tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN December 24, 2015 12:00am-2:01am EST
kept most homosexuals invisible even to one another. even civil rights groups turn their backs on gays and lesbians. 1957, the national board of the american civil liberties notn declared it was within their inspired by the civil rights in the women's rights movement, handful of courageous gay men and lesbians began calling openly for the acceptance of homosexuals as equals in society. leader, for example, a j "our gate leader declared first job is to clear our own heads of the garbage that has been poured into them. " it is defining who we are, and it is time for us to come out.
thatis the first time anyone in this manner did that. for those who sought equal rights for gays and lesbians, coming out was a radical and daring act that would affect every aspect of your life. indeed, as late as 1969, only 200 members of the growing gay rights members publicly defied themselves as some sexual's. homosexuals. was allowedesbian to retain custody of her children in a contested divorce for the first time in american history. in 1973, the american psychiatric association declared that homosexuality was not a mental illness. and by the end of the decade, and 22 states, adopting the recommendations, repeal the laws making consensual sodomy a
crime. illinois was a first state in the nation to do this. these developments sparked a sharp backlash, however. the most explosive response rightsrom a proposed gay ordinance in dade county, florida. in 1977, the county commission law prohibiting discrimination. local baptists charged that the law violated the local commandments. and the national association of evangelicals soon entered the fray. pat robertson, and jim and tammy baker came to miami in favor of the repeal. the county voters repealed ordinance by an overwhelming margin. the victory generated momentum for a new religion-based anti-gay movement.
it took on an ugly tone as bumper stickers appeared with such messages as kill a queer for christ. many laws were enacted to her vent determination -- to prevent the determination. the loss promoted child molesting -- the laws promoted child molesting. jerry falwell said that homosexuals do not reproduce, they recruit. and many are after your children. they saw this fight as a religious battle for the christian soul of america. soon thereafter, aids struck the gay community with a vengeance. as the disease became associated in the public mind with homosexuality, the christian right deemed aids god's punishment. the reagan administration, which had actively courted the christian right, had no interest in devoting government time or money to an illness that was
thought to threaten only gay men. over the course of the next decade, aids ravaged the homosexual community. killing more than a quarter of a million gay men and leaving hundreds of thousands more to wonder if they might be next. ironically, though, the horror of aids brought homosexuality into the light. as thousands of gay men died horrible deaths, people had to take notice. often, but not always, with sympathy and concern. gradually, one person at a time, in often awkward and excruciatingly painful , the lives of
homosexuals became visible. first out of necessity, but later out of candor and self-respect. gay invisibility was suddenly melting away. the gay and lesbian march on washington in 1993, hundreds of thousands of individuals wearing pink triangles marched proudly pass the white house. i know, because i was there. pin i wore. confess that i was not in washington in order to participate in the march. rather, i was there for a reunion of justice william brennan's law clerks, one of whom i was at the supreme court. it happened to be on the same day of the march. once there, i did participate in the march. but now, i want to tell you something that i have only publicly revealed once before.
after i got to the supreme court for the reunion, the clerks all gathered in the chambers. and i had a couple of these pink triangle buttons in my pocket. i former wife, nancy, and decided we had to do something in the spirit of the day. and while i kept art, she discreetly and a pink triangle button on one of the red stripes on the large american flag that hangs next to the bench. [laughter] behind which, justices sit when they are hearing cases. the last time i checked, it was still there. [laughter] but do not tell anyone. [laughter] event, to return to my thing, four years after the 1993 march, ellen degeneres, star of the popular show ellen, came out as a lesbian. shortly thereafter, some 42 million viewers tuned in to watch her character reveal that she, too, was a lesbian. but not everyone cheered.
the response of the christian right was fierce. the reverend jerry falwell called her ellen degenerate. the president of the american family association railed that homosexuality was a sin and repulsive to christians. the struggle he declared was a matter of life and death. because we fear the judgment of god on our nation. the battle lines have been clearly drawn. and that brings me back to the supreme court. in its first encounter with homosexuality, the supreme court held that a state could constitutionally make homosexual conduct a criminal offense. and the court explained that given the history of religious and moral condemnation, any suggestion that the constitution could be interpreted as protecting the behavior was at best facetious. the second foray into this
exactlyecided in 1996, a decade after bowers. as i noted earlier, beginning in the late 1970's, several cities like dade county had enacted ordinances prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. as in dade county, however, this generated a sharp response from the christian right, which usually succeeded in getting the laws repealed. in colorado, after denver enacted an antidiscrimination ordinance in 1991, a coalition of christian right organizations launched an aggressive campaign to amend the colorado constitution to override the ordinance. amendment two, which was adopted, provided that neither the state nor any of the subdivisions could legally enact any law that protected homosexuals against discrimination. nine days later, lawyers from
lambda legal and the aclu, which had changed his mind, file suit, claiming that the amendment violated constitution. , it seemed bowers clear the supreme court would reject the challenge and uphold amendment two. decision, they-3 held it unconstitutional. justice anthony kennedy, but been appointed by resident ronald reagan, authored the court opinion. in his view, the problem with the amendment was that it imposed a special disability only upon homosexuals. this was so because under the amendment, every group in colorado was free to try to persuade the council or the state legislature to enact laws protecting them against the termination, except homosexuals. because of amendment two, only homosexuals would have to amend
the state constitution before they could obtain any protection against termination. and with that fact in mind, justice kennedy turned to the equal protection clause from the 14th amendment, which provides that no state shall denying equal protection to a person. under that guarantee, the law would treat some others differently, it ordinarily satisfied with the equal protection clause, as long as there is a rational relationship with some legitimate purpose. and although almost every law passes that highly deferential standard of review, justice kennedy concluded that the amendment did not. this was so, he reasoned, because the law declared that it should be more difficult for one group of citizens there for all others to seek aid from the government, which virtually was unprecedented in american history and therefore impossible to escape the inference, he said, the disadvantaged be
imposed on homosexuals was result not of any rational effort to further a legitimate state interest, but of an animosity and antagonism towards a class of persons who were disadvantaged. and because of their desire to harm a politically unpopular group, cannot itself constitute legitimate interest, he decided the amendment violated the constitution. justice antonin's kelly a, joined by chief justice rehnquist and clarence thomas, gave a different view. scalia maintained it is not a manifestation of a desire to harm homosexuals, but rather a rational and perfectly legitimate attempt by coloradans to preserve traditional sexual mores. he castigated justice kennedy's reasoning, clearly inconsistent with the president and bowers
versus hardwick. the supreme court's third decision involving the rights of homosexuals was pretty much a rerun of bowers. police officers were usually dispatched in response to an unusual disturbance. after they entered, they saw two men engaging in a no sex -- anal sex. they were charged and convicted, making it a crime for any person to engage in deviant sexual intercourse with another person of the same sex. since 1982, bowers versus hardwick has been used by politicians, legislators to justify the termination in deportation proceedings, adoption proceedings, military discharges, employment termination, and a host of other problems. homosexual conduct is criminal, that homosexual is no different than a rapist, robert, or feet. much has changed in the 17 years
since bowers. not only has aids devastated the gay community and change the public's perception, but 60% of americans now thought that homosexual sex should no longer be deemed a criminal offense. in a 6-3 decision, the supreme court overruled bowers and held that the texas statute was unconstitutional. justice kennedy again delivered the opinion of the court. he maintained that the reasoning in bowers versus hardwick had been distorted by the failure of the court to appreciate the extent of the liberty at stake in such deeply personal relationships. although conceding that the framers of the constitution had not especially guaranteed the right to engage in homosexual sex, kennedy explained that the framers had potentially left some constitutional guarantees openhanded. because they knew that later
generations would concede that laws once thought proper would only oppress and be unfair. that kennedy maintained with the situation. there was, he concluded, no constitutionally legitimate justification for making it a crime. nedtice scalia, joint wae once again by clarence thomas, refused that the court had no business that have been legitimately enacted by the citizens of texas. echoing justice scalia, religious conservatives throughout the nation were livid. pat robertson denounced the court for rendering the fabric of the nation. jerry falwell warned it could lead to bestie entity. and a pastor in texas said it would mark the death now. knell.
