Monday – Gun Day

It’s been a couple of weeks owing to celebrations, and my participation in Smitten Forum (more on that soon.) We all enjoyed the reprieve, but now here’s a few more guns for your consideration.

Juan Carlos Cuadra was killed by an officer in NW Houston after brandishing a gun at officers who had come to investigate complaints that he had stabbed someone and fired his weapon into the ground. Houston police have a bunch of weapons on the books, according to Wikipedia, and since we used the SIG Sauer P226 last time, we’ll move to the second on that list, the SIG Sauer P229 (considered a close cousin to the former pistol.)

SIG Sauer P229

Allen Brandon Terry was shot in Walthourville, Georgia. His age is only listed as 18+ on the Gun Violence Archive, and there are no facts about his killer, or the gun that was used. For him, Default Pistol 1.

Ruger SR1911 – my Default Pistol 1

Sheamon Pearlie was found shot by officers in the Franklin neighbourhood of Baltimore, Maryland, around 3:15pm on New Years Day 2017. The 20 year old was pronounced dead at the scene. There are no details about his killer or the weapon used, but Cham Green maps it on her blog in the post 2017 Baltimore City Homicides – List and Map which I will likely consult again. And so soon after the 1st, we get the second used of Default Pistol 2.

Default Pistol 2 – S&W M&P

Monday – Gun Day

Today we drift over to Allen, a northern suburb of Dallas, Texas. Mark Giurguis (21) was shot at and killed by officers when attempting to reverse too quickly, which had threatened one of the officers approaching the vehicle from behind at a traffic stop. The passenger, Giurguis’ girlfriend, was also injured.

No weapon is listed in reports, but the weapon currently issued by Dallas PD (there are message boards that confirm, but it’s also listed on Wikipedia) is a Sig Sauer P226.

Sig Sauer P226

Monday – Gun Day

Narrowing down my Ruger has been a windy road.

There’s the LCP – Lightweight Compact Pistol which is marketed as a concealed carry or second gun for law enforcement, but it “lacks certain features required for sale in California or Massachusetts.” according to that Wikipedia link. Then there’s the classic Ruger Standard, which is up to MK IV, and was first introduced in 1949. It retains a lot of its original look, which at my guess, is not actually a big selling point…

Then we have the Ruger P-Series, which happens to be on one of my most-quoted lists, Wikipedia’s List of Most Produced Firearms (LMPF), with a high end of production of 2 million. The P-Series was designed for everyone (!) “military, police, civilian and recreational use” but was discontinued in 2013. Like my actual choice, they share a design heritage with the most produced pistol ever to come out of the USA.

I settled on the SR1911, which is the Ruger take on the Colt M1911, itself #4 of pistols on LMPF.  In fact, Ruger, with the SR1911, probably has a stake in that ranking, given that the full amount of up to 5 million Colt M1911 weapons includes ‘and copies’. The original 1911’s were designed and developed for the US military by John Browning the gun-design guru, with Colt as the first manufacturer. They’re long out of patent, and even when in, it was more than Colt could do to keep up with production during The Great War. They have been manufactured by well over 100 companies to date, and versions are in current production by many of the big name brands; Colt of course, and (in no particular order) Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, Remington, Taurus and Springfield Armory. So my drawing is of that weapon.

Ruger SR1911

But it’s not over yet. In my searching for the ‘right‘ Ruger, I stumbled across some actual hard statistics about gun sales in a Motley Fool article about the company. I know the Ruger brand casts a large shadow, and that it’s more for rifles than for pistols, but I thought that with a  yearly production of 748,364 – over one-third of their production is pistols – would clinch it. Turns out Smith and Wesson, despite selling about 200k less firearms in a year, sell many, many more pistols (989,853, over 200k more) than Ruger annually.

Knowing that, I’m ready to compromise. I’m going to alternate the pistols I use as my default weapon. The other weapon will be a Smith & Wesson. The title of most produced pistol for them has to go to the M&P. (M&P? Military and Police). It’s a LMPF place-getter (over 1 million sold as at 2015), it was the double nominated weapon my List of Top 5’s a few weeks back and if you recall it’s also on the list of 9mm weapons that is Chicago PD approved.

Smith & Wesson M&P

So these are the guns that will fill in for the weapons used to murder Mr Rosales, and Mr Smith, back on January 1, 2017, in San Francisco.

Monday – gun day

There are no guns to report today, which is to say, I have no leads on either of the weapons used against the next two victims on the Gun Violence Archive list.

The two men killed in separate incidents in San Francisco on January 1, 2017, were 21 year old Ernesto Rosales, and 35 year old Mitchell Smith.

