kenya and there are important lessons to learn and a some focus that this is just hillary clinton, but when the report is finished you will see a lot of other information there in the days ahead tooled the state department accountable that if we have americans overseas, how do we defend them and i have individual families in oklahoma, that have called me and said might son or daughter sirs with the state department around the world in different facilities, how do we know they are being in the most secure facility that we can put them in as americans and those are important questions to resolve as well. >> host: the call or brings up a planned parenthood and here's a front page story from the "washington post" shooting at the planned parenthood facility in colorado, stir debate with
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tough rhetoric and you are a man who has spoken out on the senate floor about planned parenthood. went to get your thoughts on this debate happening among some planned parenthood officials even sane on the sunday show yesterday that the rhetoric here might have fueled what happened. >> guest: this is a person i think we will find out more and more similar to several other shootings. someone with mental problems and no one would say i'm standing up for life by taking a life that is inconsistent with the movement focused on individuals protecting life and the focus on antiabortion is a pro-life work-- focus and a focus on life and children and to say you are protesting for children and for life bike taking the life of an innocent makes no sense. this is not someone mentally stable. this is someone who has serious mental issues. >> host: adam is waiting on our line. adam, good morning.
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>> caller: thank you for taking my phone call and i went to take a no, that republican or democrat, it doesn't seem like anyone has any idea how much money is coming in and they throw around billions of dollars here and there about this back and the other thing, but i would like a true accounting of money in an money out as far as our federal government. it's ridiculous that our government money is wasted on a multitude of programs left or right. >> guest: i appreciate that comment and that's why we have a bill called the taxpayer's right to know and its focus on how to get greater transparency and what's happening in the federal got up-- government. we can search through the system and we can find areas of duplication and go to different reports and be able to identify some of those, but you cannot really see how much is that, how many employees, what are the metrics of these different programs and how they are evaluated and how do we resolve try to combine such programs
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that if there are four programs that do the exact same thing we may say that's a good thing to do, but do we deed to do it with 40 for an agency's? so how do we combine those and provide protection for the taxpayer dollars to put it where it should be going or put it towards debt reduction where it desperately needs to go. >> host: programs again getting spotlighted in this new report. the official release of this report we will cover on c-span, but one of the programs highlight islamic. >> guest: this is an interesting story that came out were an individual had a pet llama and they have had it for years and provided therapy, used it to take it to different schools, senior centers and for senior centers to visit their. this llama got on the loose and became a big national story, so when it gets-- after it was caught and brought back a federal regulator shows up and said do you have a permit. they didn't, and so they go through this long process.
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why do i need a federal permit to have a llama? of there a multiple of places around the country that has llamas and our harvest for the wool and all of that. that's not an issue, but suddenly upped of a federal permit and that's example of why federal permit required for an individual to be able to have out llama. what has been their retirement program to have this llama and be able to travel around from petting zoos-- zoos is settling on a way. it's not a health issue. local folks take care of the individuals to make sure there is in a health issue. we thought the llama was a good example of the overreach of federal government with permitting. >> host: and an example of the regular side-- regulatory side you look at an previous iterations of this book called the waste book by your predecessor. he didn't look at regulation.
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he mostly looked at the spending side. >> guest: correct. i think this is ground zero we are as a nation right now. when the federal government continues to accelerate and do more and more and can't keep up and we continue to spend more and more and we think it's extremely important if we deal with anyone have to deal with the number of things washington dc does. if we can get a balance back, that would make a big difference just in our own spending, plus the economy as a whole. >> host: let's go to laurent waiting in alexander, minnesota. you are on with senator james lankford. >> caller: thank you. i'm 72 years old and the big change i have seen in this country and i can see it drastically. we have way too much welfare. people left to do it on their own. it used to be where families would raise families and now it's all these single parents getting welfare. more of these refugees in here we will have a lot more welfare. we are spending a lot of money on welfare and people should be
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responsible and do it on their own. i have seen it used to be that way and it's not that way anymore. >> host: senator james lankford. >> guest: i would say that's a big issue just on the value of work and that's a basic principle in basic value as of the people pushed down and say why would we push someone towards work. of course you would want to do that. there is great dignity and work and individuals that can work come should work. we have a safety net for those individuals on disability that cannot work in any place in the economy and that's my definition social security disability program. they cannot work, so that safety net is where-- there. it helps people transition from the place they are back to work because that's where people find dignity and that's with eight can help lift out a basic poverty. individuals can be permanently trapped in poverty with the
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social safety net. it's not designed to pull people out of poverty, but to keep people from starving. if people live in it and pass it onto their children, that's a major issue and now, we are trapping children into poverty. it's a safety net, not a safety hammock and it's extremely important that we have been at to help push people out to get them back to work because other individuals need the help, so again that is not a partisan issue. we want to help people and listed them out of poverty and that's a key aspect that has to be done. >> host: lauren is waiting in nashville, indiana. >> caller: good morning. if we take a hypothetical situation regarding your book and say that we did all of that, and saved $100 billion and then the next day marched into syria, to defeat isis, i think that you are looking at the wrong place where the money that you wanted to save is going. how we got here was 4 trillion
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dollar war on a credit card. what we are really looking at is $7 billion to egypt and israel and our mideast partners. it's a ticket we are spending on wars. it's not shakespeare in the park and welfare and llamas and you are looking at the crimes in order to get people to turn back regulations on the environment and all of these small things, but you are rizzi-- missing the real elephant in the room, which is that the money you're picking at at isn't the real money. the real money is trillions of dollars that we spend with no account ability on war and i would like to hear what you have to say. >> guest: i have heard a lot of folks and talk about the reason
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we are in such heavy debt is because of the war in iraq and afghanistan. we spent about it trillion and a half dollars, which is no small amount to say the least. so, that is not the sole area where we have overspending, but we should absolutely have accountability in those areas and i highlight some of those. for instance, the powerplants and cobble kabul, over $300 million of waste in that one project for something that is not used and i understand there are individuals that they we don't need to be any part of the world, but i would say one of the greatest things we should do as a nation is to defend american citizens and when there is a direct threat coming to the united states, we should be attentive to that. we spend on defense what we need to spend on defense in the most efficient way possible to make sure defend america and our allies are in the world. that is extremely important to us as a nation, our own national security and when i talk to be ligon, this is not a partisan issue republican or democrat, one of the key issues is how are
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we defending our families, how are we providing a secure environment and what happened in afghanistan years ago was a location that was they are where terrorist train, equip, prepared to attack america and they did that. what is happening in syria right now in northern iraq is there are individuals training and equipping coming from all over the world to be up to equip and not only hold that plan there, but be able to leave that area and do attacks and other parts of the world of. here assessing that recently. we have seen that lebanon and that will continue to spread around the world. did i wish we could ignore it and it would go away, it won't just go away. there are people that really do need to do us harm and we have to be able to face those individuals. >> host: is there one example that particularly gets you were particularly irks you? >> guest: there about a hundred of them that particularly irks me. small or large and i know you are mentioning large and small, but the earned income tax credit piece has the largest fraud rate of the federal government and
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has for about 20 years. that one program has about eight to present fraud rent-- ray. about 16 to $80 million in year in fraud and lost in that one program alone. that goes your after year. lots of people catch me at home and say they want to take care of the irs and what's happening with identity theft, with irs. the irs has methods they could put in place to protect the identity of individuals, so their identity is not stolen. if we don't deal with that, we will continue to have more and more money in the billions of dollars got the door and a lot of hassles of poor americans as their identity is stolen and false tax returns are turned in, but you can look at smaller areas as well. there was a solar panel installation about $8 billion that was done in the va center in arkansas and when they did the installation as they were getting ready to do it did then changed their mind and said we will put a parking garage in this area and they took the
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solar panels out and built the parking garage and put them back on. it will take about 40 years of use of the solar panels just to pay for their installation in that facility. before you even break even on the install, so it's just not wise. no one would put in solar panels on the roof knowing it would take 40 years to pay off of continuous use to pay for themselves at, so it's just not smart use. >> host: page 92 of the report released, a solar burn talks about that specific spending. back to the phone, david in indiana for independence. good morning. >> caller: good morning. i'm not really a republican. i'm a conservative, but the main problem going on today is the constitution only uses the word provide one time and that's to provide for the common defense. it doesn't say provide welfare or anything, so if we want to save spending you cut out the
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department of education. that's not a federal responsibility. you cut out agriculture, that's not a federal responsibility. the epa is not a federal responsibility. all of these agencies, he stopped them and provide what the constitution tells you to provide for. i don't care if 100% of the budget goes for defense as long as i'm not being attacked. i was in vietnam and i know is that like. i do not want to go through incompetent leadership. we need to do away with income tax. the only income tax was put in to fund socialism. e fund socialism on a consumption tax. now, i'm sure the people live-- of oklahoma love oklahoma a whole lot more than the people in indiana where i live. i live in indiana and believe it or not if washington was new tomorrow indiana would still figure out how to grow our corn and fix our roads. if you have a road project in
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paper your interstate, but don't let it come out of the defense department. that was put in by eisenhower and i'm 66 years old and that was a defense thing. it was mainly for defense. that was so we could get our military around the country, so stop spending money. how about if we don't let the government spend money they don't have? we tax the american people today for what you will spend today and then we will see how much socialism america really wants. you wouldn't have a lot of socialism if you shut it off on future generations, but we have to pay for today when the tax rate goes to 90% and all of america gets a rates from this out-of-control government, so cut the federal government back to what it's supposed to be and we will continue to have problems choking our grandkids. >> guest: that is one of the areas i talked about originally when we started was every state functions under the same principle, see how much revenue
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is coming in, how much money do actually have is a state and budget based on those and you make hard decisions when there are hard decisions to be made because you are required to have a balanced budget. the federal government is not required to have a balanced budget. this federal government in washington dc is going to focus on what can we spend on rather than what do we actually have to spend on an intel we actually flip that over, which it desperately needs to occur, we will constantly have this overspending and it's one of the big challenges that the states look at and say we cannot overspend and us of the states will go to the federal government and asked the question, we won additional money for xy and z, roads, programs or different things, so send us money because we can go into debt and the federal government can't, so they want the extra money. the federal government should function within its means and if you function within your means and get back to balanced budget did you make hard decisions and
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say this may be something that people want to do, but we don't have the money and we get back to doing what you have to do to keep the priorities. >> host: eleven still emanate the department of education, agriculture and us epa. if you are in charge and had the power to do it would you eliminate any? >> guest: on the gideon example, the department of education, there is no reason for us to have a national school board. we have school boards every location around the country and states have that responsibility. the only connection a national the part of education should had to education local ares is for in dili with tribal education and even in tribal education reduplication because indian affairs has a big tent and department of education has a big chunk on tribal education and they are not corrugated-- coordinated even in that area, so yes there is a role, but on military bases and tribal locations of note-- both of those are done poorly.
