Lots of news out there lately about guns. Here are three of the highlights:
1. A recently released study from Sam Houston State University found a concentrated Houston Police Department crackdown on illegal gun possession resulted in a significant reduction in subsequent crimes involving firearms.
“These findings add to the growing evidence that supports the use of directed patrols to target illegal gun possession in high crime locations,” wrote William Wells, co-author of the study. “An interesting phenomenon observed in Houston and in other cities is that relatively small numbers of additional gun seizures [and gun possession arrests in the current analysis] generate meaningful results.
The award-winning study looked at the Houston department’s Crime Reduction Unit. You can read more about it here.
2. Meanwhile, the Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of the Interior, just released its review of the U.S. Park Police, finding that the organization could not account for more than 1,400 of its weapons.
“The accompanying report provides ample evidence that USPP's firearms management requires immediate attention to address the multitude of problems we found, which ranged from fundamental errors in recordkeeping to glaring nonfeasance by senior command officers,” Mary L. Kendall, deputy inspector general, wrote to Jonathan B. Jarvis, director of the National Park Service, and Teresa Chambers, chief of the USPP.
“We initially set out to determine if USPP could account for all military-style weapons in its inventory, whether USPP had intentionally concealed missing weapons, and whether officers used USPP weapons for their personal use. Our efforts to definitely address the allegations were hindered by a failure of the USPP property and firearms custodians to provide a baseline inventory and accounting of firearms. We found credible evidence of conditions that would allow for theft and misuse of firearms, and the ability to conceal the fact if weapons were missing,” Kendall continued in her [pretty much] scathing memo. Twenty recommendations were provided and the department was given a 45-day deadline to respond. You can view the memo and the report here.
3. That report came on the heels of an ATF report that found that more than 190,000 firearms were reported lost or stolen in the United States last year. President Obama ordered the first-ever audit in the wake of the Newtown school shootings last year. Of the 190,000 figure, 183,660 were stolen, up from 145,300 in 2010, reported in a review from the Bureau of Justice Statistics National Crime Victims Survey, according to an article from USA Today. That survey found that firearm thefts have been on the decline. The ATF report said its findings “likely reveal only a fraction of the problem,” because of underreporting.