CHICAGO — States with the most gun-control laws have the fewest gun-related deaths, according to a study that suggests sheer quantity of measures might make a difference.
But the research leaves many questions unanswered and won’t settle the debate over how policymakers should respond to recent high-profile acts of gun violence.
In the dozen or so states with the most gun-control-related laws, far fewer people were shot to death or killed themselves with guns than in the states with the fewest laws, the study found. Overall, states with the most laws had a 42 percent lower gun-death rate than states with the least number of laws.
The results are based on an analysis of 2007-2010 gun-related homicides and suicides from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The researchers also used data on gun-control measures in all 50 states compiled by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a gun-control-advocacy group.
They compared states by dividing them into four equal-sized groups according to the number of gun laws.
More than 30,000 people nationwide die from guns every year nationwide, and there is evidence that gun-related violent crime rates have increased since 2008, a journal editorial noted.
During the four-years studied, there were nearly 122,000 gun deaths, 60 percent of them suicides.
“Our motivation was really to understand what are the interventions that can be done to reduce firearm mortality,” said Eric Fleegler, the study’s lead author.