JAMA Study: Strict Gun Laws Reduce Firearm Homicides

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Research papers published Monday by the Journal of the American Medical Association conclude that stricter firearm laws are associated with fewer firearm homicides, and the implementation of Florida’s stand-your-ground law was associated with increased firearm homicides, reports Popular Science. These findings may sound obvious. But since Congress has essentially withheld all funding for gun violence research for the last 20 years, large-scale studies of this sort have been rare. One new JAMA paper, first-authored by Lois K. Lee of Harvard Medical School, examined five types of gun laws and found strong evidence that laws strengthening background checks and purchase permits helped decrease gun homicide rates. The researchers did not find strong evidence that laws focusing on trafficking, child safety and assault weapons decreased firearm homicides. Overall, they found that “stronger gun policies were associated with decreased rates of firearm homicide, even after adjusting for demographic and sociologic factors.”

A second JAMA paper tracked the effects of Florida’s stand-your-ground law since its implementation in 2005. David K. Humphreys of Oxford and his colleagues examined gun death data for the years leading up to 2005 and the years after, then compared them to other states’ data for the same years. They found that gun homicides increased in the years following 2005, while prior to 2005 they had remained relatively stable. The comparison states (New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and Virginia) which don’t have stand-your-ground laws, did not have similar increases, strengthening the evidence that this is a Florida trend associated with stand-your-ground laws, not part of a national trend.

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