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Gun Control in the United States


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United States
Cross-sectional studies

In 1983, a cross-sectional study of all 50 U.S. states found that the six states with the strictest gun laws (according to the National Rifle Association) had suicide rates that were approximately 3/100,000 people lower than in other states, and that these states' suicide rates were 4/100,000 people lower than those of states with the least restrictive gun laws. A 2003 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine looked at the restrictiveness of gun laws and suicide rates in men and women in all 50 U.S. states and found that states whose gun laws were more restrictive had lower suicide rates among both sexes.] In 2004, another study found that the effect of state gun laws on gun-related homicides was "limited". A 2005 study looked at all 50 states in the U.S. and the District of Columbia, and found that no gun laws were associated with reductions in firearm homicide or suicide, but that a "shall-issue" concealed carry law may be associated with increased firearm homicide rates. A 2011 study found that firearm regulation laws in the United States have "a significant deterrent effect on male suicide". A 2013 study found that in the United States, "A higher number of firearm laws in a state are associated with a lower rate of firearm fatalities in the state." A 2016 study published in The Lancet found that of 25 laws studied, and in the time period examined (2008–2010), nine were associated with reduced firearm mortality (including both homicide and suicide), nine were associated with increased mortality, and seven had an inconclusive association. The three laws most strongly associated with reduced firearm mortality were laws requiring universal background checks, background checks for ammunition sales, and identification for guns. In an accompanying commentary, David Hemenway noted that this study had multiple limitations, such as not controlling for all factors that may influence gun-related deaths aside from gun control laws, and the use of 29 explanatory variables in the analysis.

Other studies comparing gun control laws in different U.S. states include a 2015 study which found that in the United States, "stricter state firearm legislation is associated with lower discharge rates" for nonfatal gun injuries. A 2014 study that also looked at the United States found that children living in states with stricter gun laws were safer. Another study looking specifically at suicide rates in the United States found that the four handgun laws examined (waiting periods, universal background checks, gun locks, and open carrying regulations) were associated with "significantly lower firearm suicide rates and the proportion of suicides resulting from firearms." The study also found that all four of these laws (except the waiting-period one) were associated with reductions in the overall suicide rate. Another study, published the same year, found that states with permit to purchase, registration, and/or license laws for handguns had lower overall suicide rates, as well as lower firearm suicide rates. A 2014 study found that states that required licensing and inspections of gun dealers tended to have lower rates of gun homicides. Another study published the same year, analyzing panel data from all 50 states, found that stricter gun laws may modestly reduce gun deaths. A 2016 study found that U.S. military veterans tend to commit suicide with guns more often than the general population, thereby possibly increasing state suicide rates, and that "the tendency for veterans to live in states without handgun legislation may exacerbate this phenomenon." California has exceptionally strict gun sales laws, and a 2015 study found that it also had the oldest guns recovered in crimes of any states in the U.S.. The same study concluded that "These findings suggest that more restrictive gun sales laws and gun dealer regulations do make it more difficult for criminals to acquire new guns first purchased at retail outlets." Another 2016 study found that stricter state gun laws in the United States reduced suicide rates. Another 2016 study found that U.S. states with lenient gun control laws had more gun-related child injury hospital admissions than did states with stricter gun control laws. A 2017 study found that suicide rates declined more in states with universal background check and mandatory waiting period laws than in states without these laws. Another 2017 study found that states without universal background check and/or waiting period laws had steeper increases in their suicide rates than did states with these laws. A third 2017 study found that "waiting period laws that delay the purchase of firearms by a few days reduce gun homicides by roughly 17%." A 2017 study in the Economic Journal found that mandatory handgun purchase delays reduced "firearm related suicides by between 2 to 5 percent with no statistically significant increase in non-firearm suicides," and were "not associated with statistically significant changes in homicide rates." Another 2017 study showed that laws banning gun possession by people subject to intimate partner violence restraining orders, and requiring such people to give up any guns they have, were associated with lower intimate partner homicide rates.

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