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RAND Report Addresses Updated Evidence Regarding Gun Policies

Supportive evidence revealed that child access prevention laws can reduce homicides and self-injuries among youth

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Jan. 10, 2023 (HealthDay News) — New evidence relating to gun policies is presented in an updated RAND Corporation report published online Jan. 10.

Rosanna Smart, from the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California, and colleagues updated the findings and conclusions of the Gun Policy in America report based on research published through October 2020. The report considers 18 classes of gun policies.

The authors note that few of the policies and outcomes were the subject of methodologically rigorous investigation. Based on the policy-outcome combinations with the strongest available evidence, supportive evidence was found for the conclusion that child-access prevention (CAP) laws, or safe storage laws, reduce self-inflicted or nonfatal firearm injuries among youth and may reduce firearm suicides in this group. States without CAP laws should consider adopting them, and states should consider making child access to firearms a felony. Supportive evidence indicates that stand-your-ground laws are associated with increases in firearm homicides and may increase the total number of homicides. Furthermore, supportive evidence suggests that shall-issue laws increase total and firearm homicides; limited evidence suggests that they increase violent crime in general. Moderate evidence suggests that background checks reduce firearm homicides, specifically dealer background checks; limited evidence suggests that dealer background checks reduce violent crime in general.

“While the state of research about gun policies is less well developed than in many other areas of social science, there is a growing body of evidence that provides suggestive evidence about the effects of several frequently discussed policies,” Smart said in a statement.

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