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>> host: lets head to texas where mike is waiting on our line for republicans. good morning. >> caller: good morning. >> guest: good morning, mike. >> caller: thank you for having me. i am glad we are addressing the federal spending, but the other part of this equation is the income tax revenue. ever since nafta was passed we have lost a lot of jobs in there with income tax base. my question to you is with regard to our income tax revenue, in the private sector and the corporate sector, do you feel like there needs to be changes because i feel a lot of people think that those people in the private sector are wealthy and of course big business aren't paying their fair share of taxes. >> guest: i would say there does need to be tremendous change in how we do tax policy in america. no one would take the current tax policy if you are starting
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from scratch and say that's what i would design. 70000 pages of rules and regulations and anyone that actually thinks they turn in their taxes have it 100% correct. everyone turns it in and says, i hope it's right, but there are some rules and regulations, no one really knows if their taxes are right or not. taxes should be simple and straightforward affair. you cannot function basic government and we do need the basic functions of government like national defense, like our highways, like things that are basic of the structure. we do need to have that kind of connection with the government, but you need to have a fair, efficient tax policy that doesn't rip people off and currently there are all kinds of subsidies go into the tax code that cause major problems. for instance, there is a tax write off for major sports stadiums where they are able to get significant municipal bonds and if you want to build a large arena that is fine, but your community can choose to do that, but where the people of my state subsidizing a sports arena in another state with us wealthy
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sports team that doesn't need extra income. would they take the money if they are given it? absolutely. another one is that ethanol grant or the wind subsidy. a wind subsidy was put in place to help when you get off the ground. in oklahoma we produce a tremendous amount of wind energy and oklahoman it's a great fuel source for us especially in central part of united states, but that was put in place 23 years ago to help a brand-new energy source get off the ground. there are 3 million megawatts done in 1982. now, 23 years later is 167 billion megawatts yet we still have that subsidy in place about $6 billion subsidy. this is not a brand-new industry that either jump start anymore. it's a very efficient good energy source that's out there. why are we still forcing taxpayers in other states to help fund the wind power in my state and other states that produce a lot of wind energy?
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should not be a subsidy that is any great-- place and increases the tax burden and increases our debt for something that is not someone else's real responsibility. >> host: conversation happening on twitter as well. dede writes in and zero forget the trillions we spend on interest on the trillions of dollars of debt we cumulated rebuilding the world. a few minutes left with the senator lankford. dorothy, good morning. >> guest: good morning, dorothy. >> caller: good morning. i have a suggestion, but when the man called in and talked about welfare. one thing that could be done is that when people come in-- welfare should be employment office or tell people get employed and get help, so you come there come with your resume or whatever and then someplace they can send you to get trained
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up for work and it's a temporary thing. help people to get work. that should be mandatory. number two, regulation, now you write about some things-- i had a friend that had a problem with the bank and i tried to help her i think she said she-- her thing came to 60 cents over what she had in the bank. the bank went down and charged her $36 and even the stuff she had the money for them they said they could do that because she was 60 cents short of everything. , you should regulate that because they charged her like $400. that's what you should regulate and like you said there are too many regulations that i want to say one other thing. spending the pentagon, that gas
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station you said was built wherever it was, that's coming from the defense, the military. so, we do have to have something done about that and i will say one more thing and how do you feel about this. we need someone else besides congress or the president or anyone like that, we need someone private to go in and audit things because some way this is gotten out of control. of these agencies, and to petition and all that stuff and some of that .-dot 12. everyone has their pet projects. we need a private organization to go in, nothing to do with congress or the white house and go in and audit the things we have. >> host: thank you for the call. >> guest: that is the reason i mentioned earlier about a bill i called the taxpayer right to know and is passed out of committee.
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we can get all of the information from the committees because they don't submit that. you can put it into a central database and track where there is duplication and how much is spent, so i'm tried to force that information out so outside entities can look at that as well as congress and think tanks, universities, private citizens and whoever wants to see it, with basic transparency and be able to navigate the information is important to take the next step to balance this and as far as the defensive and 43 million-dollar gas station, that is an area where you have both state department, department of defense and other areas that think there is a good project to do and they will go in and put in a good project at the tail end of it they find it was a very bad idea to do and it still begs the question why are we spending money that way? every area of our budget needs oversight whether its defense, nondefense or as you mentioned avoid some of employment programs that we need to incentivize not adding more people to the deployment programs, how are we helping people get off of these programs?
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that's what people really want. they want to be able to make sure they have permanently able to get a paycheck to support their own family and teach my kids here is how you work and here's how you have a better life. >> host: dorothy commented there are good regulations that can help a bag regulations. where do you draw the line between a good regulation about regulation? >> guest: there are a couple things. one the slowdown in the economy unnecessarily and another thing is something that federal government should not regulated all and if they are regulating why do they do that. the state or city does that. she mentioned banking regulations. those are some of the most regulated entities in all of america. but, we continue to add new layers. dodd-frank bill supposed supposed to capture some big banks, but captured all the small community banks. .-dot frank was passed and until now there were seven bank started in america in that limited time and now the regulations are so large it's very difficult for small communities and rural
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communities to get a new bank started and it's also very difficult to get a home loan in many parts of america now because of what's called a qualified mortgage and that rule extends to semi- banks and sony places that it's tough to get a home mortgage and people that up always gone to their bank and got in home mortgage are now unable to do it anymore based on new regulations, so they may have given a home loan to their grandfather and their parents, but they can do a home loan for them anymore and it's a credible and frustrating for many areas of the country and it's a new layer of regulation added that don't seem to help anyone. >> host: senator lankford will be talking more about this today at noon at his press conference talking about the federal fumbles report 100 ways the government has dropped the ball and we will cover it here on c-span at noon. thank you for your time this morning. >> guest: thank you. glad to have the conversation. >> later today, author erik larsen on his book surrounding the 1915 sinking of the lusitania.
