Advertisement

Firearms laws and the reduction of violence

A systematic review
      The Task Force on Community Preventive Services (the Task Force) is conducting systematic reviews of scientific evidence about diverse interventions for the prevention of violence, and resulting injury and death, including, among others, early childhood home visitation,
      • Hahn R.A.
      • Bilukha O.O.
      • Crosby A.
      • et al.
      First reports evaluating the effectiveness of strategies for preventing violence early childhood home visitation.
      • Bilukha O.
      • Hahn R.A.
      • Crosby A.
      • et al.
      The effectiveness of early childhood home visitation in preventing violence a systematic review.
      therapeutic foster care,
      • Hahn R.A.
      • Lowy J.
      • Bilukha O.
      • et al.
      The effectiveness of therapeutic foster care for the prevention of violence a systematic review.
      the transfer of juveniles to the adult justice system, school programs for the teaching of prosocial behavior, and community policing. This report presents findings about the effectiveness of firearms laws in preventing violence. Studies of the following firearms laws were included in the review: bans on specified firearms or ammunition; restrictions on firearms acquisition; waiting periods for firearms acquisition; firearms registration; licensing of firearms owners; “shall issue” carry laws that allow people who pass background checks to carry concealed weapons; child access prevention laws; zero tolerance laws for firearms in schools; and combinations of firearms laws.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to American Journal of Preventive Medicine
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

