Media Should Keep In Mind Importance Of Gun Violence Prevention For Latino Voters

››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ

Media should highlight the importance that gun violence prevention measures have on Latinos when reporting on President Obama's executive actions designed to address the issue. The issue of gun violence particularly impacts Latinos -- who widely support gun violence prevention measures -- since Latinos are disproportionately affected by fatal shootings despite being less likely to own guns themselves.

President Obama Unveils Executive Actions To Address Gun Violence

The New York Times: President Obama Announced Executive Actions Aimed At Preventing "Deaths From Firearms." On January 5, The New York Times reported that President Obama announced that he's "taking executive action to try and prevent deaths from firearms." As reported by The Times:

President Obama gathered gun control activists and the families of gun victims in the White House East Room on Tuesday for a formal announcement that he is taking executive action to try and prevent deaths from firearms.

Mr. Obama is seeking to expand the number of gun buyers who are subject to criminal background checks by clarifying existing law. He said he will also hire more personnel to process background checks, direct officials to conduct more gun research, encourage more domestic violence prosecutions and order better tracking of lost guns, officials said. [The New York Times, 1/5/15]

Latinos Are Disproportionately Affected By Gun Violence

Violence Policy Center's Josh Sugarmann: Fatal Shootings Have "Disproportionate Impact On The Hispanic Community." In an August 6, 2015 Huffington Post blog post, Violence Policy Center Executive Director Josh Sugarmann pointed to a study showing that "fatal gun violence has a disproportionate impact on the Hispanic community." The study also found that an average of 3,000 Latinos suffer gun deaths every year:

New research by my organization, the Violence Policy Center, finds that fatal gun violence has a disproportionate impact on the Hispanic community.

[...]

And the statistics are sobering. More than 47,000 Hispanics were killed with guns in the United States between 1999 and 2013, with an average of more than 3,000 gun deaths per year. Approximately two thirds of the gun deaths were homicides (31,800, or 67 percent), while 13,317 were suicides (28 percent).

We also found the overall homicide victimization rate for Hispanics is nearly double the homicide victimization rate for whites. For Hispanics, the homicide victimization rate in 2013, the most recent year for which data is available, was 4.75 per 100,000. That year, the homicide victimization rate for whites was 2.50 per 100,000.

These are eye-opening facts about a significant portion of our citizenry that are all too often neglected in our national awareness about gun violence. Yet at the same time, we found there are major gaps in the data. Government agencies often report information on race, but not on ethnic origin. Because of these limitations in the way data is collected, the total number of Hispanic victims is almost certainly higher than the reported numbers suggest. [Huffington Post, 8/6/15]

Gun Ownership Is Lower In The Hispanic Community

NBC News Latino: Hispanics Less Likely Than Whites To Own Guns. According to an October 1, 2015 NBC News Latino article by Stephen Nuño, data showing that Hispanics are less likely to own guns compared to non-Hispanic whites, demonstrates why attempts to suggest that more guns "equal less crime" are likely to "fall flat" with the Latino community:

And while no amount of data appears to have any impact on the debate over the relationship between the number of guns in this country and gun-related deaths - or that more guns doesn't equal less crime - we continue to be stuck in a standoff of wills.

With only 20 percent of Latino households with a gun in the home, compared to 41 percent of non-Hispanic white households, the current Republican message on gun control is likely to fall flat. [NBC News Latino, 10/7/15]

Large Percentage Of Latinos Support Stronger Gun Violence Prevention Measures

Pew: A Majority Of Latinos Support "Controlling Gun Ownership." According to a 2014 poll by Pew Research Center, 62 percent of Latino voters said they "prefer gun control over the rights of owners," with 44 percent saying that "most Americans should be able to own guns" with certain limits in place:

Hispanic registered voters nationally say they prefer gun control over the rights of owners by a margin of 62%-to-36%, as do black registered voters by a margin of 71%-to-26%, according to the survey. By contrast, white registered voters choose gun owners' rights over gun control by a margin of 59%-to-39%.

Included in the roughly six-in-ten Hispanic registered voters who say they prefer gun control are 44% who say that most Americans should be able to own guns if certain limits are in place and 18% who say only law enforcement and security personnel should be able to own guns. Also included among the 36% of Hispanic registered voters who think protecting gun rights is a bigger priority are 27% who favor some restrictions on gun ownership and just 9% who favor no such restrictions. [Pew Research Center, 10/16/14]

Latino Decisions: Overwhelming Majority Of Latinos Support Background Checks. Data from a 2013 Latino Decisions survey demonstrates that an overwhelming majority of Latinos are in favor of background checks for gun buyers, and demonstrate support for other gun violence prevention measures. 84 percent supported background checks, while 69 percent were in favor of a national database of gun owners (emphasis added):

Latino Decisions conducted a national survey of the Latino electorate to establish where these voters stand on different gun control policy options under consideration in national, state and local governments. Specifically, these voters were asked if they supported or opposed: (1) requiring background checks before people can buy guns in stores and gun shows; (2) establishing a national database of gun owners; (3) making it illegal for people with documented mental illness to purchase and own guns; (4) limiting the capacity of magazines; (5) a ban on semi-automatic and assault weapons, and (6) allowing teachers. The results clearly indicate the majority of Latino voters hold a consistent set of opinions, supporting proposals that would reduce and restrict guns and ammunition.

Over half of all Latino voters support all five of the gun control restrictions included in the survey. The majority (57%) also oppose expanding laws to allow teachers or authorized campus personnel to carry loaded weapons in public schools. Policies that emphasize prevention and tracking are the most widely supported. Criminal background checks for potential gun owners is the most popular proposal, with 84% in favor, and a mere 13% opposed. A national database of gun owners is also widely supported by 69% of Latino voters. Another restrictive policy option, banning the mentally ill from owning guns, is supported by 64%. Limits on weapons and ammunition also garner significant support from Latino voters, including 64% in favor of a ban on high capacity magazines, and 54% favoring a ban on semi-automatic and assault weapons. Most Latinos do not want loaded weapons in their public schools, 57% oppose the proposition of allowing teachers and/or security personnel to carry loaded guns on campus. [Latino Decisions, 3/12/13]

Posted In
Race & Ethnicity, Justice & Civil Liberties, Guns
Network/Outlet
The New York Times, NBC News
Show/Publication
Huffington Post
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