when it came time for justice kennedy to announce, city not far from where my pin, he read a brief. the supreme court chamber was, of course, pack. --the end, it ought not to remain binding precedent. bowers should be removed. overwhelmed by what was happening, many in the gallery openly sobbed. the gay and lesbian community, it was an occasion for dancing in the streets. joyous demonstrations interrupted in cities across the nation. for gays in america, it meant much more than that rarely enforced anti-sodomy laws could no longer be enforced. meant thatrence
their rights would never be dismissed by the highest tribunal in the land. never again would they wonder if the words engraved on the supreme court building, equal justice under the law, included them. the constitution was now their constitution, too. in san francisco, a group of veterans would been expelled from military service during world war ii because of their sexual orientation -- an american flag for the first time was raised in its place. history,of american the notion that a man can marry a man, or a woman to marry a woman, seemed utterly absurd. 1990, however, only four years after bowers versus hardwick, three gay couples in hawaii
applied for marriage licenses, which were of course denied. audaciously, they then filed suit in state court, claiming that the state's refusal to allow same-sex marriage violated the hawaii constitution. to pretty much everyone's surprise, the court ruled in 1993 that the state law restricting marriage might indeed violate the hawaii institution. this decision provoked a furious response from the christian right. and almost immediately, states across the nation rushed to amend their state constitution, exquisitely to define marriages involving only one man and one woman. the goal of the amendments was to both prevent their own state courts from following the hawaii supreme court suggestion, and to make it impossible for future majorities, should they ever emerge, to legalize same-sex marriage by enacting legislation to that effect.
these issues played out on the national level, as well. anti-gay rhetoric in the air. newt gingrich proposed the defense of marriage act, or doma . when provided, among other things, if any state were to recognize marriages between same sex, they would be ineligible for any of the multitude of federal benefits that were otherwise available for married couples. the hearings on doma were openly homophobic. members of congress described gays and lesbians as sick and dangerous. the nation was facing a dangerous attack on god's principles. and the flames of you is him icking at theat our sit
heels of our society. the american people were opposed, and president bill clinton signed doma into law. none of this really matter at the time, because same-sex marriage was not legal in any state in the nation. seven years later, though, in 2003, the massachusetts supreme court held that the laws denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry violated the massachusetts constitution. massachusetts that became the first state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage. in response, 13 additional states promptly amended their constitutions to make clear that they prohibited same-sex marriage. seven years later, the supreme court of connecticut, california, and iowa followed massachusetts' lead and held that their constitution also guarantee the right to marry. but the push back again was furious.
in california, for example, the christian right launched a vigorous and successful campaign to amend the constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage and override the supreme court opinion. voters in iowa voted out of office three of the state supreme court justice who voted to recognize the state constitutional right to same-sex marriage. and the executive director of the american family association warned that if any judge attempted to impose this upon us, we will take you out. thus, despite seemingly landmark victories, the movement for same-sex marriage stalled. doma was a law nationally. and by 2013, more than 30 states laws expressly outlawing same-sex marria ge. windsor versus united states, in
a bitterly divided 5-4 decision, the supreme court invalidated doma on june 26, 2013 -- 10 years to the day after its decision in lawrence. justice anthony kenny again offered the opinion of the court. he was joined by ginsburg, otomayor.ai alito dissented. the issue presented was not whether the states were constitutionally obligated to recognize same-sex marriage, rather the issue was whether the federal government could constitutionally discriminate against couples who had been legally married in the state, because those individuals happen to be of the same sex. emphasized that the state's decision to give same-sex couples the right to
marry conferred upon them a dignity and status of immense import. doma's principle of fact, kennedy maintained, was to identify a subset of state sanctioned marriages and to make them unequal. kennedy argued that by placing legally married in the same-sex couples in the position of being second-tier marriages, doma demeaned a couple and humiliated tens of thousands of children who were then being raised by same-sex couples. because no legitimate federal interest justified law disparaging those whom the state sought to protect, kennedy concluded that doma violated the constitution. in a furious dissenting opinion, justice scalia characterized the reasoning as nothing short of remarkable. asdismissed the analysis perplexing, confusing, absurd, overcooked emma and legalistic. [laughter]
he reiterated what he insist ed upon in lawrence. angrily predicted that windsor would lead to recognition of a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. as far as this court is concerned, he viewed, no one should be fooled. it is just a matter of waiting for the other shoe. it is striking how far the court had moved in 27 years from bowers to windsor. this is due to several factors, one of which was lost in the overall movement of the court, and a more liberal direction. to the contrary, on a broad range of issues including affirmative action, campaign finance, gun control, and voting rights, the supreme court, with the addition of scalia, kennedy thomas, roberts, notably were more conservative than the time
of bowers. but they had changed in those years, and the public awareness of gays and lesbians in society, and the public and legal understanding of both the reality and wisdom of laws discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. public opinion had shifted dramatically between bowers and windsor. in 1986, no one even bothered poll on the question. the idea seemed ludicrous. 1996 that until gallup finally thought to ask people about same-sex marriage. at that time, only 22% of americans thought that same-sex marriage should be legal. by 2013, however, 54% of americans shared that view. this shift was due to many factors, most important was the profound change in the visibility of gays and lesbians in american society. this transformation affected not only everyday citizens, but also
of course legislatures, mayors, governors, presidents, and judges. and with these changes, the traditional judicial understanding of such fundamental legal concepts as liberty, equality, and due process as applied to homosexuals were suddenly called into question. and rightly so. but it is important to note that those changes in public attitudes and understanding did not in themselves dictate any particular change in constitutional doctrine. bowers and windsors were both 5-4 decisions. only one boat had changed over the course of the 27 years. conferred on the supreme court, and anthony kennedy and never been appointed, would'veme gone the other way. it was shaped by at least two critical factors. the general, public understanding of homosexuality
at the time of the decisions, and the particular interpretive approaches and values of the justices who happened to be on the supreme court at the specific moment when the issue arose. in the years after windsor, there was a virtual avalanche of lower court decisions invalidating state laws, denying same-sex couples the right to marriage. as scaliashoe, predicted, was about to fall. decided on june 26 this year, two years to the day after windsor, the supreme court, in another better 5-4 decision, cannot be denied. the opinion written by justice anthony kennedy was premised on what he described on the transcendent importance of the right to marry. marriage he proclaimed allows to people to find a life that