        • Hahn R.A.
        • Bilukha O.O.
        • Crosby A.
        • et al.
        First reports evaluating the effectiveness of strategies for preventing violence.
        MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2003; 52: 1-9
        • Bilukha O.
        • Hahn R.A.
        • Crosby A.
        • et al.
        The effectiveness of early childhood home visitation in preventing violence.
        Am J Prev Med. 2005; 28: 11-39
        • Hahn R.A.
        • Lowy J.
        • Bilukha O.
        • et al.
        The effectiveness of therapeutic foster care for the prevention of violence.
        Am J Prev Med. 2005; 28: 71-89
        • Arias E.
        • Anderson R.N.
        • Hsiang-Ching K.
        • Murphy S.L.
        • Kochanek K.D.
        • Division of Vital Statistics
        Deaths.
        Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2003; 52: 1-115
        • Gotsch K.E.
        • Annest J.L.
        • Mercy J.A.
        • Ryan G.W.
        Surveillance for fatal and nonfatal firearm-related injuries—United States, 1993–1998.
        MMWR Surveill Summ. 2001; 50: 1-34
        • Pastore A.L.
        • Maguire K.
        Sourcebook of criminal justice statistics 2001. U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Washington DC2002
        • Krug E.G.
        • Dahlberg L.L.
        • Mercy J.A.
        • Zwi A.B.
        • Lozano R.
        World report on violence and health. World Health Organization, Geneva2002
        • Cook P.J.
        • Ludwig J.
        The costs of gun violence against children.
        Future Child. 2002; 12: 87-99
      1. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.
        Commerce in firearms in the United States. U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Washington DC2000
        • Cook P.J.
        • Molliconi S.
        • Cole T.B.
        Regulating gun markets.
        J Criminal Law Criminol. 1995; 86: 59-92
      2. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.
        State laws and published ordinances—firearms. U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Washington DC2000
        • Cook P.J.
        • Ludwig J.
        Guns in America. Police Foundation, Washington DC1996
        • Schuster M.A.
        • Franke T.M.
        • Bastian A.M.
        • Sor S.
        • Halfon N.
        Firearm storage patterns in U.S. homes with children.
        Am J Public Health. 2000; 90: 588-594
        • Kellermann A.L.
        • Lee R.K.
        • Mercy J.A.
        • Banton J.G.
        The epidemiologic basis for the prevention of firearm injuries.
        Annu Rev Public Health. 1991; 12: 17-40
        • Powell E.C.
        • Sheehan K.M.
        • Christoffel K.K.
        Firearm violence among youth.
        Ann Emerg Med. 1996; 28: 204-212
        • Cook P.J.
        • Moore M.H.
        Guns, gun control, and homicide.
        in: Smith M.D. Zahn M.A. Homicide a sourcebook of social research. Sage, Thousand Oaks CA1999: 277-296
        • Kleck G.
        • Patterson E.B.
        The impact of gun control and gun ownership levels on violence rates.
        J Quantitative Criminol. 1993; 9: 249-287
        • Ohsfeldt R.L.
        • Morrisey M.A.
        Firearms, firearms injury, and gun control.
        Adv Health Econ Health Services Res. 1992; 13: 65-82
        • Teret S.P.
        • Wintemute G.J.
        Policies to prevent firearm injuries.
        Health Aff. 1993; 12: 96-108
        • Zimring F.E.
        Firearms, violence and public policy.
        Sci Am. 1991; 11: 48-54
        • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
        Healthy people 2010. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington DC2001
        • Briss P.A.
        • Zaza S.
        • Pappaioanou M.
        • et al.
        Developing an evidence-based Guide to Community Preventive Services—methods.
        Am J Prev Med. 2000; 18: 35-43
        • Truman B.I.
        • Smith-Akin C.K.
        • Hinman A.R.
        • et al.
        Developing the Guide to Community Preventive Services—overview and rationale.
        Am J Prev Med. 2000; 18: 18-26
        • Carande-Kulis V.G.
        • Maciosek M.V.
        • Briss P.A.
        • et al.
        Methods for systematic reviews of economic evaluations for the Guide to Community Preventive Services.
        Am J Prev Med. 2000; 18: 75-91
        • Zaza S.
        • Wright-de Aguero L.
        • Briss P.A.
        • et al.
        Data collection instrument and procedure for systematic reviews in the Guide to Community Preventive Services.
        Am J Prev Med. 2000; 18: 44-74
        • Cook P.J.
        • Moore M.H.
        • Braga A.A.
        Gun control.
        in: Wilson J.Q. Petersilia J. Crime public policies for crime control. Institute for Contemporary Studies, Oakland CA2002: 291-329
        • Vernick J.S.
        • Webster D.W.
        • Hepburn L.M.
        Effects of Maryland’s law banning Saturday night special handguns on crime guns.
        Inj Prev. 1999; 5: 259-263
        • Weil D.S.
        • Knox R.C.
        The Maryland ban on the sale of assault pistols and high-capacity magazines.
        Am J Public Health. 1997; 87: 297-298
        • Wintemute G.J.
        • Wright M.A.
        • Drake C.
        • Beaumont J.J.
        Subsequent criminal activity among violent misdemeanants who seek to purchase handguns.
        JAMA. 2001; 285: 1019-1026
        • Ludwig J.
        Concealed-gun-carrying laws and violent crime.
        Int Rev Law Econ. 1998; 18: 239-254
        • Cramer CE
        • Kopel DB
        “Shall issue”.
        Tennessee Law Rev. 1995; 62: 679-757
        • Maltz M.D.
        Bridging gaps in police crime data. U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Washington DC1999
        • Maltz M.D.
        • Targonski J.
        A note on the use of county-level UCR data.
        J Quantitative Criminol. 2002; 18: 297-318
        • Maguire K.
        • Pastore A.L.
        Sourcebook of criminal justice statistics 2000. U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Washington DC2001
        • Federal Bureau of Investigation
        Supplementary homicide reports 1980–2000. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Washington DC2000 (machine-readable data files)
        • Federal Bureau of Investigation
        Developments in the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Criminal Justice Information Services Division, Washington DC2002
        • Azrael D.
        • Barber C.
        • Mercy J.
        Linking data to save lives.
        Harvard Health Pol Rev. 2001; 2: 38-42
        • Gittelsohn A.
        • Royston P.
        Annotated bibliography of cause-of-death validation studies, 1958–80. National Center for Health Statistics, Washington DC1982
        • Poe G.S.
        • Powell-Griner E.
        • McLaughlin J.K.
        • Placek P.J.
        • Thompson G.B.
        • Robinson K.
        Comparability of the death certificate and the 1986 National Mortality Followback Survey. National Center for Health Statistics, Washington DC1993
        • Sorlie P.D.
        • Rogot E.
        • Johnson N.
        Validity of demographic characteristics on the death certificate.
        Epidemiology. 1992; 3: 181-184
        • Barber C.
        • Hemenway D.
        • Hochstadt J.
        • Azrael D.
        Underestimates of unintentional firearm fatalities.
        Inj Prev. 2002; 8: 252-256
        • Loftin C.
        • McDowall D.
        • Wiersema B.
        • Cottey T.J.
        Effects of restrictive licensing of handguns on homicide and suicide in the District of Columbia.
        N Engl J Med. 1991; 325: 1615-1620
        • Jones E.D.
        The District of Columbia’s “Firearms Control Regulation Act of 1975”.
        Ann Am Acad Political Social Sci. 1981; 455: 138-149
        • Nicholson R.
        • Garner A.
        The analysis of the Firearms Control Act of 1975. U.S. Conference of Mayors, Washington DC1980
        • Roth J.A.
        • Koper C.S.
        Impacts of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC1999
        • Britt C.L.
        • Bordua D.J.
        • Kleck G.
        A reassessment of the D.C. gun law.
        Law Society Rev. 1996; 30: 361-380
        • McDowall D.
        • Loftin C.
        • Wiersema B.
        Using quasi-experiments to evaluate firearm laws.
        Law Society Rev. 1996; 30: 381-391
        • Kleck G.
        Evidence that “Saturday night specials” are not very important for crime.
        Sociol Social Res. 1986; 70: 303-307
      3. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.
        Federal firearms regulations reference guide. U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Washington DC2000
        • Ludwig J.
        • Cook P.J.
        Homicide and suicide rates associated with implementation of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act.
        JAMA. 2000; 284: 585-591
        • U.S. Department of Justice
        Survey of state procedures related to firearm sales, 1996. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC1996
        • Government Accounting Office
        Gun control. U.S. General Accounting Office, Washington DC2000
        • Government Accounting Office
        Improving the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. U.S. General Accounting Office, Washington DC2000 (testimony before Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate)
        • U.S. Department of Justice
        Survey of state criminal history information systems, 1999. U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC2000
        • Government Accounting Office
        Opportunities to close loopholes in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. General Accounting Office, Washington DC2002
        • U.S. Department of Justice
        National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Operations report (November 30, 1998–December 31, 1999). U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC2000
        • U.S. Department of Justice
        Presale handgun checks, the Brady interim period, 1994–1998.
        Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin. U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC1999
        • Government Accounting Office
        Gun control. U.S. General Accounting Office, Washington DC2000 (Report to the Honorable Craig Thomas, U.S. Senate)
        • Wright M.A.
        • Wintemute G.J.
        • Rivara F.P.
        Effectiveness of denial of handgun purchase to persons believed to be at high risk for firearm violence.
        Am J Public Health. 1999; 89: 88-90
        • Lott J.R.
        More guns, less crime.
        2nd ed. University of Chicago Press, Chicago2000
      4. Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Background checks and waiting periods for firearm purchases. Available at: www.bradycampaign.org/facts/issues/?page=waitxstate. Accessed December 14, 2004.

