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

Gun Control Illustration

Researcher suggests lawmakers guarantee measure is being carried out as supposed.

Though many Individuals favor increasing background checks for gun purchases, gun-control measures in Congress have did not garner sufficient votes to move. In distinction, some state legislatures have enacted measures to scale back gun violence of their communities. A brand new research examined the influence modifications to background checks and licensing insurance policies has made on various kinds of violent crime in Massachusetts. The research discovered no quick influence, suggesting that state lawmakers might need to guarantee their laws is being carried out as supposed.

The research, by a researcher at American College (AU), seems in Justice Quarterly, a publication of the Academy of Legal Justice Sciences.

“Gun violence stays on the forefront of the general public coverage debate with regards to enacting new or strengthening present gun laws in the USA,” explains Janice Iwama, assistant professor of justice, legislation, and criminology at AU, who performed the research. “But the political polarization and comparatively restricted scholarly analysis on weapons and gun violence make it tough for policymakers and practitioners to enact and implement laws that addresses the general public well being and issues of safety related to gun violence.”

In 2014, Massachusetts handed new necessities associated to background checks for firearms offered at gun reveals or by non-public gross sales and created modifications to firearm rules by adopting new gun licensing procedures; the brand new legislation went into impact in January 2015. Analysis on the consequences of gun laws has yielded combined findings and the effectiveness of Massachusetts’ legislation is unclear.

Iwama explored the differential results of the brand new laws on public security outcomes, together with violent crime, in Massachusetts counties from 2006 to 2016. She used knowledge from the Firearms Data Bureau, a statewide company that maintains a database of issued licenses and information of firearms gross sales by gun sellers, in addition to non-public transfers of weapons.

The research used fashions to foretell counts of violent crimes, utilizing knowledge from the FBI, and contemplating variables that signify the proportion of all denied purposes, the proportion of denied purposes as a result of unsuitability, and the proportion of denied purposes as a result of statutory disqualification (e.g., felony historical past document, psychological well being document, fugitive standing) on the county degree.

Primarily based on the % of firearms licenses, about 1 to five % of grownup residents had a firearms license in Massachusetts counties. However Iwama discovered no constant impact of the brand new laws on lowering 4 sorts of violent crime (homicide or nonnegligent manslaughter, aggravated assault, theft, rape). Her research did discover {that a} one-percent enhance in denied firearm licenses and denied firearm licenses following statutory disqualifications elevated robberies 7.3 and eight.9 %, respectively.

Whereas the proportion of denied firearms licenses and firearms license purposes had little to no impact on violent crimes, Iwama suggests state lawmakers revisit their laws to make sure that it’s being carried out as supposed and deal with challenges recognized. Specifically, are these findings the results of a longer-than-expected lag in enforcement following passage of the laws? Are they as a result of people acquiring firearms in close by states with looser gun legal guidelines? Or is it attainable that the 2014 legislation is being enforced differentially by county?

“It will be significant for policymakers, practitioners, and researchers to contemplate the magnitude of results of their legal guidelines and the way they might be influenced by totally different ranges of enforcement within the state or by the dearth of enforcement in surrounding states,” cautions Iwama.

Among the many research’s limitations, Iwama notes that the info collected from the FBI was not full due to modifications in reporting practices. As well as, the proportion of firearms licenses, which she used as a proxy for gun possession, represents neither an ideal measure of gun house owners nor an correct depend of the variety of firearms obtainable by county. Lastly, the small dimension of the research’s pattern hindered the writer’s potential to look at patterns throughout totally different counties within the state.

Reference: “Lowering Violence?: Analyzing the Impression of Gun Management Legislation in Massachusetts” by Janice Iwama, 21 October 2021, Justice Quarterly.
DOI: 10.1080/07418825.2021.1985593

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