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Drop in Firearm Deaths Linked to More Restrictive Gun Policies

Restrictive gun policy has 0.98 probability of being associated with decrease in firearm-related deaths


TUESDAY, June 16, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Implementation of more restrictive gun policies may result in a small decrease in firearm-related deaths, according to a study published online June 15 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Terry L. Schell, Ph.D., from the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California, and colleagues examined the effects of three classes of gun laws on total firearm-related deaths: child access prevention (CAP), right to carry (RTC), and stand your ground (SYG) laws. Using Bayesian methods and a modeling approach to address methodological limitations of prior evaluations, the analyses exploited changes in these policies from 1970 to 2016.

The researchers found that CAP laws had the strongest evidence of an association with the firearm-related death rate, with a probability of 0.97 that the death rate decreased at six years after implementation. For RTC and SYG laws, the probability of being associated with an increase in firearm-related deaths was 0.87 and 0.77, respectively. The restrictive gun policy regime (having a CAP law without an RTC or SYG law) had a 0.98 probability of being associated with a decrease in firearm-related deaths relative to the permissive policy regime, corresponding to a decrease of 11 percent in firearm-related deaths.

"While there is still uncertainty in our estimates, these findings suggest that moving from the most-permissive to most-restrictive policy regime concerning how individuals store or use firearms is likely to reduce the number of firearm deaths," Schell said in a statement.

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