More Gun Laws Lead To Fewer DeathsMain Category: Public Health
Also Included In: Psychology / Psychiatry
Article Date: 08 Mar 2013
More gun laws in a state may lead to fewer firearm deaths from suicides and homicides.
The finding came from a new study on all 50 states and was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Each year, over 30,000 people die in the United States as a result of injuries from firearms.
Previous research said that guns are more likely to be stored unsafely in homes with adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17, which may result in serious, awful accidents.
The team of researchers, led by Eric W. Fleegler, M.D., M.P.H., from Boston Children's Hospital, Massachusetts, examined deaths associated with firearms reported to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) using the Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System from 2007 through 2010.
In order to develop a "legislative strength score", they also analyzed state-level firearm legislation across 5 categories of laws.
Statistical analysis was then used to calculate the association of that score with mortality rates.
The researchers explained:
"In an analysis of all states using data from 2007 through 2010, we found that a higher number of firearm laws in a state was associated with a lower rate of firearm fatalities in the state. ... It is important to note that our study was ecological and cross-sectional and could not determine cause-and-effect relationship."
There were a total of 121,084 fatalities associated with firearms over the four-year study period.
The mean state-based firearm death rates differed across all states. Louisiana had the highest - 17.9 per 100,000 individuals per year, while Hawaii had the lowest - 2.9 per 100,000 people each year.
Yearly firearm legislative strength scores varied from 0 (Utah) to 24 (Massachusetts) of 28 potential points, according to the scientists.
Results showed that the states with the highest legislative strength scores (more than or equal to 9) had a lower overall death rate compared to those with the lowest scores (less than or equal to 2).
The absolute rate difference was 6.64 deaths per 100,000 people each year.
The states with the most laws had a lower firearm suicide rate compared to the states with the fewest laws, with the absolute rate difference being 6.25 fatalities per 100,000 individuals per year.
A past study suggested that suicide prevention may be broadened by addressing the patients' access to guns.
The states with the most laws also had a lower firearm homicide rate - absolute rate difference 0.40 deaths per 100,000 individuals per year - than the states with the fewest laws.
A previous study said that gun-related homicide among young men increased significantly between 1999 and 2005.
The authors said:
"In conclusion, we found an association between the legislative strength of a state's firearm laws - as measured by a higher number of laws - and a lower rate of firearm fatalities. The association was significant for firearm fatalities overall and for firearm suicide and firearm homicide deaths, individually. As our study could not determine a cause-and-effect relationship, further studies are necessary to define the nature of this association."
Experts have said that manufacturers of guns should be required to bear vicarious financial liability for the harm experienced by innocent bystanders who have been injured by the criminal use of their products.
Written by Sarah Glynn
Copyright: MediLexicon International Ltd
Original article posted on Medical News Today.
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