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the british ocean minor was sunk after being torpedoed by a german u-boat. 1200 of the 2000 passengers died including 128 americans. more about that tonight at 7:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span 2. >> with congress on holiday recess, the c-span networks feature a full lineup of prime time programming. tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span, laura logan, sebastian younger and other journalists whoever is their lives covering events in the middle east. tuesday night at 8:00 p.m. celerity activists speak out on a variety of issues. wednesday night, events from the c-span archives featuring notable public figures who died in 2015. thursday at 8:00 p.m., a look back at the year in congress and on new year's day, friday night at 8:00 p.m., law-enforcement officials, activists and journalists examine the prison system and its impact on minority communities.
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on c-span 2 book tv, tonight, at 8:30 p.m. memoirs by reporters, activists and a former white house press secretary. tuesday night at 8:00 p.m., books on economics and the economy. wednesday night, authors talk about their books on science and technology. thursday at 8:00 p.m., discussions on isis and terrorism and on new year's day, friday night at 8:00 p.m., several in-depth programs from this year. on american history tv on c-span 3, tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern, the 70th anniversary of the liberation of all switch to argued tuesday night at 8:00 p.m., a congressional ceremony on the 150th anniversary of the 13th memo, wednesday night, a debate on which president would be a better model for gop candidates today. , and coolidge or ronald reagan? thursday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, reginald white house rewind, and on new year's day, friday night at age-- apm, playwright and star of the broadway musical hamilton except the george
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washington book prize the special achievement award and that some the programs featured in prime time on the c-span networks. >> news today that a cleveland grand jury has declined to bring charges against either of the two police officers involved in the november 2014, shooting of tamir rice, a 12-year old boy who was playing with a toy weapon in a park. the washington post writes that the prosecutor did not recommend the grand jury brink charges and that he believes both the cleveland police officers involved were reasonable in their belief that rice had a winner-- real weapon and up next a symposium from earlier this month on gun violence on public health held at the mother emanuel a.m.e. church in charleston, south carolina. this marks the six-month anniversary of the shooting at the church where nine people were killed.
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> good morning, everyone. on behalf of the entire college of charleston community, welcome for moving from crisis to action, a public health approach to reducing gun violence. a special welcome to our friends and sponsors from mother emmanuelle amey church, the american bar association and the medical university of south carolina. thank you all for being here. in my thanks to the following organizations for their support, the american academy of family physicians, the american college of physicians, the american psychiatric association, the brady center to prevent gun violence and the wall center to prevent gun violence. i'm so pleased to be able to take part in this event, the
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college of charleston is particularly honored to have a world today and this event. we are committed to serving as a center of reconciliation and a place for dialogue for our community in the aftermath of the tragic and horrific shooting that took place here in june. in which we lost one of our longtime great employees, cynthia heard. she was a librarian, a beloved member of our campus and she is deeply missed by our campus. we at the college want to do, are doing and will continue to do our part to help advance our community, society forward in the aftermath of this appalling event. the college is a place where everyone can come together and to heal and a place where we can have a frank discussions about race, culture and differences. the college was founded more than two centuries ago to serve the needs of the community and
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we will continue to do so. higher education has always been at the forefront of convening these much needed conversations and conducting research into the most pressing issues facing our society. today, it is no different. in the ensuing conversations we will have, i know we will discover we have much more in common than what we think separates us. if we can find a way to see ourselves and each other, we can and will build a more tolerant and more conclusive country. today is going to be a tough day of conversation, but i know we have the capacity and a strength of character to handle our emotions and actively listen to all sides of the issue. growth comes from being uncomfortable and we should all be a little bit uneasy today when engaging in these conversations. that's how we know charleston, will move forward from crisis to peace. further, we are a better society
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when we communicate with each other, learn it from each other and support each other. the best of our human spirit in his in our capacity to grow and change, to be lifelong learners. because the intellectual growth and forms, not only our minds, but shapes are empathy and create our connections to others. it's in that spirit of connectivity and growth that we come together here today to explore and advance the conversation action on gun violence crisis for south carolina and our nation. this is an important topic to tackle. i think all of our panelists, national and local public health, professionals, faith leaders, legal experts and other invited guests who are participating in the event. we appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedules to be here and to contribute your thoughts and ideas. today we look forward to
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engaging and thought-provoking conversations, to ensure were more goodness and light emerge from the hateful act that kurt laseak-- occurred here at mother emanuel a.m.e. church and in far too many other places across our country. sensitive change cannot be made in a vacuum. it takes is all working together from all sectors, public health, government, business, higher education and more. we much have a unity of purpose and a sense of urgency to act and i am confident with all of the bright minds that are in this room, that we will identify solutions that can and will lower the prevalence of gun violence in america. once again, thank you all for being here. i will now turn it over to reverend brenda nelson from mother emanuel a.m.e. church and after reverend nelson's remarks we will hear from public brown, president of the american bar association and david clark, the cochair of today's event and the chair of the american bar
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association's standing committee on gun violence. thank you. [applause]. >> again, good morning. good morning. all right. went to be sure i'm in the right place. on the half of the episcopal church in the state of south carolina, our episcopal supervisor, presiding elder and also currently serving as interim passant-- pastor, the clergy, officers and members of mother emmanuelle, it is my privilege this morning to welcome you to mother emanuel a.m.e. church, the oldest amd church in south carolina. we are honored for the gathering at mother emanuel as we a
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church, community, state, nation and world prepare for what i call the six-month point in the journey from june 17, 2015. it gives us so much comfort to know that june 17, 2015, was not an event to soon forgotten by those outside of the immediate circle of the emanuel nine family and survivors, the mother emmanuelle church and the african methodist episcopal church, but instead that the event of june 17, 2015, and at the too many horrific events that have followed across the nation and of the world have inspired so many across this community, state and nation to not get stuck in crisis, but to move a forward and education and action. we do look forward to today's conversation, the information to be shared, the wisdom to be gleaned and finally the beginning of the development of an action plan for the reduction
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of gun violence. and action plan to transform the history of this community, state and nation. a history where preferably we will never again have to experience the horrific acts of violence i have occurred since june 17, 2015, in the basement of the church where you're now seated. preferably we will not have to revisit the events that occurred since june 17, in a movie theater and a lafayette, louisiana, or a military workroom and center chattanooga, tennessee. at a worksite for local television anchor persons in virginia, or to college campus and organ, at a planned parenthood center in colorado and finally had a disability center complex in san bernardino, california. guess, since june 17, 2015. please notify her any member can be of assistance today, please find us and we will be glad to do what we need to to provide for your needs. no that we want your visit or to
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be a wonderful one and a please consider mother emanuel not only our home, but your home for this day and best wishes for a wonderful day. thank you. [applause]. >> good morning. good, i'm glad you got warmed up from doctor nelson. thank you. thank you, doctor nelson mother emanuel for allowing us to be here this morning. it is a privilege to be here with so many thoughtful people and with all of you to discuss a critical issue affecting the health and welfare of our country. i am humbled to be here at this church, the side of bravery and grace in the face of terror and evil. guns have become such a divisive issue in america. gun ownership has been debated, lobbied on an politicizes the.