I did find that “San Francisco police arrested a 37-year-old suspect,” Michael Peace in September on suspicion of killing Smith, but again there were scant details, including no motive, released. With few details about the circumstances of either shooting (although interestingly the location is always logged in news reports – 26th and Shotwell, or 3rd St and Oakdale Ave, respectively) there’s nothing on which to base further research.

In anticipation of this outcome, you’ll remember that I started by searching for a popular pistol as a substitute weapon for when I could find no leads on which to base drawings of the actual guns used in these crimes. So today we chalk up two for Sturm Ruger & Co.

Thanks to some uppity tech (computers, who needs ‘em… wait, clearly I do, at least for some things…!) I’m not able to bring you a drawing today, so I’ll save the reveal of the gun that will probably feature the most in this work (yes, all this research is for a jewellery work, coming to the US in mid-2018) for next time.

So until then I’ll owe you two of ‘em. One each for Mr Rosales, and Mr Smith.

Monday – gun day

After narrowing down the field for gun #1 last week, today I moved on to the second shooting of 2017. Trevon Johnson, a 17 year old boy was killed when officers were called to a domestic dispute, in what the Gun Violence Archive calls a “Officer Involved Incident.” It’s pretty grim.

That sent me into a wormhole of the guns that Chicago Police are allowed to carry, which has all sorts of rules and caveats about date of hire of the officer, age and caliber of the gun, and so on. This could go forever, but given that the officer was a “DuPage County sheriff’s deputy” (Chicago Tribune) and a department veteran (Daily Tribune) I would assume that he acquired his gun before 2015 (but if he does have a new one, then he will have to have purchased something that fires a 9mm Luger [Parabellum] for which several prescribed pistols are also listed). Thanks to departmental streamlining, finding out the weapon of a newer recruit would be easier, given that the ammunition and weapons permitted drastically reduces the options.

For the Chicago Police Department (CPD) the transition from operating with a force with many guns to one using only 9mm rounds (the previous ruling allowed .40 caliber S&W, and .45 ACP caliber weapons), had begun well before this shooting (see that last Chicago Sun-Times article for the reasons behind the switch.) For that reason, I eventually decided that I would draw a pistol in line with their currently prescribed weapons. Part of my research includes an article that I don’t want to link to (yup, another top 10, this time about weapons used by US law enforcement) which proclaims in the CPD “New recruits must purchase a Glock 17 or Glock 19, which they may keep or switch after their probation.” I’m out of time (and more importantly, will) to prove that – and given it is an article from 2014 we know that policy has since changed – however, the gun at the top of the current list for the CPD is a Glock 17. Given the Glock’s reputation in law enforcement, it’s position on my old standby List of Most Produced Firearms as second highest produced pistol (there’s up to 10 million in circulation) and the weight of (perhaps slightly questionable) evidence, it does seem to be the weapon I’m looking for.

Glock 17

The other options? A Glock 19 (same as the 17 but more compact), a “Springfield Armory in 9mm, Smith & Wesson in 9mm or a Sig Sauer in 9mm.

I’m pretty sure they’ll get their day…

Monday – gun day

Colt 1911. Drawing by Melissa Cameron, 2017

Last week I decided that a Sturm & Ruger Co pistol was to be my default pistol in this project, and it will be; I’ve narrowed down that search to a couple of their pistols, and introductions will be coming soon. But you may have noticed that the drawing above is of a Colt…

I could not find a Ruger (for short, from now on), in their regular models (read: highest selling, still in production) that had a chrome finish. And there’s so little about the weapon that killed Quonterio Davis, except that it was a “chrome semi-automatic pistol”. So the search was back on.

I went back to my top-5 of top-5’s list of pistols from last week. Most of those guns came in black, black or black. In fact, among the advertised regular finishes for these weapons, only in the Colt M1911 did I see a chrome version. And because you want to know, I found the two biggest gun stores as listed by the Washington Post as the “U.S. gun dealers with the most firearms traced over the past four years.” (article is admittedly from 2010 but is partially explained in the opening paragraphs) and used weapons found within their wares for my research.

The Colt 1911 has a long and storied history that I’m not going to get into here, apart from to say that it is on Wikipedia’s list of Most Produced Fire Arms (of Self-Loading Pistols it’s at #3, with over 5 million made [including variants], and is the only one of those 3 that’s made in the US – though I don’t know if they were all made here), and that it was originally made for the US government/armed forces, so has a long and storied career in military and policing.

While this is probably not the weapon that killed Davis, it fits the description and is a common pistol in the USA. And the version above comes in a finish called hard chrome.