cannot be found alone, for it rises from the most basic human needs and is essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations. although conceding that marriage is traditionally been understood as between a man and a woman, kennedy declared that it is both appropriate and inevitable in a free society that new dimensions of freedom become apparent to new generations of americans over time. learning that the court had long held the fundamental personal choices signaled individual dignity and autonomy, and they can be protected by the constitution, even if they are not exquisitely listed in the constitution. and that the court had long recognized marriage is one of those fundamental rights, kennedy concluded that although the limitations of marriage to opposite sex couples have long seemed natural, it was inconsistent to the fundamental right to marry. predictably, chief justice
roberts and scalia, thomas, and alito were vigorous. roberts accused the majority of recklessnd wrecked judicial activism. he said it was an act of will and not judgment. he said it has no basis in the constitution. scalia, thomas, and alito offered scathing opinions. scalia charged that it lacked even a thin veneer of law. and that it is a naked initial claim to super legislative power, fundamentally at odds with our government. justice thomas added that the majority decision threatens religious liberty that our nation had long sought to protect. and justice alito railed that it was a deep corruption of constitutional interpretation. so who is right? the mere fact that five is more
necessarilyoes not make the five correct. even though it makes the law. so who was right? let me offer a few observations. first, the fury expressed by the dissenters in their condemnation of the majority opinion is completely unwarranted. although there are reasonable grounds to disagree with the decision, and i will get to them in a moment, there is nothing about the decision itself that merits the charges of judicial usurpation of the process. indeed, those very same justices have embraced highly controversial and activist interpretations of the constitution, in awarding for example the 2000 presidential election to george w. bush. [laughter] and holding affirmative action programs unconstitutional. holding gun control regulations unconstitutional.
holding laws regulating campaign expenditures and contributions unconstitutional. holding the voting rights act of 1965 unconstitutional, to cite just a few examples. for them, to purport to stand tall and a pedestal of judicial restraint is nothing short of hypocrisy. second, there are in fact reasonable grounds on which to disagree with the court's analysis. laws preventing same-sex marriages, justice kennedy relied specifically on the argument that marriage was a fundamental right. and the government therefore cannot constitutionally limit the right to marry, even for same-sex couples, without a compelling justification. the very notion that the constitution protects unenumerated rights that are not mentioned in the constitution has always been a highly controversial concept.
the constitution expressly protects the freedom of speech, religion, unreasonable search and seizure. and other expressly delineated rights. a central puzzle in constitutional interpretation has always been whether the constitution implicitly also protects other rights that have not been expressly spelled out in the text. historically, the court has recognized that such rights exist. including the right not to be sterilized, use contraception, privacy, vote, the right to decide for oneself whether to bear a child, to raise one's own children, the right to vote, and so on. but the recognition of unenumerated rights is always tricky business, because it gives the justices potentially a authority by imposing their own particular value judgments about what they happen to think our fundamental rights.
that is the dissenters argued one constraint that has sometimes been suggested by the justices, the courts should recognize an implied fundamental right only if the claimed right is one that has been deeply rooted in our nation's history and tradition. marriage, of course, is a central right read but at the dissenters argued, but how we think about that in the context of same-sex marriage is complicated. in our deeply rooted nation's history and tradition, they argue, is marriage between two persons of the opposite sex. not marriage between same-sex. thus, their view, the cou rt was not protecting their right deeply rooted in tradition, but instead creating new right. e
beyond the authority of the supreme court. now, although this is a reasonable argument, it is not compelled to the actual practice of the court -- which over time has not limited itself to defining constitutional fundamental rights in this manner. but the point is certainly an arguable one. and the dissenter's objection is far from crazy or irresponsible. the third one i want to make is that my own view is that the court made the wrong argument. they should have decided the case not on the ground that marriage is a fundamental right. but on the ground that determination against gays and lesbians violates the equal protection clause. and i say this for two reasons. the first of which, which is obvious, is that i don't think it is a stronger argument legally, less open to the kind of challenge i stated a moment ago. i will come to my other reason later. so the supreme court generally holds the laws are
consistent if they legitimately represent state interest. the court also noted that the laws that discriminate on the basis of suspect criteria are especially problematic under the equal protection clause, and that they are unconstitutional unless they can survive a highly demanding standard of justification. but because laws discriminating against african-americans are the paradigm violations of the equal protection clause, the court generally consider several factors in deciding whether discrimination against any particular group should be deemed similarly suspect. hast, whether the group experienced a long history of determination. second, the defining characteristic of the group is essentially a mutable or unchangeable. third, whether the group can effectively protect itself against discrimination through
the political process. now, those who challenge the constitutionality of laws that discriminate against gays and lesbians maintain that such discrimination satisfies these criteria. and the laws should therefore be understood as presumptively unconstitutional for equal protective reasons. in response, those of defend the constitutionality of laws committee against gays and lesbians maintain that homosexuality is a choice. is thereforeality no different than history of discrimination against robbers and murderers. in that gays and lesbians any event have ample political power. in their view, laws discriminate against thomas actuals are completely different constitutionally against those that remain against african-americans, hispanics, japanese-americans, all the court upheld as constitutionally suspect. in my view, this rationale of
equal protection argument would have been a much better basis for the decision, then the reliance on merit as a fundamental right. not only because i think it is a stronger argument, but because it would resolve all dissemination against gays and lesbians -- not only the issue of marriage. why do i think this is a strong argument? well, gays and lesbians have fully been subjected with long history of invidious discrimination. sexual orientation is not a matter of choice. and gays and lesbians consistently had their interest overridden in the political process. in light of that history, and the one i described earlier, loss of discriminate against thoma homosexuals should properly be deemed constitutional suspect, and a sense they are highly likely to be tainted by animus, hostility, and prejudice. this is the deepest entry was
reason for invalidating all laws discriminating against gays and lesbians. i like to close with one final observation. most of american history, a particular understanding of religion dictated the laws and issues like sexual expression, obscenity, contraception, abortion, and homosexuality. in the last half-century, due largely but not entirely to the supreme court of the united states, those religious values have been pushed aside. and individuals have been increasingly freed to act on their own personal religious beliefs, rather than be dictated to by the religious police of others. this is in my view a great achievement in a society dedicated to the separation of church and state. but it now does leave us with an interesting challenge. for a constitution also guarantees the freedom to practice one's religion. and with the demise of the