        • Vernick J.S.
        • Hepburn L.M.
        State and federal gun laws: trends for 1970–1999.
        in: Cook P.J. Ludwig J. Evaluating gun policy. Brookings Institution Press, Washington DC2003: 345-402
        • Cantor C.H.
        • Slater P.J.
        The impact of firearm control legislation on suicide in Queensland.
        Med J Aust. 1995; 162: 583-585
        • Lott J.R.
        • Whitley J.E.
        Safe-storage gun laws.
        J Law Econ. 2001; 44: 659-690
        • Magaddino J.P.
        • Medoff M.H.
        An empirical analysis of federal and state firearm control laws.
        in: Kates D.B. Firearms and violence. Ballinger, Cambridge MA1984: 225-258
        • DeZee M.R.
        Gun control legislation.
        Law Policy Q. 1983; 5: 367-379
        • Murray D.
        Handguns, gun control laws and firearm violence.
        Social Problems. 1975; 23: 81-92
        • DeFrancesco S.
        • Vernick J.S.
        • Weitzel M.M.
        • LeBrun E.E.
        Gun policy glossary. Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, Baltimore MD2000
        • U.S. Department of Justice
        Survey of state procedures related to firearm sales, midyear 2000. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC2000
      5. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.
        Following the gun. U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Washington DC2000
        • Webster D.W.
        • Vernick J.S.
        • Hepburn L.M.
        Relationship between licensing, registration, and other gun sales laws and the source state of crime guns.
        Inj Prev. 2001; 7: 184-189
        • Teret S.P.
        The firearm injury reporting system revisited.
        JAMA. 1996; 275: 70
      6. National Rifle Association of America Institute for Legislative Action. Fact sheet: licensing and registration. www.nraila.org/FactSheets.asp?FormMode=Detail&ID=28. Accessed February 13, 2003.