Monday – Gun Day

To pick up where I left off last Monday, I’d just mentioned that around 71% of all homicides in 2012 involved hand guns. My next self-assigned task is to find the most popular hand gun in the USA, which is a harder ask than what it might look on paper. I have found out that of hand guns, pistols are more popular than revolvers, at least nowadays (The last time the USA manufactured more revolvers than pistols is 1986). According to this, in 2015 the US made more than 3.5 million pistols, (and it made over 100,000 thousand more rifles than that), I can’t tell if these stats includes those destined for the military (I hit a paywall, one in which I may yet invest). I realise this is just manufacturing, and does not account for weapons exported, but this NBC report from 2012 says that as of 2009, the Congressional Research Service puts the numbers at “an estimated 310 million firearms in the United States (not including weapons on military bases), of which 114 million were handguns, 110 million were rifles, and 86 million were shotguns.”

Looking over The United State Department of Justice – Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives publication Firearms Commerce in the United States: Statistical Annual Update 2015 (quoted above), it explicitly states that:

“The AFMER report excludes production for the U.S. military but includes firearms purchased by domestic law enforcement agencies”

According to their data, in recent years (I’m sticking as close to 2017 as I can) imports have well outstripped exports – 2013 imports of hand guns: 3,095,528, exports in same period: 188,889 (pistols: 167,653 + revolvers: 21,236).  And local manufacturing produced a combined total of 5,167,008 hand guns, the bulk of which (4,441,726) were pistols. So I think we can safely say that the 2015 figure above was not inclusive of military.

All of which proves what was intimated last week, the most popular US gun is a pistol. But what kind? No-one is handing out that data, unfortunately. When I searched I came up against a proliferation of less-than-adequate top ten lists; everyone with a vested interest, from gun store sites to news outlets (looking at you, CBS News) wants to give the curious reader a top 5, or 10, or 50. (I’m not going to run you, gentle reader, the risk of trashing your google mojo and ruining your online ad tracking data through one thoughtless click, so I’m not going to link those articles. I’ve done my utmost to protect myself, so I’ll let you know if I post anything even slightly questionable.)

Suffice to say, my top 5, culled from the #1 spot from six different most popular/best-selling gun lists, is:

01/ Kel-Tec PMR-30
01/ Colt M1911
01/ Smith & Wesson M&P Shield (this was a multiple #1 place-getter)
01/ Sturm, Ruger & Company
01/ Honor Guard 9mm

I’m sparing us all the images associated with these lists (often stills from movies; Mel Gibson and Bruce Willis are memorable repeat offenders) as well as a few other names that were repeated multiple times with similar placements in the lists.

The best list, in my own option, is the one I will finish with; a great Mother Jones top-10 which is safe for y’all to read. The subhead says it best:

“Meet the moguls making a killing from gun sales in the United States.”

Fully Loaded: Inside the Shadowy World of America’s 10 Biggest Gunmakers

Needless to say, their ten is a scorcher, and at #1 is a familiar name: Sturm Ruger. (That’s the Wikipedia link, and I recommend it over http://www.ruger-firearms.com/ any day.)

Now knowing that I simply don’t have the resources to find the biggest selling pistol of all time in the US (because, for better or worse, my search stops today. Hey, I know, surface barely scuffed, but this is just the first stage in building a collection of weapons on which to base an object work that will eventually be exhibited in a gallery, and I gots to move on…)  I’m going to work with a Sturm, Ruger & Company weapon as my default pistol, thanks to this research. This may or may not be the gun used in the homicides that I will now continue to focus on, but since Ruger is based in the US, makes the most amount of hand guns domestically in a year, is on my list of all lists in taking the biggest share of gun sales, and makes the bulk of its profit from hand guns (see the Mother Jones article quoted above for most of this detail) and since Ruger features in Wikipedia’s list of Most Produced Firearms with pistols, revolvers and rifles, I think they’re as good a candidate as any.

Now to decide which model.

 

// coda //

 

Oh shit.

 

Just reading the Sturm, Ruger & Co. Wikipedia link from above, and I see I need a second trigger warning.

“A Ruger AR-556 was used on November 5, 2017 in Sutherland Springs, Texas in the mass killing of 26 churchgoers who were praying at the First Baptist Church”

Monday – gun day

I want to know what guns were used in the first 59 killings of 2017, but I’m not sure if that information is going to be available. I checked the incident material on the Gun Violence Archive source list that gives the name and location of the victims, as well as links to police and new reports for each killing. Quonterio Davis, a Jefferson, Missouri resident, is the first person on my narrowed-down January 1, 2017 list (from last week’s post). The suspected killer is also named, but the weapon he used was not. A bit more digging found that Davis was shot with what a witness called a “chrome semi-automatic pistol”. I have not found a more detailed description, and I think that might involve having to find court documents.