religious state, those who hold traditional christian values now find themselves on the defensive. no longer able to dictate to others, they must act in accord with their religious beliefs, they now demand they least be permitted to act in accord with their own religious beliefs. hobby lobby demands the right not to provide certain contraception to its women employees. kim davis demands the right not to sanction same-sex marriage. catholic priests demand the right not to marry same-sex couples. and restaurant owners demand the right not to have to dissipate in same-sex -- participate in same-sex weddings. these are not easy questions for one who values both separation of church and state and the freedom of religion, as the why. that the are issues court in society will have to wrestle with as we go forward. perhaps the most astonishing
thing about the supreme court was that theerge backlash so anticipated as been so tepid. that may change over time, but i think not. this is not abortion. those who oppose abortion sincerely believe that it is the murder of children. and if one believes that abortion is the murder of children, it is easy to understand why you do not give up the fight. and homosexuality, the reality is that for most people, they can live with it. they did not think they could, they never imagined they could, but they can. [laughter] response to the few odd exceptions like in davis, has been almost nonexistent read even with states that have been most respective of the vociferous response. and we should bask in the glory
that our nation has taken another important step in our protection of human dignity, citizenship, and equality. we have many steps left to take. but this is one we can generally celebrate together. similarain celebrations in the future, we have to challenge wisdom. no one in this room would have imagined 25 years ago that the supreme court of the united states what upheld that gays and lesbians have the right to marry. that was virtually unthinkable. and we must always a number that we, like those when the forest, hold beliefs that our children and our children's children will rightly come to regard as naive, for us, and bigoted -- even though we don't understand that at the moment. and as we strive to fulfill the obligations of citizenship in a free society, we have to have encourage courage, the open-mindedness, and the integrity to question the conventional wisdom and always a
challenge the nature of things. thank you. [laughter] [applause] announcer: tomorrow night, a look at how the white house of its christmas the first lady will speak to veterans and families in the east room. tour the white house holiday decorations and to the lighting of the christmas tree. that is a pm eastern here on c-span. here is a preview. >> when what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer. driver solittle old lively and quick, i knew in a moment it must be st. nick. eagles, andd than he whistled and shouted and
called them right name. vixen. dancer, prancer, donner, blitzen. >> excellent reading. >> thank you. >> to the top of the porch to the top of the wall, -- away all. as dry leaves before the wild hurricanes fly, when they meet with an optical mouse to the sky. >> you are not bad, either. >> thank you. fillmore wasigail the first first lady to work outside the home, teaching at a private home. she successfully lobby congress to create the first white house library. maybe eisenhower's hairstyle and love of pink treated sensation. it was marketed as a color, and stores sold clip on banks eager to decorate their style. jacqueline kennedy krieger the white house historical situation.
and nancy reagan, as a young actress, saw her name mistakenly on the blacklist of suspected communist advisers in the 1940's. she appealed to screen actors guild head ronald reagan. she later became his wife. presidential historians allies of 45 iconic american women. the book makes a great gift, giving readers a look into the personal lives of every american history. how their legacies resonated a great share the stories for the holidays. first ladies is available as a hardcover or an e-book from your favorite bookstore or online bookseller. be sure to order your copy today. announcer: in june, a gunman killed nine people at the historic mother emanuel ame church in charleston, south carolina. six months after the shooting, the church hosted a forum. speakers include johns hopkins
university professor daniel webster and the president of the american bar association. this is three hours. glenn mcconnell: good morning, everyone. on behalf of the entire college of charleston community, welcome to "moving from crisis to action: a public health approach to reducing gun violence." and especially welcome to our friends and sponsors from mother emanuel ame church, the american bar association, thank you all
for being here. my thanks to the following organizations. the american academy of family physicians, the american college of physicians, the american psychiatric association, the brady center to prevent gun violence, and the law center to prevent gun violence. i am so pleased to be able to take part in this event. the college of charleston is particularly honored to have a role today in the event. we are committed to serving as a center of reconciliation and a place for dialogue in 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 hurd. 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 and society forward in the aftermath of the appalling event. the college is a place for everyone to come together and heal, a place where we can have frank discussions about race, culture, and difference. the college was founded over two centuries ago to serve the community, and we will continue to do so. higher education has always been at the forefront of convening these much-needed conversations, conducting research into the most pressing issues facing our society. conducting research into the most pressing issues facing our society. and today is no different. in the ensuing conversations we will have, i know we will discover that we have much more in common then what we think separates us. and if we can find a way to see ourselves, and each other, we
can and will build a more tolerant and more inclusive country. today is going to be a tough day of conversation, but i know we have the capacity and 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 is how we know charleston will move forward from crisis to peace. further, we are a better society when we communicate with each other, learn from each other, and some each other. the best of our human spirit is in the capacity to grow and change, to be lifelong learners. because that intellectual growth informs not only our minds, but it shapes our empathy and creates connections to others. it is in that spirit of connectivity and growth that we come together here today to
explore and advance the conversation and action on gun violence, crisis, in south carolina and our nation. this is an important topic to tackle. and i think all of our panelists, faith leaders, legal experts, and other invited guests who are participating in the event. we appreciate you taking your time out of your busy schedules to be here, and to contribute to our thought and ideas. today, we look forward to engaging in thought-provoking conversations to ensure more goodness and light emerge from the hateful and dark acts that occurred here at mother emmanuel. and f are too many other places across our country. substantive change cannot be made in a vacuum. public health, government, business, higher education, and more. we must have a unity of purpose
and a sense of urgency to act. and i am confident with all of the great 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, and you all for being here. i will now turn it over to reverend dr. brenda nelson. after her remarks, we will hear from paulette brown, president of the american bar association. and david clark, the cochair of today's event, and the chair of the american bar association standing committee on gun violence. thank you. [applause] brenda: and again, good morning. good morning. i want to be sure i'm in the right place. the amehalf of church in the state of south
carolina, dr. marianne elders, theresiding clergy, officers, and members of mother emmanuel, it is my privilege this morning to welcome you to mother emmanuel african methodist this will church -- the oldest ame church south of maryland. we are indeed humbled that the planning committee for this historical event sought to convene at mother emmanuel, as we as a church, community, state, and world prepare for the six-month point from the journey from june 2015. a gives a somewhat comforted was nott june 17, 2015 an event to soon forgotten by those outside of the immediate circle of the nine families and survivors, the mother emmanuel church and the church as a body.
