In the US, more than 90 people are killed by guns every day.
A new study on gun deaths in the United States offer some shocking statistics on how bad the problem is — more than 90 people are killed by guns every day in the US. In the last 40 years, more Americans have died from gun violence than terrorist attacks, and over 8,500 people were killed by guns in the first 10 months of 2015 alone.
There’s no denying that it’s a grave problem that desperately needs a fix — and fast.
A nationwide study from the School of Public Health at Boston University suggests that a solution could lie in just 3 gun laws, which could potentially reduce gun deaths in the US by over 80 percent if they were implemented on a national level.
The research, published in the journal The Lancet, shows that only 9 of 25 state gun laws are effective at reducing gun-related deaths.
“Very few of the existing state-specific firearms laws are associated with reduced mortality, and this evidence underscores the importance of focusing on relevant and effective firearms legislation,” study senior author Sandro Galea, dean of the School of Public Health at Boston University, said in a press statement.
According to the research, the relevant and effective laws are: requiring firearm identification through ballistic imprinting or microstamping (essentially requiring a fingerprint to be able to fire the gun), ammunition background checks, and universal background checks for all gun purchases.
The firearm identification laws were found to reduce the projected mortality risk by 84 percent, the ammunition background checks reduced it by 82 percent, and the universal background checks reduced it by 61 percent.
The lead author of the study, Bindu Kalesan, says that this is the first study to assess a broad array of gun laws and other relevant state-level data. The researchers constructed a state-level dataset by pulling information from a number of different areas, like counts of firearm-related deaths in each state in 2010 and state-specific characteristics that included gun ownership rates, non-firearm homicide rates, and unemployment rates.
“The findings suggest that very few of the existing state gun-control laws actually reduce gun deaths, highlighting the importance of focusing on relevant and effective gun legislation,” she says. “Background checks for all people buying guns and ammunition, including private sales, are the most effective laws we have to reduce the number of gun deaths in the United States.”
In order to get to these findings, the scientists used a statistical model to determine the independent link of a number of firearm laws with gun-related homicides, suicides, and overall deaths. The researchers also projected the potential reduction of these mortality rates if the three most effective firearm laws were implemented at the federal level.
The researchers say that the link between state levels of gun ownership and gun deaths was already well established, but less is known about the effectiveness of existing gun laws.
Another recent study — the largest ever study conducted on gun laws — found strong evidence for a link between gun control and fewer gun-related deaths around the world, so there’s hope that firearm regulation would really make a differences. In the US, we could certainly use a nice 80 percent decrease in gun deaths!