Urban Gun Homicides Drop With Police Background Checks: Study

Urban Gun Homicides Drop With Police Background Checks: Study

Photo by Daniel Oines via Flickr Urban states and counties where handgun gun purchasers are required to submit to background checks by law enforcement before obtaining a license or permit are associated with a 14 percent reduction in firearm homicides, according to a study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health. The study, which looked at firearm homicide data in 136 large urban counties between 1984-2015, represents the first attempt to compare the impact of “permit to purchase” systems administered by state or local law enforcement, and “comprehensive background checks (CBC),” which only require the gun dealer to file the purchaser’s name with a federal database. Urban areas where only the CBC system is used saw a 16 percent increase in gun homicides during that period, the study said. “Background checks are intended to screen out prohibited indviduals, and serve as the foundation upon which other gun laws are built, but they may not be sufficient on their own to decrease gun homicides,” Cassandra Crifasi, an assistant professor with the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, and lead author of the study, said in a statement accompanying the report. “This study extends what we know about the beneficial effects of a licensing system on gun homicides to large, urban counties across the United States.” The National Instant Criminal Background Checks System (NICS), the main database used for the CBC system, has been shown to have problems ranging from incomplete records to long response delays. In contrast, […]

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