but instead, that it is the event of june 17, 2015, after too many horrific events followed across the world, have inspired so many across this community, state, and nation does not get stuck in crisis, to move forward in deliberate and strategic action. we do look forward to today's conversation, the information to be shared, the wisdom to be gleaned. and the beginning of the development of a reaction plan to the end of gun violence, and action plan to transform the history of this community, state, and nation, and history where we will never have to again experience the horrific acts of violence that have occurred since june, in the basement from where you are now seated. we will not revisit the events since june, and the movie theater in lafayette, louisiana, or the military recruitment center in chattanooga,
tennessee. at a local worksite in virginia, or at a college cap is in oregon. at a planned parenthood center in colorado. or in san bernardino california. i or other that if member can be an assistant to you, please find us. we will be glad to do whatever we need to do to provide for all of your needs. know that we want your visit here to be a wonderful one, and please consider mother emmanuel not only our home, but your home for this day. best wishes for a wonderful day. thank you. [applause] >> good morning. i'm glad you got warmed up from dr. nelson. dr. nelson and mother
emmanuel for allowing us to be your this morning. it is a privilege to be here with so many thoughtful people and with all of you to discuss the critical issue affecting the health and welfare of our country. i am humbled to be here at this church, the site of bravery and grace in the face of terror and evil. such a divisive issue in america, gun ownership has been debated, lobbied on, and politicized. i am not here to debate those issues. the american heart 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. it has become epidemic in america, as you just heard dr. nelson repeat what has occurred
since april. more than 33,000 people in our country i from firearms. more than 23,000 of them take their own lives with guns, more than 11,000 are murdered by guns. and there are more than 5000 accidental deaths. many suffer nonfatal gun injuries every year. children and young people are particularly prone. people under the age of 25 accounted for 36% of all firearm death and injuries. this is clearly an issue affecting the public health of our nation. the people of charleston know it all too well. and no one here or anywhere else in our country should accept these districts as business -- these statistics as business as usual. or feel they cannot effect change. the american bar association has
a knowledge the damage, expressing strong support for meaningful reform to our nation's gun reform. the delegates have considered and approved nearly 20 separate resolutions aimed at reducing firearm-related death and injury, which have included a variety of policy recommendations. in 2014, we put on three gun violence programs from a public health perspective, looking at gun violence as a public health problem, and addressing solutions. the aba is also involved in school programs, which include peer mediation. this program today is another step in the ongoing cooperation between medical professional organizations, but what associations, and the legal profession to focus on the toll that gun violence presents in our community and in health-related issues. and importantly, to discuss what it is that we can do about it.
we do not want to leave here today without some viable solutions as to how we can curb this trend. we know that our role as the nation's preeminent legal association, we seek to educate 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 other health professional organizations to issue a series of recommendations in a paper of firearm injuries and that across the state, a call to action from eight professional organizations, and the aba. it has been published in the annals of internal medicine. we have confirmed that the recommendations are constitutionally sound and do not interfere with the second amendment in any way. the paper stresses a number of points, and how related violence
is a major public health problem. and we called for a more robust criminal background check for all firearm purchases. commonsenseok to approaches for civilian use, manufacture, and sale of large capacity magazines, which are designed to increase rapid and extended killing capacity, we need to look for solutions and make decisions based upon the best possible evidence. the american bar association believes that the recommendations set forth in this paper provide a path forward to help stem the tide of gun violence in america. more than 30 health care and consumer organizations have endorsed the recommendations so far. and we are obviously looking more in that regard. 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. and now, it is my pleasure to , chair ofdavid clark the american bar association's standing committee on violence. who has been recognized as a national leader in criminal justice reform. as chair of this important commission, david has helped both lawyers and the public understand the controlling law, including the law under the second amendment. he has helped established coalitions for the purpose of educating the nation's communities about sensible and lawful policies on the sale, ownership, and possession of firearms. please welcome david clark. [applause]
david: good morning. i am david clark, and i live and practice in jackson, mississippi. i talk a lot of you. we will have other similarities that we will talk about perhaps, with mississippi and south carolina. first, a couple of things. i want to give some special recognition for helping organize this program, pull this thing of thet it done, to dean honors college here. the manager of, the school of education. they have done extraordinary assuringlanning and that this program occurred as planned. the dean and justin, in particular, fran welch, the dean of the school has helped, as well. i would really like to give a special thanks to dean and
justin, if we could come up for their work. [applause] i want to mention one other thing. there will be after this program ,oday, there will be a service and accu medical service, in this sanctuary, starting at 6:00 -- and ecumenical service, in the central area, starting at 6:00. i think it will be healing, and everyone is invited. let me give you first a brief overview of today's program. you have a lot in store for you. we start with dr. daniel webster, of johns hopkins school of public health, probably the top public health researcher and writer on gun violence in the world. 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 dr. webster. among other things, he is professor of health policy and management at the johns hopkins bloomberg school of public health. of the johnsector hopkins center for gun policy and research, and other things. professor ron sullivan, harvard law school, is the next featured speaker. but as i will mention, this program, professor sullivan's flights got mixed up, connections and things like that. he will be here, if possible, after lunch. so we will probably be shifting some of the panels and speakers up a bit. and we will get to him. but professor sullivan is a leading theorist in areas of trial practice, legal acts ethics, and race theory.
he is the leader of the harvard trial advocacy workshop. without meaning to slight anyone, but running out of time, i record you to look at everyone's bios on the website. i will add just a brief mention to some of the -- certain not all of the -- regional authorities in medicine. you will also hear from the resident of the american college of physicians. americandent for the academy of physicians. they are helping to lead to renewed effort of the medical community in seeking to curb gun violence and try to get something done about that. i speak to those two organizations in particular, we are fortunate to have their presence here on the program. we have the legal director of the gun violence center,
coordinating attorney from the brady center, general counsel for the stopping of gun violence, the chair of the medical university of south carolina, the executive director of heeding god's call. and other notables. there will be others. let me now, if i may, pose some questions to help us think. these are questions that we may have had coming in, questions that will be arising during the program. questions that we hope we can answer, a lot of them. and in this program, and also in the vast body of research, there is a huge amount of research out there. in large part, due to dr. 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 curbnce and ways to help gun violence in 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, put a framework for the questions, we know gun injury and death in the u.s. is far higher than anywhere else in the developed world. by far. over 30,000 gun deaths year, over 60,000 injuries. think about this. some of those debilitating, horrible injuries.
