Study does not find population-level changes in firearm homicide or suicide rates in California 10 years after comprehensive background check and violent misdemeanor policies enacted
UC Davis Healt November 19, 2018
A study of firearm homicide and suicide rates in the 10 years after California simultaneously mandated comprehensive background checks for nearly all firearm sales and a prohibition on gun purchase and possession for persons convicted of most violent misdemeanor crimes found no change in the rates of either cause of death from firearms through 2000.
The study, which posted online Oct. 12 as in press at the journal Annals of Epidemiology, was conducted by the Violence Prevention Research Program (VPRP) at UC Davis and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. It compared observed annual firearm homicide and suicide rates in California over 10 years following enactment of comprehensive background check and misdemeanor violence prohibition policies in 1991 with expected rates based on data from 32 control states that did not have these policies and did not implement other major firearm policies during the same time.
“In the 10 years after policy implementation, firearm suicide rates were, on average, 10.9 percent lower in California than expected, but we observed a similar decrease in non-firearm suicide,” said Garen Wintemute, professor of emergency medicine and director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis, senior author on the study.
“This suggests that the policies’ estimated impact on firearm suicide may be part of broader changes in suicide risk around the time that the California policies were implemented,” he said.
The study found no net difference between firearm-related homicide rates before and during the 10 years after policy implementation.
Attn. Gun Control Advocates: We Banned Assault Weapons Before … And It Didn’t Work
Investor’s Business Daily 3/01/2018
Gun Control: Maybe they are too young to know, or have faulty memories, but whatever the reason, all those pushing for a ban on “assault weapons” in the wake of the Florida school shooting ignore the fact that the last time the country imposed such a ban it failed to make a measurable difference.
It turns out that various independent studies came to the same conclusion: the ban had no measurable impact on the number of shootings or the number of shooting deaths while it was in effect.
A 2005 report from the National Research Council, for example, noted that “A recent evaluation of the short-term effects of the 1994 federal assault weapons ban did not reveal any clear impacts on gun violence outcomes.”
A 2004 study sponsored by the National Institute of Justice found that while the ban appeared to have reduced the number of crimes committed with “assault weapons,” any benefits were “likely to have been outweighed by steady or rising use of non-banned semiautomatics.”
As a result, the Justice study found “there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence, based on indicators like the percentage of gun crimes resulting in death or the share of gunfire incidents resulting in injury.”
The main reason the failure of the ban to make a difference: “assault weapons” account for a tiny share of gun crimes — less than 6%. Even among mass shootings, most didn’t involve an “assault weapon” in the decade before the ban went into effect.
Mass shootings didn’t stop during the ban, either — there were 16 while the ban was in effect, which resulted in 237 deaths or injuries. In fact, it was while the ban was in effect that the Columbine High School massacre happened, in which 13 students were killed and 24 injured.
What’s more, gun deaths have steadily declined since 1994, even though the rate of gun ownership has climbed.