Can Laws Reduce Gun Violence?


On 10-11-16 Eric Lichtblau wrote in the N. Y. Times, “A growing body of evidence from academics, advocacy groups and others supports the link between gun restrictions and a reduction in violence.”

Here are some of his main points:

  • Gun fatalities in states with weaker laws are more than three times as high as in those states with tougher restrictions, including background checks or permits.
  • Voters in 4 states with gun measures on the ballot — California, Maine, Nevada and Washington — appear likely to approve toughened restrictions next month,
  • Gun-control advocates have turned increasingly to state ballot initiatives and legislative races — with a string of successes in the last few years.
  • 8 states have begun requiring universal background checks since the mass shooting in 2013 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, bringing the total number to 18.
  • If voters in Nevada and Maine approve their ballot measures requiring background checks next month, about 50% of the nation’s population will be required to undergo comprehensive checks in gun purchases,
  • The Center for American Progress used 10 gun-crime and violence indicators for each state, including homicides, suicides and accidental shootings, and weighed them against how restrictive a state’s gun laws are. The findings indicated a “strong” correlation between stricter gun laws and lower rates of violence, said Chelsea Parsons, one of the report’s authors.
  • States with relatively tough gun laws, including Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York, generally had much lower rates of gun violence, while those with looser gun laws — including Alaska, Louisiana and Mississippi — had higher rates, the study found.
  • Daniel Webster, an expert on gun violence at Johns Hopkins University, who reviewed the findings, said its methods were scientifically sound and expanded on previous research on the issue. “I can’t think of a study that’s as encompassing in all the different metrics — suicide, homicides, accidental shootings, mass shootings, police shootings,” Mr. Webster said.
  • Mr. Webster led previous studies at Johns Hopkins that found a significant increase in gun homicides in Missouri after the state repealed its gun licensing law — and a significant decrease in gun homicides in Connecticut after it enacted a new licensing requirement.
  • New data, combined with past research, showed “an amazing consistency” in establishing a link between gun laws and reduced violence, Webster said.
  •  For understanding your child’s personality, read Elizabeth’s book, The Enneagram of Parenting.


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