Gun Laws (that) Work

One of the big questions in gun policy work in the United States is their effectiveness. Do gun laws and regulations work? Though the United States’ response to the COVID-19 outbreak might leave you wondering if we don’t know the answer simply because we don’t have the research abilities, this would not be true. Rather, it is the lobbying might of the National Rifle Association (NRA) that has assured that the Federal Government provide no support to gun research. This leaves a small handful of studies from which to try to learn. Recently, researchers at Rand Corporation were able to do just that.

From the smattering of gun research available, the researchers found variable consensus across the findings. Below I list out their strong and moderate consensus findings. I’ve linked to the article below where their other findings and more context is provided.

Fairly strong evidence

1) There is a “clear consensus” that “stand-your-ground laws, which allow people to use guns to defend themselves in public even if retreating is an option, result in higher overall rates of gun homicide. The higher rates aren’t simply from ‘bad guys’ getting shot; the research shows the additional deaths created by stand-your-ground laws far surpass the documented cases of defensive gun use in the United States.”

2) There was also a broad consensus that child access prevention laws, which set requirements for how guns must be stored at home, are effective in reducing self-inflicted gun injuries among children and adults.

Less strong

3) there is moderate evidence that banning gun purchases by people under domestic violence restraining orders decreases intimate-partner homicides.

4) moderate evidence that background checks reduce gun homicides, and

5) moderate evidence that waiting periods for firearms purchases reduce gun suicides and overall homicide.

These findings and others plus more detail on the context can be found at the original Washington Post article


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