Are US gun laws effective in controlling gun violence?
A nationwide study led by Boston University researchers that analyzes the impact of gun-control laws in the US has found that just 9 of 25 state laws are effective in reducing firearm deaths. However, ballistic imprinting and background checks could reduce gun deaths by more than 80 percent nationwide.
According to the research, published in The Lancet, laws requiring firearm identification through ballistic imprinting or microstamping were found to reduce the projected mortality risk by 84 percent; ammunition background checks by 82 percent; and universal background checks for all gun purchases by 61 percent.
Federal implementation of all three laws would be projected to reduce the national firearm death rate—10.1 per 100,000 people in 2010—to 0.16 per 100,000, the study says.
The research team constructed a state-level dataset using counts of firearm-related deaths in each state in 2010; information on 25 state laws implemented in 2009; and state-specific characteristics including gun ownership rates, non-firearm homicide rates, and unemployment rates. Of the 25 laws, 9 were associated with reductions in mortality, while 9 others—such as the so-called “Stand your Ground” laws, allowing individuals to use deadly force in self-defense when faced with a perceived threat—were associated with increased mortality. Seven other laws were found to have no correlation with gun-related death rates.
The researchers used a statistical model to determine the independent association of various firearms laws with gun-related homicides, suicides and overall deaths. They also projected the potential reduction of mortality rates if the three most effective firearms laws were enacted at the federal level.
Laws requiring background checks for both guns and ammunition were the most effective legislation identified in the study.
More than 90 people are killed every day by guns in the US. In 2010, 31,672 gun deaths were recorded, equivalent to 10.1 deaths per 100,000 people.