Nearly 300,000 lives could be saved in next decade with gun laws, says study

The Everytown for Gun Safety group says all states should adopt measures like those implemented in California and New York

Michelle Del Rey
Saturday 06 January 2024 01:48 GMT
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Nearly 300,000 American lives could be saved if all states adopted gun control measures similar to those in California and New York, a new study by a leading gun control non-profit has found.

California was the first state to enact consumer safety standards for firearms, require school districts to notify families about secure firearm storage and pass a law funding gun violence prevention programs.

The state has also spent around $200m funding gun violence intervention.

According to Everytown for Gun Safety, which tracks gun violence data, all states should implement background checks, purchase permits, extreme risk laws and secure storage protocols, while doing away with permitless carry provisions and stand-your-ground statutes.

Based on the organisation’s rankings, the top 16 states had at least five of those policies in place. California was listed as the number one state for gun safety, while New York was the second. Arkansas had the weakest gun laws and was listed last on the rankings.

The state had 22.1 deaths for every 100,000 residents. Meanwhile, California had 8.7 and New York had 5.3.

Still, strict gun regulations are not always enough to make a particular state safer if its neighbours have weaker laws, the non-profit noted, referring to Illinois and Maryland as examples.

Up until 2020, Virginia was the number one supplier of Maryland crime guns until the state passed stricter purchase laws. On the flip side, though New Hampshire and Rhode Island have weaker gun laws, their overall rates of gun deaths are low because of strict laws enacted in neighbouring states.

High gun ownership rates also played a hand in the levels of gun deaths a state would most likely experience. States like Nevada and New Mexico, which have typically higher than average gun ownership rates, had higher numbers of firearm-related fatalities.

Per the new research, states could stand to benefit from federal laws but the current system is not as effective as it could be because it does not require background checks on all gun sales and gives special immunity to the gun industry.

The Independent has reached out to the National Rifle Association for comment.

The gun safety organisation has called on state legislators to step in and pave the way for additional gun violence intervention measures.

“State policymakers should protect their residents by filling the many gaps in federal law, and must also take action where state power is at its strongest, such as requiring a process for domestic abusers to turn in guns when they become prohibited from having them,” the study states.

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