Dr. Garen Wintemute’s latest contribution to “the prevention of firearm violence” comes in the form of a perspective column published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Wintemute is the director of the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program and the UC Firearm Violence Research Center. He proposes a two-pronged solution to stop mass shootings.
The solution? So-called “comprehensive background checks” and emergency protective orders, which “allow courts to have firearms removed temporarily from people who pose an imminent hazard to others or themselves but are not members of a prohibited class.”
Wintemute examines six mass shootings, where the perpetrators all passed background checks. Wintemute acknowledges his research found “no evidence of an association between the repeal of comprehensive background check policies and firearm homicide and suicide rates in Indiana and Tennessee.”
Wintemute seems to really be suggesting that we need better background checks. This is different than “comprehensive background checks.”
Wintemute is using these two ideas interchangeably, it seems. His own study referenced in this article is focused on “comprehensive background checks” for private sales. He cites the 2017 mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, as evidence of his conclusions. But that shooting had nothing to do with “private sales.” That shooter was able to purchase a firearm because the u.s. Air Force did not share prohibiting information.
Later Wintemute moves to “permits to purchase,” which would require law-abiding citizens to get government permission to purchase a firearm. Wintemute claims “many studies have found permit-to-purchase laws to be effective,” but the Rand Corp. determined that licensing requirements have uncertain effects on violent crime because the evidence is inconclusive.