States laws limit local control over guns, favor gun rights

States laws limit local control over guns, favor gun rights

Credit: CC0 Public Domain The majority of U.S. states have passed laws preserving state authority over firearms policies—and preventing local communities from passing their own—but at the same time have refrained from enacting statewide gun-control policies, according to a new study by researchers at NYU School of Global Public Health. The states’ use of preemption—a legal mechanism in which a higher level of government overrides or limits the authority of a lower level to act on a specific issue—overwhelmingly support policies favoring gun rights. The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, is the first to evaluate the relationship between states’ gun laws and preemptive measures. Gun violence is a substantial public health problem in the U.S., killing more than 38,000 people each year. The federal government has enacted few measures to reduce gun violence, leaving the policy debate centered on state and local action. States have passed regulations to either decrease gun-related death and disability (i.e., gun control) or protect gun rights, and many states has enacted preemptive laws limiting local government power on firearms. "The firearm industry was one of the first to use preemption as a tool to block public health policymaking in local areas where enacting measures would have been politically feasible," said Jennifer Pomeranz, assistant professor of public health policy and management at NYU School of Global Public Health and the study’s lead author. "Cities have been trying to pass their own laws to protect their residents from gun violence—including Boulder, the […]

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