There’s a lot of rhetoric from all sides of the gun control debate. A recent study out of Johns Hopkins aimed to cut through some of that talk and get some real data about the effect of stricter gun laws. The result? In short, making it harder to get guns reduces gun suicides significantly.
The researchers looked at data out of Connecticut and Missouri. In the former, a 1995 state law required gun buyers to undergo a background check and obtain a license; the latter repealed a gun licensing law in 2007. They found that the stricter gun law was linked to a 15.4 percent drop in gun suicides. In contrast, when Missouri made it easier for residents to get guns, suicides by firearm went up 16.1 percent.
In 2013, more than 21,000 people in the United States killed themselves using a firearm (compared to 13,000 gun homicides). “Contrary to popular belief, suicidal thoughts are often transient, which is why delaying access to a firearm during a period of crisis could prevent suicide,” said study author Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research.
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