Study: States With Stricter Gun Control Laws Have Fewer Gun-Related Deaths
In his speech after the Umpqua Community College shooting in Roseburg, Oregon, President Obama challenged the media to compare rates of death from terrorism and shootings — in order to properly gauge the impact of gun violence in America and our disproportionate response to it.
News organizations answered the charge, and then some – with maps, charts, and reams of data on rates of gun violence – both in the United States and comparing America with other developed countries. America is #1 in many things, including sadly, our homicide rate — specifically gun homicides.
National Journal back in August posted a chart comparing the states with the fewest gun-related deaths to those with the most, and illustrating how their policies correlate to the number of deaths. At the extreme ends: Hawaii, with only 2.5 gun-related deaths per 100,000 people, has very strict regulations – residents must have a permit to own a gun, submit to a background check, wait 14 days before obtaining a handgun, and it is difficult for them to either get a concealed or an open-carry permit – compared to Alaska, with 19.8 deaths per 100,000 people, which has completely opposite policies on all those questions.
The two states are emblematic of those that fall between them on this chart; states with fewer gun-related deaths tend to make it difficult for residents to not only obtain a gun, but to carry them, while states with larger numbers of gun-related deaths make it easier.
The president told the White House press corps that claims from those opposed to gun control are “not borne out by the evidence.” And there has been no shortage of analysis on this subject. In fact, the shooting in Oregon gave many outlets an occasion to repurpose existing research on gun violence in America they had published in August after the WDBJ shooting or in June after Charleston — just with another update. Take for example Mother Jones, who, in a widely republished graph originally posted in 2013, after the Sandy Hook shooting, compared gun ownership by gun deaths for each state. Although not perfectly correlated, states with more guns tended to have more gun deaths. For even more gun statistics visualized, check out this array from Vox.
Photo: This is what kills people. (AP Photo/Robert Ray)
Video: Wochit via Tribune Content Agency