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are not here to debate those issues. the american bar association has concentrated on how numerous effective measures to reduce gun violence could be enacted and enforced without in any way infringing on anyone's second amendment rights. gun violence has truly become academic in america as you have just heard doctor nelson repeat what has occurred since april. more than 33000 people in our country die from firearms. more than 21000 of them take their own lives with guns and more than 11 thousands are murdered by guns and there are more than 500 accidental deaths caused by firearms. in addition, more than 80000 americans suffer nonfatal gun injuries every year. children and young people in particular are prone to gun violence. in 2013, he blended age of 25 accounted for 36% of all firearm
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deaths and injuries. this is clearly an issue affecting the public health of our nation. the people of charleston, know it all too well. no one here or anywhere in our country should accept these statistics as business as usual or feel there is nothing that can be done to effectuate change. for nearly 50 years the american bar association has acknowledged the devastation caused by gun violence and expressed strong support for meaningful reform to our nation's gone a lot. since 1965, delegates have considered and approved nearly 20 separate resolutions aimed at reducing firearm related deaths and injuries, which have included a variety of policy regulations. in 2014, the apa podiatry gun violence programs from a help-- public health perspective. we can and gun violence as a
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public health problem and addressing solutions. the aba is also involved in school related programs which includes pure meat-- mediation. this program today is another step in ongoing cooperation between medical professional organizations, public health association and the legal profession to focus on the told that gun violence possesses in our community and its health related issues and to discuss what it is that we can do about it. we don't want to leave here today without viable solutions as to how we can curb this trend in gun violence. we know that our role as a nation preeminent legal organization, we seek to educate its members as well as the public at large about the true meaning of the second amendment. earlier this year the american bar association joined with the american college of physicians and seven other health professional organizations to issue a series of recommendations and a paper
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firearm related injury and death in the united states, a call to action from eight health professional organizations and the american bar association. it has been published in the journal of internal medicine. the aba has confirmed its constitutionally sound and does not interfere with the second amendment in any way. the paper stress a number of points and how related violence is a major public health problem. we called for more robust grindle background checks for all firearm purposes. purchases, i'm sorry. as we look to commonsense approaches, for civilian use manufacture and sale of large capacity magazines firearms, which features are designed to increase their rapid and extended killing capacity, we need to look for solutions and make decisions they savon the
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best possible evidence. the american bar association believes that the recommendations set forth in this paper provide a path forward to help gun violence in america. more than 30 healthcare and consumer organizations have endorsed the recommendation so far and we are obviously looking more in that regard. it is-- we hope that at the end of the day, that we can all walk away knowing that each of us has contributed something significant to help to reduce the incredible extraordinary gun violence in this country like no other place in the world. now, it's my pleasure to introduce david clark, chair of the american bar association standing committee on violence who has been recognized as the national leader in civil justice
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reform. as chair of this important commission, david has helped lawyers in the public understand the controlling law including the law under the second amendment. he has helped establish coalitions for the purpose of educating the nations communities about sensible policy and the sale, ownership and possession of firearms. please welcome david clark. [applause]. >> good morning. i'm david clark and i live and practice in jackson, mississippi , so i talk like a lot of you and we will have some other similarities as we will talk about mississippi and south carolina. first, a couple of things. i want to give some special recognition for helping organize this program, pull this thing off, get it done to dean tricia, dean of the honors college here
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and just in pole the operations manager of the school of education, health and human performance. they have done extraordinary work in planing and assuring that this program occurred as planned. the dean and justin, i would really like to give a special thanks to dean, tricia and justin if we could for their work. [applause]. >> one other thing, there will be after this program today, there will be a service in this sanctuary starting at 6:00 p.m. i think it will be a healing and memorable experience and everyone is certainly invited. let me give you first a brief overview of today's program.
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you have a lot in store for you. we start with doctor daniel webster of john hoskins school of public health, probably the top public health researcher and writer on gun violence in the world and we are fortunate to have him here today. this program revolves around taking a public health approach to curbing the plague of gun violence in this country and it is so appropriate to start with doctor webster. among other things, he is professor of health policy of management at the johns hopkins bloomberg school of public health and is the director of the johns hopkins center for gun policy and research. professor ron sullivan of harvard law school is the next speaker. although, as i will mention professor sullivan's flights got mixed up, connections and things
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like that. he will be here if the possible after lunch and we will probably be shifting some of the panel and the speakers up a bit. we will get to him, but professor sullivan is that leading theorist in areas of criminal law, criminal procedure, trial practice, trial techniques, levo-- legal ethics and race theory and is the faculty director of the harvard justice institute and the harvard trial advocacy workshop. without meaning to slight anyone , but running out of time, i encourage you to look at everyone, everyone's bios on the website and i will add just a brief mention to some of the-- certainly not all of the local and regional authorities in public health and medicine. you will also hear from the president of the american college of physicians, president
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of the american academy of family physicians that i might mention these groups in particular are helping lead that effort, the renewed effort of the medical community in seeking to curb gun violence and try to get some and have something done about that and i speak to those two organizations in particular and we are fortunate to have their presence here on the program. we have the legal director of the law center to prevent gun violence, the coordinating attorney for lawyers for safer america at the brady center to prevent gun violence, the general counsel of the coalition of stockton violence, the founding chair of the department of public health sciences at the medical university of south carolina, the executive director of heeding god's call, faith based and grassroots movement to prevent gun violence and other notables. lets me now, if i may, pose some questions to help us think.
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these are some questions that we may have had coming in, questions that we will-- that will arise through the program and a question we can hope we can answer a lot of. in this program and also the vast body of research there is a huge amount of research out there in a large part due to doctor webster and his team at johns hopkins and others, but there is so much evidence -based research and study that has been done on gun violence and ways that are being used to help curb gun violence at different places. the effectiveness of those measures, samples of some of those are on the website if you go to the event website for this program under resources, you will see a number of those articles. to start off to put a framework
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before the questions, we know gun injury and death in the united states is far higher than anywhere else in the developed world, by far. over 30,000 gun deaths each year , over 60000 injuries. think about that. some of those debilitating, horrible injuries. 30,000 plus 60000, that's about 90 a day, 90 every day. we think of mass shootings, we don't think about the 90 a day death from guns in the united states. more people have died in the us just in the last four years than the american-- than the number of american soldiers that died in korea, vietnam, afghanistan and iraq combined.
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think about that, korea, vietnam , afghanistan, iraq combined. for years of the last four years, take the four years before that-- it is stunning. questions, why does this happen? does it have to happen? why do the murders occur in this church almost six months ago? why colorado, minnesota, san bernardino and others in the last week? and then to say nothing of sandy hook. twenty-two children plus teachers at sandy hook, but about that number of children die every day in in this country from gun violence. why are south carolina's gun violence rates like my own state of mississippi's so much higher than most other states? there will be some handouts, i
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think they are being copied and it will be at the back of the room later this morning. just indicating, something we don't think about, a state like mississippi or south carolina how high the death toll is from gun violence. we can't stop all the gun deaths we know that. but, if there are things we can do to stop many of them, should it we try? don't we have to try if there is something we can do? 20%, cut out 40%, 50%, that's 15000 lives a year just without reduction. what about public health research on the subject? what does existing research into gun violence, its causes and effects tell us? does such research .2 factors including laws that influence the levels of gun violence in different states? what does the research show
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happens to levels of gun violence including gun violence by criminals when gun safety laws are passed? does the research show that laws designed to keep guns out of the hands of high risk people make a difference? do lossmaking difference? even criminals respond to gun safety laws and if that is what all of the research says and concludes, why do some people keep saying laws can't help? do more guns mean less violence? we have heard that from psalm. what does the verifiable real research say? is there any legitimate real research, any evidence that shows having guns everywhere reduces gun violence? if there is no such evidence, what should we do when we are faced with that m
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guns in the home, does keeping a gun in your home really protect you, really make your family safer? would it make a difference to you if all of the research and legitimate studies on the question reaches the same conclusion rex what if we encourage or require people with guns in the home to store the guns securely where children or other vulnerable family members could not accidentally or impulsively use them? smart guns, what is the feasibility of smart guns? you may have heard something about this. because that can only be fired by a certain person, by certain fingerprint, a certain palm print, so only by that person. if a smart guns are not only feasible, but could be made available, why are they not available for purchase? who could be opposing the sale of such smart guns?
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the second amendment, the second amendment is something as paulette said that we feel sort of a special obligation, i think, in the aba to speak out about because there are so many that are saying things that are so untrue about the scope of the second amendment. second amendment is what our course, our supreme court fate is. the second amendment is not what someone on their own contrary to the courts say this is what i think is my second amendment rights and you're stepping on them. are there legitimate concerns that gun safety laws violate second amendment rights? what if the courts especially the supreme court said, what do we do when the courts have said almost all measures to control gun violence or constitutional, get a vocal group continues to say every restriction related to
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guns at violates my second member right? what does it mean when certain groups still mount challenge after challenge to any regulation of gun sales or possession even though about 95% of those challenges have been rejected by the courts? do most laws designed to keep guns out of the hands of high risk people, even have anything to do with the second member? much less violate someone's rights. public opinion and polls. what is it mean if substantial majorities of the public in poll after poll say they support universal background checks and other reasonable measures to keep guns out of high risk hands, the wrong hands, but legislatures and congress won't take up the issue. what if substantial majorities of gun owners themselves-- what
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if they say the same thing? what if those numbers come in and there will be very recent polls, some of the results put out in the back later. why can we not do anything if the substantial majority of every one of gun owners, republican gun owners say they want to do something about it. the most frequent issue, let me mention this because you probably know this because it's been talked about a lot and we hear about background checks. lets me put this in context. background checks are required for purchases for federally licensed gun dealers. those are by research including some recent research about 60% of gun sales, initial gun sales. those have background checks. that doesn't mean someone will catch a forged id.
