Tuesday, July 7, 2020

WAMU: Research Mixed on "Universal" Background Checks

Public Broadcasting radio station WAMU had this report in late June titled "Do Universal Background Checks Prevent Gun Violence?"  According to gun writer Dave Workman, it is probably not a report that the gun ban lobby wants to hear. From WAMU:
The RAND Corporation recently completed a meta-analysis of 18 different gun control policies and found “moderate” evidence that universal background checks decreased both violent crime (including homicides) and suicide rates. A similar, 2017 review of academic literature on gun policies by Harvard University found that more comprehensive background check laws were associated with lower rates of firearm homicides.

But other research has found different outcomes. The state of California has had a comprehensive background check law on the books for 10 years. Researchers at UC Davis School of Medicine have studied gun violence in CA during that period and found there was no change in the number of gun homicides or gun suicides. The researchers use the term “comprehensive background check” instead of universal background check. And another study by the same authors found that the repeal of comprehensive background check laws in Tennessee and Indiana had no effect on gun homicides or suicide rates in either state.

Johns Hopkins School of Public Health looked at comprehensive background check laws in large, urban counties in the U.S. and found they were actually associated with an increase in firearm homicides in those counties. That study found “no benefit” of a CBC law without an accompanying permit-to-purchase law.

So, while the research is mixed on the ability of UBC laws to prevent or reduce gun violence by themselves, several studies have shown that coupled with other gun laws, there can be a documented effect. For example, a 2016 review of gun policy studies in 10 countries by researchers at Columbia University found that countries that combined several gun control laws — licensing/permit requirements, minimum age restrictions, and background checks, for example — had success decreasing gun violence.
This is important because last week a so-called "universal" background check law took effect in Virginia.  While it is a much watered down version of other such laws (only sales require a background check, gifts and loaning your gun to a neighbor or friend will not require a background check), you can bet that the gun ban lobby will be back for more.  At no time during debate on the bills during the General Assembly this year was it offered as a way to reduce crime in Virginia (firearm related homicides have reduced 50% over the last 25 years in Virginia all while sales have increased exponentially) but as a way to keep "illegal" guns from making their way to New York and other anti-gun northern states.

1 comment:

IronWing said...

new york's crime is their fault, not ours! Their unjust laws actually make guns more valuable so smuggling them in and selling them on the street is more lucrative. You would think politicians would have learned from Prohibition in the 1920s.