30,000 plus 60,000 -- that is about 90 a day. 90 every day. we think of mass shootings, we do not think about the 90 a day deaths from guns in the u.s. more people have died in the yearsust in the last four then the american -- than the number of american soldiers that died in korea, vietnam, afghanistan, and iraq combined. think about that. korea, vietnam, afghanistan, iraq combined. four years. take the four years before that. it is stunning. 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? to say nothing of sandy hook. and so many others. 22 children plus the teachers at sandy hook, but about that number of children die every day in this country from gun violence. why are south carolina's gun violence rates, like my own state of mississippi, so much higher than most other states? there will be some handouts, i think they are being copied, they will be in the back of the room later this morning. just indicating, it is something we do not about in a state like mississippi or south carolina, how high the death toll is from gun violence. we cannot stop all of the gun death. we know that. but if there are things we can do to stop many of them, shouldn't we try? don't we have to try, if there
is something we can do? that is up to 15,000 lives a year just for that reduction. what about public health research on the subject? what does existing research and the gun violence, causes and effects, tell us? does such research point of factors, including laws, that influence the levels of gun violence in different states, and different societies? what does the research show that happens to the level of gun violence, including violence by criminals, when gun safety laws are passed? does research showed that the laws designed to keep guns out of the hands of high-risk people make a difference? you laws make a difference? that 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 cannot help? they will not make any difference. do more guns mean less violence? we heard that from some. what does the ver there a shows, real research that having guns everywhere reduces gun violence? or any kind of violence? if there is no such evidence, what should we do when we are faced with that more guns claim? 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 that question reached the same conclusion? encourage ore require people with guns in the home to store the guns securely,
where children's and other vulnerable family members could not accidentally or impulsively use them? smart balance, what is the feasibility of smart guns? by athat can only be fired certain person, certain fingerprint, certain palm print. only by that person. if 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? -- theond amendment second amendment is something, as paulette said, we feel a certain obligation in the aba to speak out about. there are so many that are saying things that are so untrue about the scope of the second amendment. it is what our supreme court say
it is. it is not what somebody on their own, contrary to the court, says this is what i think is my second amendment right. you are stepping on them. there are legitimate concerns that gun safety laws violate rights. what does the supreme court say? what do we do when the courts have said almost all measures to control gun violence are constitutional? yet, a vocal group continues to say every restriction related two guns violates my second amendment rights? 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, following the supreme court decision? do most laws designed to keep guns out of the hands of high-risk people even have
anything to do with the second amendment? much less, violate somebody's rights. whatc opinion and polls, does 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 legislation from congress will not take up the issue. do substantial majorities of gun owners, themselves, what they say the same thing? if the numbers come in, and there will be a very recent november poll, some of the results put up in the back later. why can we not do anything if a substantial majority of everyone, of gun owners, republican gun owners, say they want to do summit about it?
let me mention this. you have noticed it has been talked about a lot. and we hear about that ground checks. let me put this in context. background checks are required for purchases from federally licensed gun dealers. those are, including recent research, about 60% of initial gun sales. those have background checks on the. that does not mean that someone will not catch a forged id. it happens all the time. but what about that other 40%? that means that somebody can buy a gun in a federally licensed roundhop, walk right ab the corner, silica somebody else. no questions asked, no id, no background check. -- one ofthat neither
the things that has been asked, you will be hearing about this, it is called universal background checks. that just means expanding the background check from that federally licensed dealer to all gun sales -- gun shows and private gun sales. why is it that neither federal law nor south carolina law, nor mississippi law, prohibits a person who is on the terrorist watch list from buying a gun? who could possibly challenge that? but it is being challenged. and you know that the usual suspects. why is it the same politicians who demand tougher background checks for all syrian refugees, now it takes about two years, also oppose any background check for anybody buying a gun? the race and guns, who suffered the most from gun violence?
what group in our society knows from first-hand experience why keeping guns out of the wrong hands, and the hands of wrong people, is so important? what would lawmakers -- why would lawmakers not agree on a provision that provided background checks must be completed and passed before a person may buy a gun? that is not the law now. if they have not completed it in three days, they can sell the gun. whether it is to a terrorist, convicted felon, or whatever. this, of course, is something that you and south carolina in charleston know in particular, because the three days had passed dylann roof in buying the gun used in this church. although he should have been prohibited from buying the gun. research, why is are not more research by agencies 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 the logic there? congressman, why is the gun industry, through his influence on congress, so opposed to the cdc being allowed to study the causes and effects of gun violence? deadly, gun is more 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 an off-ahead by nicholas kristof -- op-ed by nicholas kristof that said we
are not even trying, not pushing hard enough. what can we do? we cannot prevent all gun deaths, we know that. what can we do to bring down the risk, bring down the numbers? for the invitation today, before the program begins, we are fortunate to have rabbi stephanie alexander here in charleston. a congregation found in 1749, this is one of the oldest jewish congregations in the u.s. and it is a knowledge and recognized to be the birthplace of reform judaism in the u.s. rabbi? [applause] good morning.
friends, let us pray. resolve, of wisdom, 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, 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 status quo that steals blameless lives 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. 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 poets has written, do not stop after beating your weapons into plowshares. do not stop. go on beating and make musical instruments out of them. againr wants to take life will have to turn them into plowshares first. friends, let us pray but not too long. more crucially, let us act.
and if you are so inclined, i invite you to say amen. >> good morning. my name is daniel webster. i am 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 a sacred place and to talk about solutions to gun violence. i have a tall task. i have to, within about a half
of an hour, encapsulate how you apply public health to a problem like gun violence. i actually do this in a nine-week course. [laughter] here, you miss anything you can sign up for my class. it starts in january. i would love to have you participate. slides, really see my are they up? ok. o, i am going to start mentioning just some basic information about the public health impact of gun violence in america. dwell on that. i will show you a lot of numbers, but each one represents
a life. and we cannot lose sight of that. many, as was too indicated, we have more than 33,000 a year in the u.s. who died by gunfire. what most people do not realize is that almost two thirds of those are by suicide, which the very preventable type of death. have over 11,000 homicides with guns per year. violence,ook at gun you see very few that are self-inflicted. why is that? because the vast majority of time, someone is so desperate to attempt to take their life, when they have ready access to a firearm, they succeed.