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it happens all the time. what about that other 40%? that means someone can buy a gun at a federally licensed gun shop or by 10 guns, walk right around the corner, sell it to someone else, no questions asked, no id, no background check. why is it and why is it that neither-- one of the things that has been asked and you will hear about this is called universal background checks and that just means expanding the background check from the federally licensed dealer to all gun sales, gun shows, private gun sales. why is it that neither federal law nor south carolina law nor mississippi law prohibits the person who is on the terrorist watch list from buying a gun? who could possibly challenge that? but, it's being challenged. you know the usual suspects.
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why is it that the same politicians who demand tougher background checks for all syrian refugees also oppose any background checks or someone buying a gun rex? the rates and guns, who suffers the most from gun violence, what group in our society knows from firsthand experience why keeping guns out of the wrong hands and the hands of high risk people is so important? ..
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>> such as the centers for disease control into the causes and possible remedies for gun violence? we know that certain groups oppose any funding for any research into gun deaths and violence such as research by the cdc. what is the resistance to research? to knowing more about the problem? what is that, what's the logic there? ask them. ask your congressmen. why is the gun industry, through its influence on congress, so posed to the cdc's being allowed to study the causes and effects
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of gun violence, even when it is more deadly, gun violence is more deadly than other types of injuries the cdc does study? does this all have to continue? are we doing anything? there was a op-ed by nicholas christophe in "the new york times" yesterday that says we're not even really trying. we're not pushing hard enough. what can we do? can't prevent all gun deaths, we know that. what can we do to bring down the risk, bring down the numbers? for the invocation today before the program begins, we're fortunate to have rabbi stephanie alexander of kk bethel ahemohere in charleston, a
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congregation founded in 1849. this is one of the oldest jewish congregations in the united states, and it is acknowledged and recognized to be the birth place of reformed judaism in the united states. rabbi? [applause] >> good morning. friends, let us pray. o source of wisdom, resolve and power, as we gather today a diverse and determined cross-section of this great city, we dedicate ourselves to the primary task you have set before us all not just today, but every day; to safeguard the health and well being of our community. body and soul. as we learn and reflect, strategize and deliberate today,
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grant us the wisdom to see with focus and clarity how the proliferation of gun violence threatens every part of our well being. confirm our resolve to reject the discuss quo that steals blameless life and terrorizes innocent souls. solidify our power to shape a new reality, one where fear yields to hope, acquiescence becomes courage, violence gives way to peace. a modern day isaiah might tell us to beat our handguns into plowshares, our rifles into pruning hooks. but today let us aspire even higher as the israeli poet has written, don't stop after
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beating your weapons into plowshares. don't stop. go on beating and make musical instruments out of them. whoever wants to take life again will have to turn them boo plowshare -- into plowshares first. friends, let us pray, but not too long. more crucially, let us act. and if you're so inclined, i invite you to say, amen. >> amen. [inaudible conversations] >> good morning. my name is daniel webster.
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i'm a professor at johns hopkins and direct the center for gun policy and research there. it is a great honor to be with you today, to be in this sacred place and to talk about solutions to gun violence. i have a tall task. i have to, within about a half an hour, encapsulate how you apply public health to a problem like gun violence. i actually do this in a nine-week course. [laughter] so if you miss anything here, you can sign up for my class, it starts? january. -- it starts in january. i would love to have you participate. i can't really see my, if my slides are up. okay.
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so i'm going to start mentioning just some basic information about the public health impact of gun violence in america but not really dwell on that. i'll show you a lot of numbers, but each one represents a life. and we can't lose sight of that. there are far too many. as was indicated, we have more than 33,000 a year in the united states who die by gunfire. what most people don't realize, that almost two-thirds of those are by suicide which is a very preventable type of death. we have over 11,000 homicides
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with guns per year. when you look at nonfatal injuries to gun violence, you see very few that are self-inflicted. why is that? because the vast majority of time that someone is so desperate to attempt to take their lives, when they have ready is access to a firearm, they succeed. but the vast majority of nonfatal injuries from firearm violence in the united states are from acts of violence against one another, criminal acts of violence. but to get some perspective on what this actually means on the public health of a population, you can begin to get a peel for this when you look at the leading causes -- a feel for this when you look at the leading causes of death for males. i should say right out of the gate that gun violence in
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america is very much a male phenomenon. it's very much a male phenomenon. we could spend a whole day just talking about that. but for young males ages 15-24, it's the leading cause of death, and for the age group just above that, young adult males, it's the second leading cause of death. we in public health know that there's really great disparities in life expectancy across-racial lines for a vast number of reasons, racism being one. the second leading cause of that disparity for men is firearm homicide. so it has an enormous impact on health of populations, particularly male populations. of course, females are very impacted not only as victims,
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but as survivors of, who have lost loved ones. i'm going to now talk about public health. what does public health bring to this problem? when i started as a doctoral student in the public health at johns hopkins in the late 1980s, it was at a time where gun homicide particularly involving youth was really skyrocketing. it was going up at a rate we'd never seen before. and public health rose to the challenge then. and quite honestly, while i think there were a lot of good ideas and perspectives that public health brought at that time, i think we were kind of feeling our way around. what does it really mean to approach this as a public health problem. i think we've come a long way since then, but i still think we're struggling. some individuals, some colleagues want to talk about
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the public health approach more in terms of what it is nots which is, it is not a law enforcement or criminal justice type of approach. it is one that is rooted in prevention, in changing conditions in communities, in families. but i, for one, feel quite strongly that law enforcement, the right type of law enforcement is very consistent with public health approaches and with the right type of law enforcement we've had very substantial gains in a number of important public health crises including drunk driving. sorry. i'm a little bit at a handicap, because i'm not able to see my slides. but let me mention some key
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models, in essence, of how to think about this problem that come from public health. i think we start from our long tradition of studiering risk -- studying risk. epidemiological approaches to understand how risk changes and is different across different demographic groups, different differences in space and time and how they are connected to one another, how your risk is quite connected to the individuals who you closely associate with. thank you. [laughter] another important perspective that public health has brought to this is a focus on what people on injury control which is kind of where i grew up into public health refer to as the agent, the agent of injury.
