Where Gun Stores Open, Gun Homicides Increase

Where Gun Stores Open, Gun Homicides Increase

Credit: Getty Images When Illinois passed a law in 2014 permitting the concealed carrying of firearms —becoming the last of the 50 states to do so—Sam Rannochio opened Check Your 6, Inc. in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights. The store sells handguns and rifles , and also offers concealed-carry classes. “The two kind of go hand-in-hand together,” Rannochio says. Check Your 6 was one of hundreds of gun dealerships that opened across the United States between 2010 and 2017, notes a preprint study that was published last month on social science research website SSRN and has not yet been peer-reviewed. According to the study, which looked at county-level data nationwide over a 17-year period, when the number of gun dealerships within 100 miles of a given area went up, the number of gun homicides in that area also increased in subsequent years—even as nongun killings declined overall (see graphic). Majority-Black communities bore the brunt of that violence, the study found. The sharp rises in gun violence seen in some Black communities since 2014 have been widely attributed to the “ Ferguson effect .” This term was coined by the then-chief of the St. Louis police, who claimed violent crime increases were driven by officers’ deteriorating morale following nationwide protests of the 2014 police killing of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo. But the study authors propose these increases are linked to a steep rise in gun dealerships specializing in handgun sales […]

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