        • Lott J.R.
        • Mustard D.B.
        Crime, deterrence, and right-to-carry concealed handguns.
        J Legal Stud. 1997; 26: 1-68
        • Black D.A.
        • Nagin D.
        Do right-to-carry laws deter violent crime?.
        J Legal Stud. 1998; 27: 209-219
      7. Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Concealed weapons, concealed risk. Available at: www.bradycampaign.org/facts/issues/?page=ccw. Accessed December 14, 2004.

        • Duggan M.
        More guns, more crime.
        J Political Econ. 2001; 109: 1086-1114
        • Moody C.E.
        Testing for the effects of concealed weapons laws.
        J Law Econ. 2001; 44: 799-813
        • Olson D.E.
        • Maltz M.D.
        Right-to-carry concealed weapon laws and homicide in large U.S. counties.
        J Law Econ. 2001; 44: 747-770
        • Plassmann F.
        • Tideman T.N.
        Does the right to carry concealed handguns deter countable crimes? Only a count analysis can say.
        J Law Econ. 2001; 44: 771-798
        • Webster D.W.
        • Vernick J.S.
        • Ludwig J.
        • Lester K.J.
        Flawed gun policy research could endanger public safety.
        Am J Public Health. 1997; 87: 918-921
        • Wright J.D.
        • Rossi P.H.
        The armed criminal in America. National Institute of Justice, Washington DC1985
        • Wright J.D.
        • Rossi P.H.
        Armed and considered dangerous.
        Aldine de Gruyter, Hawthorne NY1986
        • Ayres I.
        • Donohue III, J.J.
        Nondiscretionary concealed weapons laws; a case study of statistics, standards of proof, and public policy.
        Am Law Econ Rev. 1999; 6: 436-470
        • Dezhbakhsh H.
        • Rubin P.H.
        Lives saved or lives lost? The effects of concealed-handgun laws on crime.
        AEA Papers Proc. 1998; 88: 468-474
        • McDowall D.
        • Loftin C.
        • Wiersema B.
        Easing concealed firearms laws.
        J Criminal Law Criminol. 1995; 86: 193-206
        • Mustard D.B.
        The impact of gun laws on police deaths.
        J Law Econ. 2001; 44: 635-658
        • Bronars S.G.
        • Lott J.R.
        Criminal deterrence, geographic spillovers, and the right to carry handguns.
        Am Econ Rev. 1998; 88: 475-479
      8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics.
        Vital statistics of United States, 1995. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Hyattsville MD1999
        • Peters R.
        Gun violence prevention update. Funder’s Collaborative for Gun Violence Prevention, New York2001
        • Webster D.W.
        • Starnes M.
        Reexamining the association between child access prevention gun laws and unintentional shooting deaths of children.
        Pediatrics. 2000; 106: 1466-1469
        • Cummings P.
        • Grossman D.C.
        • Rivara F.P.
        • Koepsell T.D.
        State gun safe storage laws and child mortality due to firearms.
        JAMA. 1997; 278: 1084-1086
      9. Public Law 103-382, October 20, 1994, Gun-Free Schools Act, 20 USC 8921, Sec. 14601 (1994).