In this research I think I’m likely to find that pretty common –  getting knowledge of the weapon or the rounds is maybe a bit more intel than people want to know. Then again, I may yet be surprised.

One thing that did not surprise was that the crime involved a hand gun. Wikipedia: “According to the FBI, in 2012, there were 8,897 total firearm-related homicides in the US, with 6,404 of those attributed to handguns.” Contributor Aude has even created a chart to visualise this:

By Aude – Self-published work by Aude, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1367669

An initial attempt at trying to find out the most popular handgun in the U.S. (at this stage, it looks like it’ll be a pistol,) to use as a proxy for a series of ‘unidentifiable pistol’ works, indicates that it could be another entire research project. Luckily, I found another great data source this week to add to the heavy-hitting Gun Archive. It’s called Statista: The Statistics Portal has Firearms in the U.S. – statistics and facts.

Monday – gun day

Just back from Canada, where you’ll be happy to know there are 30.8 guns per 100 residents, versus the USA, where there is over 100 guns per 100 residents. (see the above link for Wikipedia’s take, I’ve seen conflicting statistics that put the US rate at higher than the 101 guns per 100 people listed there.)

Anyway, that’s just a gentle aside.

Today’s topic is the beginning of my research for a new work. I wanted to see the first 50 or so gun deaths in the US for 2017. Cut to the absolutely incredible Gun Violence Archive, and their overwhelming score sheet. Naively I went in and just tried to get data on all the gun deaths of 2017 thus far, but unsurprisingly that’s too big a number; the website will only output results that run to about 18 web-pages, give or take. I had to narrow my search query, so I thought I’d go in for just the month of January. That was too big, so eventually I went for the first 10 days of January and got what I wanted and exported that to CSV.

Turned out that list gave me more than six times the amount of data than what I was in pursuit of. If I want to find out about the first 60-odd gun deaths in the USA for 2017, I only need to get the data of January 1st. The Gun Violence Archive’s count for gun deaths on January 1, 2017, is 63. Sixty-three lives lost to guns in one day, across the country (interactive Map of Jan 1 deaths).

As a microcosm of one year of killing (here’s just one of several web articles to put that at about 33,000 deaths annually), it’s doing well so far – the biggest single event this list says four people died, so it includes at least one mass shooting, which on average happens here on nine out of every ten days. The thing that actually surprised me in the key statistics for a year’s worth of deaths is that about two thirds of gun deaths annually in the US are suicides. (I don’t watch news or read newspapers regularly any more, so I can be surprised by the obvious sometimes.) I hear about so many other grave mistakes and serious offenses in the media I do follow that I missed that incredible statistic.

At least at first glance, the interactive map of 63 deaths seems to echo the general spread of the deaths over the country in the year to date, which Gun Violence Archive has prepared:

http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/charts-and-maps – October 23, 2017

It’s a big map. A quick guess is that the clusters echo the population distribution, but that’s research for another day.

 

Interesting aside: this map reminds me of a piece that I saw recently, which overlaid the locations of hate groups onto a map of the USA . It was a piece by artist (and recent Betty Bowen Award runner-up) Deborah F Lawrence  at the Speaking Out exhibition (disclaimer, yes, I’m in it).

Save

Monday – Gun day

Wow, a whole week has rolled around without an intervening post – sorry team, that wasn’t mean to happen, but the Northwest Jewelry and Metals Symposium took over my focus late last week (from making works for Bilk Gallery in Canberra – more on that soon…) and the whole weekend, and what can I say, it was a CORKER! The best yet. If you’re ever in the area for the third weekend in October, you HAVE to head to it. And I can say this with unbiased hand to unbiased heart, as I’ve been off the organising committee a full two symposia now 😉

So, it’s Monday – gun day, part II.

I have a bunch of gun research that stretches back to 2012, which I’ve decided to start sharing, and lucky for y’all, this seems to be the obvious place. I’m not trying to trigger anyone, so if you’re not keen on following this line of thought, know that on Monday (Tuesday in some time-zones,) there will be posts generated as a result of my past and ongoing gun research.

The above images comes from a really interesting post that I first saw a couple of years ago, in 2015. I see it semi-regularly, as the post has been open in my web-browser since the day I came across it. I found it really arresting, but I didn’t know what to do with it. It’s so affecting, however, that I now count it amongst my always-open tabs (there are a random assortment of site alongside this, not just my mail client.) When I occasionally run across it, I’ll again scroll through to see what 33,636 guns looks like.

The author of this really unusual ‘article’, Matt Haughey writes; “According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2013 all deaths due to firearms in the US amounted to 33,636 people.” He found a unique and very compelling way to visualise this, which proves really ‘sticky’ (you know what I mean?), at least to my brain.

I hope you take a look.