Date
25 March 2017
A girl stands behind a spread of firearms at a gun show. Researchers in Boston University say tighter background checks and traceable firearms can sharply reduce gun-related deaths. Photo: Internet
A girl stands behind a spread of firearms at a gun show. Researchers in Boston University say tighter background checks and traceable firearms can sharply reduce gun-related deaths. Photo: Internet

Background checks on gun buyers could save lives: US study

Tighter federal background checks on gun buyers and traceable firearms could sharply reduce gun deaths in the US, according to a study.

Boston University researchers say some state gun laws have little effect on the number of gun-related homicide and suicides, Reuters reports.

However, “stand your ground” laws, which allow people to use deadly force in self-defense even if fleeing is an option, tend to increase the number of gun deaths, they said in their findings published in the journal Lancet.

“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,” said Sandro Galea, dean of the School of Public Health at Boston University, an author of the study.

“Universal background checks for the purchase of firearms or ammunition, and firearm identification nationally could substantially reduce mortality in the US.”

About 90 people die of gun-related injuries, both homicides and suicides, in the US each day.

The study found that nationwide adoption of background check laws as well as measures making it easier to track spent ammunition back to the gun that fired it could reduce gun-related deaths by as much as 80 percent.

The study looked at how deaths in 2010 were influenced by gun laws put into place in 25 states the year before.

It found that closing loopholes allowing gun buyers to avoid background checks when purchasing guns was the most effective way of reducing gun-related deaths.

Other regulations, including requiring more stringent record-keeping by gun dealers or mandating gun locks, had no measurable effect on gun-related deaths.

Opposition to gun regulations is strong in the Republican-led US Congress, which has resisted measures pushed by Democratic President Barack Obama after a series of mass shootings including the massacre of 26 young children and educators in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012.

In a January executive order, Obama imposed gun control measures that included requiring more gun buyers to undergo background checks.

– Contact us at [email protected]

FL/RA

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe