More gun laws = fewer deaths

50-state study sheds light on gun violence
Associated Press
Mar 7, 2013


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 well-known gun control advocacy group. They compared states by dividing them into four equal-sized groups according to the number of gun laws.

The results were published online Wednesday in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

More than 30,000 people nationwide die from guns every year nationwide, and there's 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 Dr. Eric Fleegler, the study's lead author and an emergency department pediatrician and researcher at Boston Children's Hospital.

He said his study suggests but doesn't prove that gun laws — or something else — led to fewer gun deaths.

Fleegler is also among hundreds of doctors who have signed a petition urging President Barack Obama and Congress to pass gun safety legislation, a campaign organized by the advocacy group Doctors for America.

Gun rights advocates have argued that strict gun laws have failed to curb high murder rates in some cities, including Chicago and Washington, D.C. Fleegler said his study didn't examine city-level laws, while gun control advocates have said local laws aren't as effective when neighboring states have lax laws.

Previous research on the effectiveness of gun laws has had mixed results, and it's a "very challenging" area to study, said Dr. Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center For Gun Policy. He was not involved in the current study.

The strongest kind of research would require comparisons between states that have dissimilar gun laws but otherwise are nearly identical, "but there isn't a super nice twin for New Jersey," for example, a state with strict gun laws, Webster noted.

Fleegler said his study's conclusions took into account factors also linked with gun violence, including poverty, education levels and race, which vary among the states.

The average annual gun death rate ranged from almost 3 per 100,000 in Hawaii to 18 per 100,000 in Louisiana. Hawaii had 16 gun laws, and along with New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts was among states with the most laws and fewest deaths. States with the fewest laws and most deaths included Alaska, Kentucky, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

But there were outliers: South Dakota, for example, had just two guns laws but few deaths.

Editorial author Dr. Garen Wintemute, director the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis, said the study doesn't answer which laws, if any, work.

Wintemute said it's likely that gun control measures are more readily enacted in states with few gun owners — a factor that might have more influence on gun deaths than the number of laws.



JAMA Internal Medicine:



AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner can be reached at



2cents's picture

Here we go New York City!


-- you have there a TRICK question, fewer GUN deaths, it does not mean FEWER MURDERS. LOOK at MASSACHUSETTS, gov; MITT Romeny in 2004 resigned the GUN BAN BILL, but did nothing to curb the MURDER RATE. Murder rate still grew, only to find other ways to murder.

2cents's picture

Did you notice the gun suicide rate? There are other ways to fill the void!


Ahh yes, reading the study, it becomes obvious that they cherry picked data to get the result that they were looking for. Washington DC and Chicago are two cities with the strictest gun laws in the nation. Both have seen murder rates skyrocket while others have seen their rates go down. Any study concerning guns where the AMA is involved should be highly suspect. It is no secret that the AMA is notoriously anti-gun, which is why I know a number of doctors who do not belong to nor support it.

Eph 2 8-10

Really? Are criminals going to obey new gun laws? I think not!


Enforce the laws you allready have!


chicago! on of the strictest gun controls you will find and one of the highest gun related crime areas.

why do these studies always seem to try and figure out a way to keep guns away from law abiding citizens? here's an idea that may help curb gun crimes. tougher sentencing! although many are against the death penalty a ramping up of this for murderers could also be a deterant.


Yes because Chicago (who has crazy gun laws) curbed its murder rate by guns? Any data that has is done by anything "federal" is skeptical at best.

Simple Enough II

Hmmm, I question the cherry picked data. And yes we have had a surge in suicides, now i would like to see how many were by veterans who were on anti-depressents. How many of the suicides were by people who were on anti-depressents, how many of the victims where murdered by people on anti-depressents? I bet we open a huge can of worms. As for the rest of the data, as long as you try to rehabilitate these thugs you will still have "gang violence".

Just Another Voice

Very good point. Why deal with one of the "roots" of the problem? The issue of mental health and medicinal therapies will be ignored right now, because it doesn't help the "agenda" of what groups and politicians want to accomplish.


Interesting twist.

Star Parker's ad equates gun control laws to Jim Crow Days:

"God made men, but Sam Colt made them equal."

2cents's picture

Thanks for the link. Here is another link about the same incident.
"Once he smashed the glass out he stepped into the residence, and she used the shotgun to fire one shot which hit the intruder center of the chest and he fell back out of the house,"

If Piers Morgan frantically calls 911 during a home invasion, please post the audio of the 911 call. I would like to hear it.

"Piers Morgan Berates Sheriff For Telling Citizens To Arm Themselves"


Guns, we don't need no stinking guns, Obozo and big brother will kill us with drones.

It's a shame we have to find out what is really going on from foreign newspapers!

2cents's picture

Just go get one of these to keep in your garage!

Erie County Resident

LMAO!!!! Good one 2cents.

tell it how it is



Thugs will always have guns and shoot people regardless of the laws.

Don't outlaw law abiding citizens from protecting themselves.


My doors are not locked at night to protect me! There locked to protect you!

Erie County Resident

Wow look at these stellar information providers.

CDC - Hacks ordered to "find" these results by Obama

Dr. Garen Wintemute, director the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California - A group from the liberal state of gun haters.

Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a well-known gun control advocacy group.

Not one of these sources look at all the facts from an unbiased view, all lean so far left that they could fall over at any time.

Now how about Obamas hometown of Chicago ... Strictest gun laws in the country WITH the HIGHEST murder rate. Now go figure... That can't be true just ask anyone of these sources.

Yet the liberal media keeps presenting this garbage as fact.


Gun laws mean nothing to criminals and the insane. They want to kill you, they will find a way (and a gun). Gun laws just keep regular, law-abiding citizens in line.

The Big Dog's back

Every time there is an article about guns, the gun nuts come out.


Big Dog's Law: Dog will eventually write something irrelevant and nit-witted.

The Big Dog's back

Also just nuts.


Thanks for the confirm pooch.


we, the gun "nuts" are always out here. no need to wait for an article. no rest for the wicked you know..

tell it how it is

It says this is based on an only 3 year study. Making suggestions on this matter in our current state NEEDS much more research. This is a right of ours, not a privilege. In order to actually prove such a statement requires at least a decade of studying and surveying, preferably even more time. Not just a couple of years.


I think i just read about every comment here in my head with a country accent. Every period was a pause for spitting chew. Every comma meant the poster was sipping their Busch Light!

tell it how it is

Don't like it? Don't read it.

Not Busch Light, duh. They're either drinking Busch heavy or Budweiser. Or if it's a true Ohioan, it'd be a Great Lakes. Only wussies drink light beer.


"More gun laws = fewer deaths". The way this reads is that more gun laws have curbed the effects of auto accidents, cancer ect. It may have been more gun laws that lowered the rate of GUN related deaths, or it could be that there are millions of more guns in the hands of law abiding citizens. How about the headline "More guns = less violent crimes, and gun murders"? I like how the SR is now just copy and pasting its stories from the AP to their website...You know what a "wise man once said" about assuming?...I could say the same about your comment except substitute the chew for escargo and Busch for some fugi water but assuming that would make me an...

Darwin's choice

So, by this same headline logic, More immigration laws, less illegals !!! Make it happen obama! Wait, he'll be releasing them soon.......


Women Take Biden's Shotgun Advice


How about this bill?

Any person who proposes such a bill should have to be confined to a mental institution for a minimum of 30 days. Then again every two years as an update.

Also, any person who voted for this woman should have to undergo intensive therapy for life. They are obviously not capable of making proper decisions.