but the vast majority of non-fatal injuries from firearm violence in the u.s. 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 the population, you can begin to get a feel of this when you look at leading causes of death for males. i should say right out of the gate that gun violence in maleica is very much a ame phenomenon. we could spend the whole day talking about that. s agesr young male 15-24, it is the leading cause of death. for the age group just above that, it is the second leading cause of death. we in public health no that
there is really no -- know that fore are great disparities a vast number of reasons. cause of thatding disparity, for men, is firearm homicide. so it has enormous impact on the health of the population. populations. male of course, females are very impacted, not only as victims who have lost loved ones. i want to now talk about public health. what does public health bring to this problem? when i started as a doctoral student in public health at johns hopkins in the late 1980's, it was a time where gun
homicide, particularly involving youth, was really skyrocketing -- it was going up at a rate we had never seen before. and public health rose to the challenge then. and quite honestly, i think there were a lot of good ideas and perspectives the 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 have come along way since then, but i still think we are struggling. some individuals, some colleagues want to talk about moreublic health approach, in terms of what it is not -- 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 and communities and families. feel quiteone,
--ongly 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 have had very substantial gains in a number of important public health ics, crises, including drunk driving. bit -- i ama little not able to see my slides. let me mention some key models, in essence, of how to think about this problem that comes from public health. i think we start from our long tradition of studying risk. how risk changes and is different across different demographic groups, different
spaces and times. and how they are connected to one another, how your risk is quite connected to the individuals are you closely associate with. thank you. [laughter] perspectivertant that public health is brought to this is the focus on what people in injury control, which is where i kind of grew up in public health, referred to as the agent -- the agent of injury. and here, of course, we're talking about guns. make guns lessto lethal, make them less available in high-risk context? a very productive way to look at this problem that has been adopted by criminologists, as well as in public health, is to
recognize how gun violence in particular acts like a social contagion. looks verymmonly much like an infectious disease. close socialamong networks. 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 for a some similarly rapid manner. it not only gives us insight in how we might prevent gun violence, but also gives us hope about that downward slope. before, as i mentioned 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 if we are going to have a large impact in the u.s. and we are also going to have to be able to change social norms with the right type of persuasive measures. and again, we have had great success in a number of different domains and public health. we need to try to apply those to the problem of gun violence. i will now just sort of walk you through some examples. but first, to sort of layout how what i think was mentioned earlier, how do we visualize a different reality of where we are now with gun violence? for me, it is not actually that hard. and i think that we have conditioned to
believe that gun violence is not solvable in america. we see on such a regular basis horrific acts of gun violence, it is not hard to find it every single day. but we cannot see, we cannot see when effective policies and programs are put into place and actpeople are saved, that of gun violence was prevented. that does not show up in our news. we have to apply the right kind of research to examine whether we can see reductions when we applied some of the principles that i just talked about. when it comes to gun policy, i believe that we are going to make the biggest gains in reducing gun violence by applying two key -- attending to .wo key values and reall gun ownership, this is something more indelve into much
my panel following this discussion. i believe that our standards for legal gun ownership are too low. secondly, the idea and accountability -- the value of accountability. our gun laws, by and large, at the federal level and at many states, including south carolina, are written by people with interests in reducing accountability. reducing accountability. background checks is the most glaring example, it is not the only example. so i will talk about how we address accountability more to reduce access in high-risk context. the other way we're going to do change to address and social norms, particularly in high-risk groups and context.
and then finally, very focused, focused law enforcement, that is year towards deterrence, which is in public health terms, prevention. let us start with thinking about the standards for legal gun ownership. we published a study in 2012 where we look at a large inmates of surveys of at state prisons. and we look at the 13 states with the weakest standards for gun ownership. to determine the individuals who were incarcerated for committing violent acts with firearms, 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, 40% of those individuals were legally
kly prohibited. this pie chart, which looks at who is prohibited and was not, any state in the u.s. -- the yellow slice. but 29% of those would be legally prohibited by the standards. if you think about the capacity for background checks as an example, as a way to reduce gun violence, think about how much greater impact you can have looking at this simple pie chart when you combine the black slice of the pie to the red slice of the pie. is a reallyhis important thing which we cannot lose sight of, the epidemiology of homicide. what you are looking at now, and
i'm sorry you will not be a but to see the numbers on the bottom axis there, the age of defenders. these are age-specific offending rates. what you see is incredibly rapid rise during adolescence, which peaks at the age of 18-20. it declines after that quite substantially, particularly after 30. the risk becomes reasonably low. so, much of that slice of the pie -- that red slice of the pie -- actually had to do with individuals who are 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. it is a concept we will come back to in the panel.
states had expanded their prohibiting conditions for having firearms, to address broader areas of risk, we commonly see reductions in violence as a result. prohibited individuals from having firearms when they had a restraining order for domestic violence, studies we published have shown significant reductions in partner homicides, between 8% and 9%. when california extended firearm prohibitions to individuals convicted of certain violent misdemeanors, they saw a 29% reduction by the offending group. in a study published in a book jeffwe put out in 2013, swanson and his colleagues at duke, found that when the state
of connecticut expanded and put the records in the system, so that individuals who were prohibited because of serious mental illness emm that the s, the infected group was cut in half. finally, another study found that when you compare over time and across states, as they started to expand the type of conditions for which they were screening and prohibiting people, you saw greater reduction in gun homicide. measures, howlity the world we keep guns from people who should not have them, at least in rarely? that is the real conundrum here. i want to talk about, first, a very important conduit. how do guns get to criminals? guns used inof
crimes start out from an initial sale from 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. a very small percent, a very small percent, account for the large majority of guns used in crimes. the vast majority of license gun dealers seem to be law-abiding and careful individuals. it is relatively rare they sell a gun that is used in crime. that is not the case for roughly 5% or less that account for the lions share of guns used in crime. we have now published two studies that looked at undercover stings a problematic gun dealers, when they have made blatantly illegal sales, they were sued. in some cases, criminal charges
were brought. ,nd what we found in chicago reduction in the diversion of guns to criminals from in-state dealers -- 62%. a very similar approach in detroit yielded us 36% reduction in the version of guns to criminals right after retail sales. shortly afterwards. and in new york city, where we had slightly more specific regulations, we were able to look specifically at the dealers were targeted with the lawsuits. and in the new york city case, new york without asking for a dime. what they asked for was to change the way you go about selling firearms. they had a code of business conduct. the probability that guns sold by these dealers later ended up in crime in new york city, 82%. accountability.
