Study Finds Massachusetts Gun-Control Legislation Had No Effect on Violent Crime

Study Finds Massachusetts Gun-Control Legislation Had No Effect on Violent Crime

Researcher suggests lawmakers ensure measure is being implemented as intended. Although many Americans favor expanding background checks for gun purchases, gun-control measures in Congress have failed to garner enough votes to pass. In contrast, some state legislatures have enacted measures to reduce gun violence in their communities. A new study examined the impact changes to background checks and licensing policies has made on different types of violent crime in Massachusetts. The study found no immediate impact, suggesting that state lawmakers may want to ensure their legislation is being implemented as intended. The study, by a researcher at American University (AU), appears in Justice Quarterly , a publication of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. “Gun violence remains at the forefront of the public policy debate when it comes to enacting new or strengthening existing gun legislation in the United States,” explains Janice Iwama, assistant professor of justice, law, and criminology at AU, who conducted the study. “Yet the political polarization and relatively limited scholarly research on guns and gun violence make it difficult for policymakers and practitioners to enact and implement legislation that addresses the public health and safety issues associated with gun violence.” In 2014, Massachusetts passed new requirements related to background checks for firearms sold at gun shows or through private sales and created changes to firearm regulations by adopting new gun licensing procedures; the new law went into effect in January 2015. Research on the effects of gun legislation has yielded mixed findings and the effectiveness […]

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