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and here, of course, we're talking about guns. what can we do to make guns less lethal, make them less available in high risk context. a very productive way to look at in this problem that has been adopted by criminologists as well as in this public health is to recognize how gun violence in particular acts like a social contagion. it quite commonly looks very much like an infectious disease. it populates among close social networks, it will escalate just like an epidemic of an outbreak of an infectious disease very commonly. and at the appropriate time with appropriate interventions, also reduces at sometimes a
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similarly-rapid manner. which really not only gives us insights into how we might prevent gun violence, but also gives us hope about that downward slope. finally, as i mentioned before, we have a long tradition in public health of applying laws to protect health and safety, to create safer environments. and i think that is clearly needed to, if we're going to have a large impact many gun violence in the united states. and we're also going to have to be able to change social norms with the right type of persuasive measures. and, again, we've had great success in a number of different domains in public health. we immediate to try to apply -- we need to try to apply those to the problem of gun violence. i'm now going to just sort of walk you through some examples,
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but first, just sort of lay out how i envision what was, what, i think, was mentioned earlier. how do we visualize a different reality of what we are -- where we are now with gun violence. for me, it's not actually that hard. and i think that we've actually been conditioned to believe that gun violence is not solvable in america. we see on such a regular basis horrific acts of gun violence. it's not hard to find it every single day. but we cannot see, we cannot see when effective policies and programs are put in place and people are saved, that act of gun violence was prevented. that does not show up in our news. so we have to apply the right kind of research to try to examine whether we can see reductions when we apply some of
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the principles that i just talked about. when it comes to gun policy, i believe we are going to make the biggest gains in reducing gun violence by applying two key -- attending to two key ideas and, really, values. one is, has to do with our standards for legal gun ownership. this is something we're going to delve into much more in depth in the panel following my discussion. but currently, i believe there's good evidence that our standards for legal gun ownership are too low. secondly, the idea and value of accountability. are gun laws, by and large, at the federal level and in many states -- including south carolina -- are written by people with interest in reducing accountability. reducing accountability. background checks is the most
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glaring example of that. it's not the only example. so i'm going to talk about how do we address accountability more to reduce access in high risk context? the other way we're going to do this is to address, change social norms particularly in high risk groups and contexts. and then finally, very focused, focused law enforcement that is geared towards deterrence which is this public health terms prevention. let's start with thinking about the standards for legal gun ownership. we published a study in 2012 where we looked at a large database of surveys of state, of inmates at state prisons. ask we looked at the 13 states -- and we looked at the 13 states with the weakest standards for legal gun
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ownership to determine the individuals who were incarcerated for committing violent acts with firearm, were they prohibited at the time, legally prohibited from possessing a gun at the time they carried out that act. what we found, i think, might be surprising to some, which was 40% of those individuals were legally prohibited. the most important part of this very simple pie chart that looks at who was prohibited, who was not and wouldn't have been in any state in the united states which is the yellow slice there, 31%, but 29% of those offenders would have been legally prohibited in a state with higher standards. if you think about the capacity more background checks -- for background checks as an example as a way to reduce gun violence, think about how much greater impact you can have looking at
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this simple pie chart when you combine the black slice of the pie to the red slice of the pie. underlying this is a really important thing that we can't lose sight of just in the epidemiology of homicide. what you're looking at now -- and, i'm sorry, you're not going to be able to see the numbers on the bottom axis there. that's the age of tenners. these -- offenders. these are age-specific homicide rates. what you see is an incredibly rapid rise that peaks during the ages of 18-20 and remains, it declines after that quite substantially, particularly after 30. the risks become reasonably low. so much of that slice of the pie, that red slice of the pie actually had to do with
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individuals who were in this 18-20 range and could legally possess firearms in some states and not in others. and in others, another part of that, were individuals who were prohibited temporarily because they had committed serious acts of violence as juveniles. this is a concept we'll come back to in the panel. when states have expanded their prohibiting conditions for having firearms to address broader areas of risk, we've commonly seen reductions in violence as a result. when states prohibited individuals there having firearms when they had a restraining order for domestic violence, studies we've published have shown significant reductions in partner homicides of between 8-19%. when california expanded its
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firearm prohibitions to individuals convicted of certain violent misdemeanors beyond domestic violence, they saw a 29% reduction in violent offending by the affected group. in a study published in a book that we put out in 2013, jeff swanson and his colleagues at duke found that when the state of connecticut expanded their, put the records in the system so that individuals who were prohibited because of serious mental illness, that the affected group, their rates of violence were cut in half. and then finally, another study found that when you compare over time and across states as states started to expand the type of conditions for which they were screening and prohibiting people, you saw greater reductions in gun homicides.
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so accountability measures, how in the world do we keep guns from people who shouldn't have them at least temporarily. that is the real conundrum here. i want to talk about, first, a are important conduit. how do guns get to criminals. well, 99.9% of guns that are used in crimes start out from an initial sale by a licensed gun dealer. and what we know is that the common place of diversion quite often is right at that nexus, right at that initial retail sale. there are a very small prosecutor, very small percent of gun dealers that account for the large majority of guns used in crimes. so the vast majority of licensed gun dealers seem to be completely law-abiding and careful individuals, and it is relatively rare that they sell a
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gun that is used in crime. that is not the case for roughly 5% or less that account for the lion's share of guns used in crime. we've published now two studies that looked at undercover stings of problematic gun dealers when they made blatantly illegal sales. they were sued, many some cases -- in some cases criminal charges were brought. and what we found in chicago, a reduction in the diversion of guns to criminals from in-state dealers of 62%. a very similar approach in detroit yielded a 36% reduction in diversion of guns to criminals right after retail sale, shortly afterwards. and then new york city where we had slightly more specific records. we were able to look specifically at the dealers who were targeted with the lawsuits. and in the new york city case, new york was not asking for a dime.
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what they asked for was to change the way you go about selling firearms. they had a code of business conduct. 82% reduction in the probability that guns sold by these dealers later ended up in crime in new york city. 82%. accountability. another example, many may have seen in the news a gun shop outside of milwaukee recently in the news with a lawsuit relevant to an illegal straw purchase that led to permanent disabling of two police officers. that gun shop had a long history that i've actually been involved in researching. back in the late 1990s the atf published research showing that no gun dealer in the entire nation sold more guns that were later recovered in crime than
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badger, right outside of milwaukee. simply acknowledging that, simply announcing that publicly led those gun dealers to change the way they sell their firearms. and i'll show you that graphically in just a moment. subsequently, congress came once again to the defense of problematic gun dealers and passed a set of amendments that did a variety of things to shield gun dealers from anybody knowing what in the heck they were doing and how many guns that they sold that were later used in crime. and i'll show you what happened from that. they eventually lost their license in 2006, but that was then handed over to a family member that, again, led to them getting sued. this'll be hard to to see for some in the back, but what we're tracking here is diversions of
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guns to criminals right after a retail sale. and the solid line is for badger guns and ammo, and the first vertical line is where the announcement that they sold the most guns used in crime. and we documented a 77% reduction in guns going from badger into the hands of criminals following simply acknowledging that and the gun dealers voluntarily making steps to improve their business practices. but when they were given protection along with many other bad apple gun dealers in 2003, we documented that there was a 200% increase in the flow of guns coming from badger into the hands of criminals after congress gave badger and other gun dealers that protection and lack of accountability. two the other case studies i'll tell you about that are very important for public policy.
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two changes in state laws that mirrored one another in which affected background check requirements, universal background checks as david clarke explained so nicely, but also a permitting process where you had to go to local law enforcement to get your permit to purchase handguns. missouri had such a law for many decades until it decided in 2007 to repeal that law. so rather than either go to a gun shop, you could -- excuse me, rather than go to the local law enforcement first, you went into the gun dealer, or you found somebody online or some other way where there was no background check. what we documented, i don't have time to go through each of these bars, but this tracks the proportion of guns that ended up being used in crime are shortly after retail sale.
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and they correlate perfectly, perfectly to when this law changed. you saw a twofold increase if in these diversions -- in these diversions shortly after a retail sale, a diversion of a gun to a criminal. similarly, what we tracked here is the percent of guns used by criminals that originated within the state of missouri, the red line, versus the yellow line of guns that originated from other states. this correlates, again perfectly, for when they changed their law so that guns became far more readily accessible to criminals within, within missouri. this graph shows you the difference in missouri's gun homicide rates minus the rest of the united states, and what you can see here again is a very abrupt change that coincides
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perfectly with the change many them getting -- in them getting rid of their background checks and permit to purchase system for handguns. roughly -- the difference is about a threefold difference from what it was during the years just before versus after. and what we've concluded from our analyses is that if you just look at the three years of data, you see a 25% increase in gun homicides associated with this law. when we, very recently within the past month, extended it out to 2013, we find an 18% increase that is very highly statistically significant, and we ruled out a very long list of alternative explanations for this increase. we've also documented a 16% and statistically significant increase in suicides by guns. the mirror image of this experience occurred in connecticut back in 1995,
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october of 1995. they adopted comprehensive background check requirements, universal background check requirements for handguns and a permit to purchasing licensing system. in a study we published earlier this year, we found -- we estimated a 40% reduction in homicide rates for, in which a firearm was used. no change in homicides by other means. and in a separate study also published this year, we documented a 15% decrease in suicides with guns associated with that law change in connecticut. briefly, i want to talk about a very important public health model now goes under the brand name of curve violence started by an end epidemiologist at the university of chicago with a
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stellar background in infectious disease before he took on gun violence. what this program looks like is, it identifies the most high risk places and the high risk, highest risk individuals for being involved either as a victim or a perpetrator of gun violence. they do outreach to those individuals with individuals that they refer to as credible messengers. these are individuals who typically are from those same communities and previously had some involvement in gangs or crime but have turned their lives around. one of the key things they do is they serve as role models for how you deal with conflict without using a gun, and they help to mediate disputes whether between individuals or groups, gangs, crews, whatever you want to call them so that they can be resolved without loss of life.