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 lead to permanently disabling two police officers. that gun shop had a long history. i have been involved in researching it, back in the late 1990's, the atf published research showing that no gun dealer and the entire nation sold more guns that were later recovered in crimes then badger, right outside of the law. simply acknowledging that, simply announcing that publicly changese gun dealers to the way they sell their firearms. and i will 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, in a variety of things, to shield the gun dealers from anybody knowing what they were doing. i will show you what happened from that. they eventually lost their license in 2006, but that was then headed over to a family member that, again, led to them getting sued. this will be hard to see, for some in the back, but what we are tracking here is a versions of guns to criminals right after a retail sale. and the solid line is for badger guns and ammo. the first of vertical line is where the announcement that they sold the most guns used in crimes. and we documented a 77% reduction in guns going from badger into the hands of criminals, following simply acknowledge that.
in the gun dealer is voluntarily making steps to improve their business practices. but when they were given protection, along with many 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 other case studies i will tell you about that are very important for public policy. two changes in state laws that mirrored one another, in which background checks -- universal checks as david clark explained -- but through a permitting process or you had to go through local law enforcement to get ent to get your handgun.
they decided to reveal that law. so rather than either go to a gun shop, 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 or there was no background check. what we documented, i don't have time to go through each of these tracks thehis proportion of guns that ended up being used in crime very shortly after retail sale. perfectly,rrelate perfectly to win this law changed. you saw a twofold increase in these diversions, shortly after a retail sale -- a diversion of a gun to a criminal. similarly, 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 from when they change their law, so that guns became far more readily acceptable to criminals 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 the very abrupt change that coincides perfectly with the change in them getting rid of 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 have concluded from our analyses is that if you just look at the first three years,
you see a 25% increase in gun homicide associated with this law. only very recently, within the past month, we extended out to 2013. increaseund an 18% that is very highly statistically significant. and we rolled out a very long list of alternative excavations for this increase. we have also documented a 16% increase in suicides by guns. the mirror image of this experience occurred in connecticut, back in 1995, october of 1995. country has a background check requirements, universal background check requirements, for handguns and we estimated a 40% reduction in homicide rates 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 . me of curve violence with a background. what this program looked like is it identifies the most high risk places and the high risk individuals for being involved either as a victim or perpetrator of gun violence and do outreach to those individuals, with individuals that they refer to as credible mess somewheres.
these are individuals who typically are from those same communities and previously had some involvement in gangs or crime. but had turned their lives around. one of the key things that they o is they serve as role models for how you deal briefly, with conflict without using a gun and they helped to mediate disputes between individuals or groups, gangs, crews, whatever you want to call them. so they can be resolved without loss of life. in studied this program baltimore. e've seen great success with that. not in every single sight but in most we've seen reductions in either homicides or nonfatal shootings or both. i'm just completing some analyses looking over a dozen
years in baltimore of a variety kind of interventions pplied there, i refer to this from david kennedy who has had an enormous impact on how we approach and try to prevent urban gun violence through 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 it is not only a model coming from law enforcement. it is a message coming from community. more voices of community from these individuals, almost all guys, respect. also, i should say that these individualings are also offered a variety of services in assistance to leave their lifestyle so that they are not at risk for being involved in gun violence. and in recent iterations of this model there's also much more attention paid to legitimacy of police. in a fair manner, applied in a fair manner. no intervention has consistently reduced gun much as this
when the model is applied to try to curb much as this model. so in 7 of 8 studies reviewed, fairly large effect in reducing of violence. just the selling illegal drugs, the effects have been much less although there was some suck -- of illegal success in high point, north carolina with such a model. i am going to conclude there because i want to make sure at least i have a few minutes for . me questions or comments o we have any? go longer? ok. i'm doing good. so just to summarize very briefly again. the most important thing, most important take away is there are things that work. ok? gun violence, 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 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're a policy to keep guns from dangerous people or other measures, as behavioral measures through public health or complementry measures with focused deterrence, we see significant reductions in gun violence. these are all approach that is have high acceptability to the public. e need to act.
>> good morning, everybody. good morning. if we could all just settle own we will get started here. panelists leave later today you will all be here. o it's your job in the audience to be the conversation starters and the demanders of change. and i think you will all be doing that very well. so thank you for being here today and for being concerned about your community. are going to kick off the
panel here today with daniel webster who you already met. next dr. lisa gold, a clinical and forensic psychiatrist at georgetown university school of medicine and the editor and contributing write tore a recently published book called gun violence and mental illness. next, bill nettles. and finally 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. there will be note cards 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 will be reading and answering all of your questions today. so without further adieu i will turn it over to dr. daniel webster.
>> thank you, kelly. in i believe it was march of 2013, following the tragedy at sanchedy hook elementary chool, some colleagues got together -- well, first of all, i should say i was approached by josh, who runs the educational fund to stop gun violence, who also is a faculty member at johns hopkins who teaches health advocacy. e proposed that we convene a group of individuals around the question of 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? yes said yes but i have hope there is new ways to look at this. and we did. stakeholders around, clinicians, researchers, people with violence and un policy and legal analysis. and we did spend roughly two days together and came up with something violence and that i t incredibly productive that has really helped us reframe and repurpose how we think about this problem. i'm going to talk about sort of one component of that. dr. gold is going to cover in a far more 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 ut 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, in the particular points when that is most important. risk is not static. risk changes enormously over curve showed you. so what came from that is a set of reports with recommendations. and i am 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 commonalities about what needed to happen at the federal level as well as in many states. so i'm going to focus on the recommendations from the state report and talk about that. we can talk more when we get to the end of this. t -- so first of all, we did address something that we felt was quite important as it relates to mental illness disqualifiers. there's been enormous change between some when policies went into place that focus on people assessed for their mental condition and dangerousness and then commonly put into an inpatient hospital situation. we now live in an age where
that is far less common and the same sort of behaviors and risks occur, and there's involuntary treatment for outpatient treatment. so one of our recommendations was that we enact new legislation assessed for tempor prohibitting individuals from purchasing, possessing firearms after short-term involuntary hospitalization. and that the prohibition be predicated on clinical finding of danger to self-, or danger to others. there's some other kind of involuntary commitments that actually have nothing to do with dangerousness. and therefore are too broad in there. so basically what we're saying we need to focus again on the risk. secondly, that there should be a restoration of someone's ability to purchase or possess a firearm following a firearm disqualification for mental
illness. should be based on an evaluation of a qualified clinician, finding that the petitioner is unlikely to relapse or prevent a danger -- present a danger to self or others. the other set of recommendation that is we focused on did not have anything directly related to mental illness but are more directly related to the risks. again, they direct some of the -- i showed you before, where there are individuals doing risky things, dangerous and violent things but who are not prohibited in many states. so first of all, we recommended that convictions for violent misdemeanors should disqualify from 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 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 the abuser has access to a firearm. e also recommended that anyone with two or more alcohol related convictions -- drunk driving, for example, should again temporarily disqualify with someone from having a firearm for at least five years. and similarly if someone's convicted of two or more misdi
meanor 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 often them behind bars through drug violations. risk there span of 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 term
called gun violence restraining orders. this would authorize law enforcement to remove guns if an individual poses an immediate threat to themselves or others. police are well versed in this use of force continuum and may apply some sort of risk or leetsdzality assessment to judge these particular situations. and they can do so without a warrent. but importantly we suggest that a new civil restraining order proffers be created to allow private risk there in this category that citizens something going on with someone that clearly appears to head toward dangers whether mass shooting, suicide, or other act of violence, that they be able to petition the court just like someone for domestic violence could to