        • National School Boards Association
        Violence in the schools. National School Boards Association, Alexandria VA1993
      10. National Center for Education Statistics, Bureau of Justice Statistics.
        Indicators of school crime and safety, 1998. U.S. Department of Education/U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC1998
        • U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Justice
        1999 Annual report on school safety. U.S. Department of Education/U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC1999
        • Brener N.D.
        • Simon T.R.
        • Krug E.G.
        • Lowry R.
        Recent trends in violence-related behaviors among high school students in the United States.
        JAMA. 1999; 282: 440-446
      11. National Center for Education Statistics, Bureau of Justice Statistics.
        Indicators of school crime and safety, 2001. U.S. Department of Education/U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC2001
        • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
        Violence-related attitudes and behaviors of high school students—New York City.
        MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 1993; 42: 773-777
        • U.S. Department of Education
        Alternative education programs for violent and chronically disruptive students. Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program, U.S. Department of Education, Washington DC1996
        • Bagley C.
        • Pritchard C.
        The billion dollar cost of troubled youth.
        Int J Adolesc Youth. 1998; 7: 211-225
        • Cukier W.
        Firearms regulation.
        Chron Dis Can. 1998; 19: 25-34
        • Carrington P.J.
        • Moyer S.
        Gun availability and suicide in Canada.
        Stud Crime Crime Prev. 1994; 3: 168-178
        • Carrington P.J.
        • Moyer S.
        Gun control and suicide in Ontario.
        Am J Psychiatry. 1994; 151: 606-608
        • Leenaars A.A.
        • Lester D.
        Effects of gun control on homicide in Canada.
        Psychol Rep. 1994; 75: 81-82
        • Lester D.
        • Leenaars A.A.
        Suicide rates in Canada before and after tightening firearm control laws.
        Psychol Rep. 1993; 72: 787-790
        • Mauser G
        • Holmes RA
        An evaluation of the 1977 Canadian firearms legislation.
        Evaluation Rev. 1992; 16: 603-617
        • Mundt R.J.
        Gun control and rates of firearms violence in Canada and United States.
        Can J Criminol. 1990; 32: 137-154
        • Canadian Department of Justice
        A statistical analysis of the impacts of the 1977 firearms control legislation. Department of Justice, Programme Evaluation Section, Ottawa1996
        • Rich C.L.
        • Young J.G.
        • Fowler R.C.
        • Wagner J.
        • Black N.A.
        Guns and suicide.
        Am J Psychiatry. 1990; 147: 342-346
        • Scarff E.
        Evaluation of the Canadian gun control legislation. Minister of Supply and Services, Ottawa1983
        • Sproule C.F.
        • Kennett D.
        The use of firearms in Canadian homicides 1972–1982.
        Can J Criminol. 1988; 30: 31-37
        • Zimring F.E.
        Firearms and federal law.
        J Legal Stud. 1975; 4: 133-198
        • Centerwall B.S.
        Homicide and the prevalence of handguns.
        Am J Epidemiol. 1991; 134: 1245-1260
        • Sloan J.H.
        • Kellermann A.L.
        • Reay D.T.
        • et al.
        Handgun regulations, crime, assaults, and homicide.
        N Engl J Med. 1988; 319: 1256-1262
        • Sloan J.H.
        • Rivara F.P.
        • Reay D.T.
        • Ferris J.A.J.
        • Path M.R.C.
        • Kellermann A.L.
        Firearm regulations and rates of suicide.
        N Engl J Med. 1990; 322: 369-373
        • Boor M.
        • Blair J.H.
        Suicide rates, handgun control laws, and sociodemographic variables.
        Psychol Rep. 1990; 66: 923-930
        • Geisel M.
        • Roll R.
        • Wettick R.
        The effectiveness of state and local regulation of handguns.
        Duke Law J. 1969; 43: 647-673
        • Lester D.
        • Murrell M.E.
        The preventive effect of strict gun control laws on suicide and homicide.
        Suicide Life Threat Behav. 1982; 12: 131-140
        • Medoff M.H.
        • Magaddino J.P.
        Suicides and firearm control laws.
        Evaluation Rev. 1983; 7: 357-372
        • Gostin L.O.
        Public health law.
        University of California Press, Berkeley2000

      References for the Appendix

        • Britt C.L.
        • Kleck G.
        • Bordua D.J.
        A reassessment of the D.C. gun law.
        Law Society Rev. 1996; 30: 361-380
        • Kleck G.
        • Patterson E.B.
        The impact of gun control and gun ownership levels on violence rates.
        J Quantitative Criminol. 1993; 9: 249-287
        • Loftin C.
        • McDowall D.
        • Wiersma B.
        • Cottey T.J.
        Effects of restrictive licensing of handguns on homicide and suicide in the District of Columbia.
        N Engl J Med. 1991; 325: 1615-1620
        • McDowall D.
        • Loftin C.
        • Wiersma B.
        Using quasi-experi-ments to evaluate firearm laws.
        Law Society Rev. 1996; 30: 381-391
        • Roth J.A.
        • Koper C.S.
        Impacts of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC1999
        • Vernick J.S.
        • Webster D.W.
        • Hepburn L.M.
        Effects of Maryland’s law banning Saturday night special handguns on crime guns.
        Inj Prev. 1999; 5: 259-263
        • Weil D.S.
        • Knox R.C.
        The Maryland ban on the sale of assault pistols and high-capacity magazines.
        Am J Public Health. 1997; 87: 297-298