Study: As State Gun Laws Go Up, Firearm Deaths Go Down … But Why?

(Photo: Scott Olson)

(Photo: Scott Olson)

In a new review, researchers from Harvard and Boston Children’s Hospital crunched the numbers looking at firearm-related fatalities and firearm legislation across the U.S. Their conclusion: more laws in a state are associated with fewer deaths, across the board — as well as for homicides and suicides individually.

The researchers worked with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence to calculate “legislative strength scores.” The center weights laws according to such factors as background checks on gun sales, permit-to-purchase requirements, and limiting handgun purchases to one a month.

The writers stress their study could not determine cause and effect, and more research is needed.

How many gun laws are there, overall? That’s hard to determine, too, say the authors. From the study:

It is challenging to calculate the exact number of firearm laws: a single law may have multiple parts; laws are potentially passed at the national, state, county, and city level; and there is no repository available for tallying these laws.5 The factoid that there are “20 000 laws governing firearms”5 has been erroneously quoted since 1965, but the most recent and reliable estimate, performed in 1999, counted about 300 state firearm laws.6

Here’s a chart from the study showing the association between household firearm ownership and firearm deaths. For you non-statisticians out there, focus on the black line:

(Source: JAMA Internal Medicine)

(Source: JAMA Internal Medicine)

The researchers also include statistics on firearm deaths for 2010:

  • 16,259 total homicides, 68 percent by firearms — or 11,056 firearm-related homicides
  • 38,364 total suicides, 51 percent by firearms — 19,566 firearm-related suicides

Learn More:

U.S. Gun Murders: Visualizing the Numbers (KQED’s Lowdown)

Related
  • http://www.facebook.com/sam.spade.904108 Sam Spade

    Wrong, actually

    State
    RANKING BY

    GUN MURDER
    BRADY
    RATING

    1 BEST
    WHITE RANKING

    Maine
    45
    25
    1

    Vermont
    51
    27
    2

    New Hampshire
    50
    27
    3

    West Virginia
    35
    39
    4

    Iowa
    47
    25
    5

    North Dakota
    48
    47
    6

    Wyoming
    43
    39
    7

    Idaho
    46
    47
    8

    Montana
    39
    47
    9

    Kentucky
    24
    47
    10

    Nebraska
    33
    29
    11

    Minnesota
    41
    17
    12

    Utah
    44
    50
    13

    Wisconsin
    34
    41
    14

    South Dakota
    40
    39
    15

    Indiana
    31
    39
    16

    Oregon
    42
    15
    17

    Kansas
    30
    39
    18

    Pennsylvania
    12
    10
    19

    Ohio
    27
    25
    20

    Rhode Island
    36
    8
    21

    Missouri
    3
    39
    22

    Massachusetts
    32
    3
    23

    Colorado
    38
    15
    24

    Washington
    37
    15
    25

    Connecticut
    28
    5
    26

    Michigan
    6
    11
    27

    Tennessee
    29
    22
    28

    Arkansas
    16
    39
    29

    Florida
    9
    41
    30

    Oklahoma
    19
    47
    31

    Arizona
    11
    50
    32

    Nevada
    17
    29
    33

    Delaware
    7
    18
    34

    Illinois
    23
    9
    35

    New Jersey
    22
    2
    36

    Virginia
    18
    19
    37

    North Carolina
    20
    12
    38

    Alabama
    21
    17
    39

    Texas
    15
    39
    40

    Alaska
    25
    50
    41

    New York
    26
    4
    42

    South Carolina
    5
    22
    43

    New Mexico
    14
    39
    44

    Georgia
    10
    22
    45

    Maryland
    4
    7
    46

    Louisiana
    2
    47
    47

    Mississippi
    8
    39
    48

    California
    13
    1
    49

    District of
    Columbia
    1
    1
    50

    Hawaii
    49
    6
    51

  • NoMoreMarxistsInDC

    Wrong! AS STATE LAWS GO UP, FIREARM DEATHS GO UP!!!!

    This is known as “demicide”–murder by government.

    Just ask the Jews in Nazi Germany–The Nazis killed over 12 Million people (including 6 Million Jews) because of gun control laws.

    The Soviet Union killed over 40 Million because of gun control laws.

    The Japanese Imperial Government killed over 5 Million because of gun control laws.

    Communist China has killed over 70 Million because of gun control laws.

    Over 290 Million people were murdered by their governments in the 20th Century.

    When gun laws go up, so do firearms deaths–caused by tyrannical governments.