State Gun Laws May Help Curb Violence Across State Lines: Study

A new study led by PISC Past Trainee, Christopher Morrison, PhD, along with PISC Scholars Elinore Kaufman, MD, David Humphreys, PhD, and PISC Executive Director, Douglas Wiebe, PhD, examined the associations between within-state firearm laws and firearm homicide while accounting for interference from laws in other nearby states. Around 14,000 American civilians die and over 75,000 people are treated in emergency departments because of gun violence every year. This study adds evidence that the count and composition of states’ gun laws affect within-state homicide incidence.

Firearm Homicide Incidence, Within-State Firearm Laws, and Interstate Firearm Laws in US Counties finds that strong state firearm laws are associated with fewer firearm homicides—both within the state where the laws are enacted and across state lines. Conversely, weak firearm laws in one state are linked to higher rates of homicides in neighboring states. “Gun violence is a public health crisis in the United States. Research has demonstrated that strong gun laws can reduce this burden. It’s now becoming clear that weak gun laws don’t only drive up gun violence within their own borders, they also affect gun violence in neighboring states.” Says Morrison.

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