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i've studied -- pardon me. i've studied this program in baltimore. we've seen great successing -- successing with that. not in every single site, but in most sites we've seen reductions in either homicides or nonfatal shootings or both. i'm just completing some analyses, looking other a dozen years -- over a dozen years in baltimore, a variety of interventions applied there, mostly law enforcement along with the curve violence model. the only thing that i'm currently seeing that has consistently or significantly reduced gun violence is this public health approach from gun violence, from curve violence, excuse me. i referred to this idea of focused deterrence. comes from a criminologies, david kennedy -- criminologist, david kennedy, who has had an enormous impact on how we approach and try to prevent urban gun violence through,
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again, a very similar process of first identifying of where the risk lies. quite often it is connected to networks of individuals, and they do call-ins to confront those individuals to say we know who you are, if you don't stop it, you will go to jail, but we would rather not put you in jail. what we would like you to do is simply stop shooting each other. what's important with this model is that it is not only a message coming from law enforcement, it is a message coming from community, moral voices of the community, from individuals that these guys -- they're almost all guys -- respect. also i should say that these vims are also -- these individuals are also offered a variety of services and assistance to change their lifestyle so that they're not at risk for being involved in gun violence. and in recent iterations of this
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model, there's also much more attention paid to legitimacy of police so it's done in a fair manner, applied in a fair manner. no other intervention has consistently reduced gun violence as much as this model. so in seven of eight studies reviewed, a fairly large effect in reducing gun violence. when the model is applied to try to curb just the selling of illegal drugs, the effects have been much less, although there was some success in high point, north carolina, with such a model. i am going to conclude it there, because i want to make sure at least i have a few minutes for some questions or comments. do we have any?
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what? i got longer? okay. i'm doing good. so just to summarize very briefly again, the most important thing, most important takeaway is there are things that work, okay? gun violence, our levels of gun violence are not, is not something that we don't know how to address. we do know how to address these. these are very cost effective approaches. gun violence has an enormously high cost to our society aside from the loss of lives. our biggest public health and societal impact is what has been referred to before, it's terror, it's fear. we alter our lives. when we apply these measures, whether they are policies to keep guns from dangerous people or other measures as behavioral
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measures through public health or complementary measures with focused deterrence, we see significant reductions in gun violence. these are all approaches that have high acceptability to the public. we need to act. >> more now about gun violence and public health with a discussion focusing on high risk people and their access to guns. this symposium, held earlier this month, marks the six month anniversary of the mass shooting at the emanuel ame church in charleston, south carolina. >> good morning. my name is kelly ward. i am the general counsel of the educational fund to stop gun violence, a nonprofit based in washington, d.c., devoted to reducing gun violence in america. i am to hopeful looking out at this crowd to see so many people, and it's because this community is your home.
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and when myself and my fellow panelists leave later today, you will all be here. so it's your job in the audience to be the conversation starters and the demanders of change. and i think that you will all be doing that very well. so thank you for being here today and for being concerned about your community. we're going to kick off our panel here today with daniel webster, whom you've already met. next you'll be hearing from dr. liza gold, clinical and forensic psychiatrist at georgetown university's school of medicine and the editor and contributing writer to a recently-published book called "gun violence and mental illness." next you'll be hearing from bill nettles who's the u.s. attorney for the district of south carolina. and finally, you'll be hearing from me again to talk about some removal practices. if you have any questions, we will be taking questions at the end of the panel.
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this will be notecards for you in the audience so, please, write down any questions that you have. there will be student volunteers walking throughout the church collecting those, so we'll be reading them and answering all of your questions at the end of this panel today. so without further ado, i will turn it over to dr. daniel webster. >> thank you, kelly. in i believe it was march of 2013 following the tragedy at sandy hook elementary school, some colleagues got together -- well, first of all, i should say i was approached by josh horowitz who runs the educational fund to stop gun violence who also is a faculty
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member at johns hopkins who teaches health advocacy. and he proposed that we convene a group of individuals around the question about mental illness and gun violence and what can be done. i confess i was very skeptical. i said haven't we tried this before and failed miserably? he said, yes, but i have hope, there's new ways to look at this, and is we didment we put a lot of stakeholders around, clinicians, researchers, people with expertise in gun violence and policy and legal an decision. and we did spend roughly two days together and came up with something that i think has been incredibly productive, that has really helped us reframe and repurpose how we think about
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this problem. and i'm going to talk about sort of one component of that. dr. gold is going to cover in a far many in-depth way the mental illness and gun violence questions. but what this group that i thought couldn't agree on anything actually was almost unanimous in their agreement is that we are going to save more lives and have a bigger impact on reducing gun violence not by focusing on someone's diagnosis, but focusing on their behavior. what are they doing, are they doing violent, dangerous things, and if they are, how could our policies make guns less accessible to such individuals at least under, in the time frame and the particular points
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when that is most important. risk is not static. risk changes enormously over time, as my age curve showed you. so what came there be that is a set of reports with recommendations, and and i'm going to talk to you about now that come under that first category that i was talking about, what should our standards be for legal gun ownership. and we came up with reports both for federal changes. i'm going to talk about -- there's a lot of commonality of what needs to happen at the federal level as well as in many states. so i'm going to focus on the state recommendations from the state report and just talk a little bit about that. and we can, we can talk more when we get to the end of this. but, so first of all we did address something that we felt was quite important as it relates to mental illness
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disqualifiers. been enormous change between when policies went into place that focused on people being assessed for their mental condition and dangerousness and then commonly put into an in-patient hospital situation. we now live in an age where that is far less common, and the same sort of behaviors and risk occur, and is you -- there's involuntary treatment for outpatient treatment. so one of our recommendations was that we enact new legislation temporarily prohibiting individuals from purchasing, possessing firearms after short-term involuntary hospitalization and that the prohibition be predicated on a clinical finding of danger to self or danger to others. there are some other kind of
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involuntary commitments that actually have nothing to do with dangerousness. and, therefore, are too broad in there. so basically we're saying we need to focus again on the risk. secondly, that there should be a process -- a restoration of someone's ability to purchase or possess a firearm following a firearm disqualification for mental illness should be based on evaluation of a qualified clinician finding that the petitioner is unlikely to relapse or prevent a danger to self or others. the other set of recommendations that we focused on did not have anything directly related to mental illness, but are more directly related to these risks. and, again, they address some of that red slice of my pie chart i saw before -- i showed you before where there are individuals doing risky things,
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dangerous and violent things but who are not prohibited in many states. so first of all, we recommended that quiks for violent -- convictions for violent misdemeanors should disqualify from firearm ownership, at least temporarily. the domestic violence restraining order prohibitions for guns should be also relevant when there's a temporary order. that is actually when the risk is greatest. in most states and at the federal level, the firearm prohibitions only apply when there is a final order, not in that temporary stage. and all the research that we've done and others have done has shown that it's really during that temporary order where the risk is greatest of someone being killed. so access to firearms is very important. and we found, for example, in that context of domestic violence that risk of lethal outcomes increases fivefold when
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the abuser has access to a firearm. we also recommended that anyone with two or more alcohol-related convictions, drunk driving, for example, should again temporarily disqualify someone from having a firearm for at least five years. and similarly, if someone's convicted of two or more misdemeanor crimes involving controlled substances. i think that last one is probably the most vexing, difficult one that we're still wrestling with. there is a very broad range of people convicted for misdemeanor crimes involving drugs. many of them are not violent at all and pose not much risk. some, frankly, quite the opposite. i know in the city of baltimore that it's very difficult to get convictions on violent crimes because witnesses won't testify. but commonly, police find a way
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to put them behind bars often through drug violations. so there's a span of risk there in this category that we're still wrestling with ourselves. the final area of recommendations that the consortium for risk-based policy put out was something that we in shorthand terms called gun violence restraining orders. this would authorize law enforcement to remove guns if an individual poses an immediate threat to themself or others. police are well versed in this use of force continuum and may apply some sort of risk or lethality assessment to judge these particular situations. and they can do so without a warrant. but importantly, we suggest that a new civil restraining order
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process created to allow private citizens when they see something going on with someone that clearly appears to head toward danger whether it's a mass shooting, a suicide or other act of violence, that they be able to petition the court just like someone for domestic violence could to temporarily remove firearms from the individual under question. again, very similar processes include a temporary order as well as a long-term order after there's been a hearing for that. california now is the first state to adopt a gun violence restraining order, and other states are considering this as well. those are, those are the main things i wanted to cover. i think that there are also certainly other potential types
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of of fences that we could of offenses that we could talk about that identify individuals at high risk that we haven't gone into. juvenile offenses, for example, can be real examples. so that's what i was going to cover. i'm going to have dr. gold come up and talk about the mental illness and gun connections and where there are not connections. >> thank you, daniel, and i want to thank the organizers and backers of this meeting. i'm really humbled and honored to be representing the american
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psychiatric association here today and to be invited to speak in this venue and share some of what, from a mental health perspective, are some of the issues around gun violence and mental illness. i'll start off by saying that one of the last questions or speakers at daniel's presentation talked about myths relating to gun violence. and one of the biggest myths that's propagated primarily by a combination of politicians and media coverage -- some of it intentionally, some of it not intentionally -- is that there is a very robust connection between mental illness and gun violence. and when they say gun violence, what they're talking about are the tragic kinds of mass shootings such as the one that happened here and those that are happening with increasing frequency around the united states.
