The Grapevine

Study Reveals How Strict Gun Laws Affect Children

Not surprisingly, children living in states with strict gun laws are less likely to die from gun violence in their lives.

A paper published Monday in the journal Pediatrics provides strong evidence that measures like universal background checks for firearm and ammunition purchases and identification requirements can significantly reduce the pediatric mortality rate.

The study said firearm-related deaths among young people are 35 percent lower in states where mandatory background checks have been required for at least five years.

Twelve states require universal background checks at the point of sale for all sales and transfers of all classes of firearm. These states are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

The study found that more than 21,000 young people under 21 died from firearm-related injuries between 2011 and 2015, a horrific and unnecessary tragedy. The number translates to roughly seven funerals every day, said lead author Dr. Monika Goyal of Children's National pediatric hospital in Washington, D.C.

Using fatal injury data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), researchers examined how gun control measures affect gun deaths among children and young adults. They evaluated the strength of a state's gun laws using scorecards from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a nonprofit that ranks the strictness of laws on a 100-point scale. Higher scores indicate stricter legislation.

They found that for every 10-point increase in a law's safety score, firearm deaths among young people dropped 4 percent. Scores were bolstered by additions like child access prevention laws or extreme risk protection regulations.

Data shows assaults account for more than 60 percent of all deaths, followed by suicides. Young men comprised  87 percent of victims, and more than two-thirds were between 18 and 21, according to the study.

Research also found that even in states where gun ownership is high, strict laws that control the purchase of guns protect children and lower mortality rates.

guns Study reveals the racial disparities in America's gun death rates. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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