Psychologists on Guns
by Robert B.Young, MD
“People with guns kill people” is an apparently sensible heading for a report on “gun violence” by a professional organization that regards firearms as dangers for which availability and access should be restricted. Gun Violence: Prediction, Prevention, and Policy was presented in August by the American Psychological Association (APA) at its annual meeting. It rightly calls attention to the need to understand factors in development, community, culture and gender that are associated with more or less likelihood of people resorting to lethal violence. Yet it also veers far away from the APA’s expertise in psychology, and the focus on violence-by-gun invites broader questions about the role of gun use within violence overall. The authors and references are largely drawn from gun control proponents without regard to research that shows how more guns in the right hands can minimize violence.
It’s good to read that “exposure to violent media, in movies and television, is associated with increased aggressive behaviors, aggressive thoughts and feelings, increased physiological arousal, and decreased prosocial behaviors”. This is a topic the mainstream media religiously avoids, but that all parents know matters.