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the reality is, and the numbers are very clear on this, if you look at people who die every year by gun violence as daniel's chart demonstrated, the largest number of those individuals -- about two-thirds -- are suicide, completed firearm suicide. and -- i'm sorry, completed suicides of which firearms are more than 50% of the means used for suicide. many of those people, in fact, the great majority of those people, anywhere as many as 90% of those people, do have a psychiatric diagnosis, and, you know, we know that suicide is a preventable problem. but that's not the problem that's being discussed when people say gun violence and mental illness. you rarely hear anyone say that it's suicide. what you're hearing about is homicide and particularly mass shootings. if you look at the homicide statistics, firearm homicides,
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almost none are related to mental illness, individuals with mental illness. and if you -- and the mass shootings, believe it or not, and i often get a lot of pushback on this, you know, clearly some of the individuals who have perpetrated mass shootings do have active mental, serious mental illness, but many of them do not. and statistically, mass shootings, you know, if they happen to you, it's 100%, right? so statistics don't help when people are grieving or have suffered a loss or an injury related to a mass shooting. overall, however, statistics demonstrate that less than 1% a year of homicides, firearm homicides, are committed in mass shootings. and statistically, these shootings are so rare that it's not possible to generalize because there's such a low number of them regarding mental illness. clearly, there are some individuals who do have active mental illness at the time of
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these shootings, but clearly there are some who do not. and by focusing on the mental illness piece, it becomes -- it's both politically and socially expedient. politically in the sense that it allows our elected officials not to talk about firearms and firearm regulation and to ignore the iceberg, you know, the tip -- to focus on the very tip of the iceberg that's sticking out above the water and ignore the 99% of the iceberg that's below the water. so that's the political expedience, because it's very difficult for politicians to -- i don't know if they don't grasp it or if they are intentionally, you know, they get funding from the nra or whatever it is. i'm not an expert on how politicians work. but socially, again, if we're going to talk about firearms and suicide, we talk about -- we have to talk about suicide. and suicide and mental illness are both highly difficult
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subjects for people to talk about. they're socially stigmatizeed in many ways, there's a very negative stereotype. and the way this myth gets perpetrated -- or propagated, i shouldn't say perpetrated, but propagated -- is a mass shooting occurs. it's a heinous, heinous thing. none of us can imagine how someone could, you know, come into a place like this gorgeous, beautiful church and kill a bunch of people who are worshiping. i mean, how can you do that? so that person must be crazy. and that makes sense, because we mow that crazy people are dangerous. so it must be mental illness, and that's what gets reinforced whenever there's a mass shooting. one of the first things that is questioned is the p mental illness history, aha. but what i've noticed or observed is if there isn't a history of mental illness, the focus quickly moves on to some other aspect. so, you know, here -- and it's not that these are not issues
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when they are. for example, the confederate flag or terrorism or even mental illness. there's no question that those are issues that face our society and need to be addressed. but they are only weakly connected in the sense that it's being delivered with mass shootings. certainly, and with gun violence in general in most cases. so one of the things we have to really be consciously aware of is that when we hear people saying, well, you know, in order to do something about gun violence, we have to do something about mental illness, i'm all for more resources for people with mental illness. mental health system in this country is woefully underfunded and fragmented. it's a very difficult thing to access assistance for people who are seriously mentally ill. it's difficult even if you're not seriously mentally ill. the system is so difficult and
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bureaucratic, etc. it's just almost impossible to navigate even under noncrisis situations, and people in crisis are, obviously, not at their highest level of functioning. however, if suddenly we fix the mental health system tomorrow, 90-95% of the violence in this country would still continue. and that includes the gun violence with the exception of suicide, which we know is preventable through various means and one of them is mental health treatment. so i think one of the important messages and as we move, you know, forward and start activating people and taking action is to understand that when mental illness is brought up in the context of mass shootings, whether shooter has serious mental illness or not, overall it's a red herring to avoid talking about some of the interventions that daniel so
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eloquently has discussed and also that for which there is evidence that these things are potentially viable and workable solutions. the analogy for the gun violence restraining order which came out of that meeting that i was fortunate to be at, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals to that kind of thing on a regular basis without a law. and it doesn't just have to be mental health people who do it. if you know someone who's in crisis in your community with or without mental illness, they don't have to have -- there are people in crisis for all kinds of reasons. young people get in crisis at school when they are getting in trouble at school. people are in crisis when, in the context of domestic situations. people have job crises, other alcohol and drug crises. it doesn't have to be mental health crisis. we have to look at people in
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crisis and what happens when they have access to mental illness. that's what the evidence base shows us, that there are high risk times more all of us, any of us could be subject to a high risk moment which changes over time. during those times we need as socially as well as legislatively to have an understanding that people should not have access to firearms at high risk times. how do we do that? the same way we do it in many cases with driving and alcohol. of you know, friends don't let friends drive drunk. friends don't let friends in crisis have their firearms. you don't have to be confrontational. psychiatrists do it all the time. i shouldn't say all the time, but frequently, mental health professionals, you know? people are willing to voluntarily give up their firearms much more often than the controversies that are out in the public make you think. people tend to be very ambivalent about violence and
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suicide. there's part of them that wants to do it and part of them that's holding them back, and then at a certain moment that tips. the problem with guns as opposed to any other lethal method of harm is that it's so lethal and so immediate that there's really no time to change your mind which, by the way, many people do in the act of committing suicide. they will change their mind. people have changed their mind on the way down from the golden gate bridge, you know? they change their mind in the middle of the jump. and we know this because very few people have survived and have told us this. so you don't get many survivors of firearm suicide. it's about 85-90% lethal. the next most common method of suicide doesn't have close to that level of lethality, i believe it's about 30%. overdose, which is a common method, has about 2-3% lethality. so you can see the huge difference in the means used. so mental health treatment one
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way, means restriction is another way. we'll have a tremendous drop in suicide rates. if that's been demonstrated both in the united states, again, there's evidence to that, both in the united states and in other countries that when lethal means are restricted, suicide rates go down. in the united states, what you hear when -- when i talk to people about the this is that, you know, you're coming for our gun cans. these are doctors who under -- guns. these are doctors who under the guise of public health, now they're calling it public health, but it's really just the same old gun control mantra. and my -- i have two responses to that. one is that, you know, when you take your friend's car keys because they're drunk and shouldn't be driving, you're not stealing their car. you're going to give the car keys back when they're no longer intoxicated and drive, right? and not ebb danger themselves or -- endanger themselves or other people. now, for the but people, and most people are pretty good about giving up their keys now
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and not driving, although there's still people who drive drunk. and if you know one of those, if you know someone's driving drunk, you can call the police, and they'll intercept that person, and that's what the gvro is, for people who won't give up their firearms voluntarily. and there are reasons people don't give up their car keys voluntarily. and lack of insight or intense, intent to harm are two of those reasons. and the other that i say to people, we're not, you know, it's not about whether you own a gun or not, it's whether people have access to guns at high risk times. and we can identify those through research, many of them, and we can as socially caring people, as commitments, as families -- as communities, as families intervene with our loved ones the same way we would if they were driving drunk and we were concerned about them harming someone else. so i would say that, you know,
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you don't absolutely need a law. you do for the people who won't voluntarily, but you might be surprised -- i don't know -- about the number of people who will voluntarily in a crisis be willing to be separated temporarily from firearms so that nothing bad happens to them or to the people they care about or their community. the other thing i would say, someone mentioned earlier the theory of learned helplessness. and i would argue that the way we have approached gun violence in this country has reinforced that learned helplessness. there's a, i think it's now only online, it used to be in hard copy -- [laughter] i'm kind of a dinosaur. the onion, which is a satirical magazine or newspaper that ran a story, i believe, after sandy hook, after one of these horrible tragedies such as the one that also happened here that said "nothing can be done."
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we're the only nation in the world where this happens. and i think that that's a useful kind of place to think about it, why we feel to helpless. .. but if you just think about suicide for a moment, which is where i come from, if we could decrease the suicide rate -- suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the uned


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