Lifestyle & Belief

More gun laws add up to fewer gun-related deaths, new study concludes


An assortment of rifles and shotguns at a gun expo in El Paso, Texas, USA, on March 13, 2011.



States with more gun laws have considerably fewer gun-related deaths than states with laxer rules, a new study carried out by Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health found this week, adding to the current US gun control dialogue.

The study, published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal, was conducted in all 50 US states, and analyzed US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics ranging from 2010 to to 2007.

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Researchers created a "legislative strength" score by looking at five categories of laws, then measured the score against the gun mortality rates. The highest possible score a 28, given to Massachusetts, while the lowest was a flat zero, doled out to Utah.

The study concluded that legislation against firearms and lower rates of both firearm suicide and firearm homicides were linked to one another, indicating that states with the strongest laws saw 6.4 fewer deaths per 100,000 than those that restricted firearms less extensively.

Study authors stressed that the findings did not constitute a cause and effect relationship, and added that "further studies are necessary to define the nature of this association."

"Our motivation was really to understand what are the interventions that can be done to reduce firearm mortality," said lead study author, pediatrician, and researcher at Boston Children's Hospital of the study, wrote CBS News.

"Policy makers can really draw no conclusion from this study," emergency physician and director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis to USA Today, noting that the study provides little insight into what laws work, and what laws do not.