More severe gun laws, fewer gun deaths


By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, April 27, 2021 (HealthDay News) – The more gun laws a state has, the lower they are suicide and murder rates, according to a new U.S. study.

Gun violence in the United States is a public health crisis. In 2017, nearly 67,000 Americans died by suicide and homicide. Investigators reported that guns were involved in about half of suicides and 74% of murders.

But in recent decades, “as strict as the states [on gun ownership] increased, suicide and homicide rates decreased, “said lead author John Gunn in a press release from Rutgers University. He is a postdoctoral researcher at the Rutgers School of Public Health and the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center. .

To assess the association between gun laws and suicide and homicide rates, the researchers analyzed data collected across the country from 1991 to 2017.

After considering gun ownership rates and other factors, the study found that the number of gun laws in a state was a significant predictor of suicide and murder rates.


“With nearly 40,000 deaths annually from gun violence, regulations that may limit access to firearms appear to reduce mortality at the state level,” said study co-author Bernadette Hohl, assistant professor of at the Rutgers School of Public Health.

“Implementation based on evidence-based firearms regulations across the United States has the potential to significantly reduce the toll of gun violence,” Hohl added.

The study was published on April 13 in Journal of Public Health.According to the authors, the researchers were the first to focus on the impact of the total number of firearms regulations in each state.

Previous studies have found associations between the state’s suicide and homicide rates and specific weapons laws, such as waiting periods and universal background checks. Most research has shown that specific firearms laws are associated with reducing gun-related deaths.

The study’s authors noted that more research is needed to assess the link between gun laws and suicide and murder rates.

“It will be necessary to assess the implications of changes in the law, enforce regulations and whether there is a correlation with the decrease in violent crime,” Gunn said.


More information

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SOURCE: Rutgers University, press release, April 22, 2021

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