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The State Laws That Are Most Effective at Stopping Mass Shootings

Bloomberg – With casualties mounting after the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, a health scholar’s research has found that enacting a few state policies can reduce gun violence by a third. “To be very honest, we have enough information right now to pass meaningful policy,” says Michael Siegel, a professor at the Tufts University School of Medicine who has studied the impact of gun laws on firearm violence. “To me, the main [barrier] is the political will, and why policymakers are not willing to stand up to the NRA.” In 2020, while he was at Boston University, Siegel led a study looking specifically at the link between various types of local gun control laws that were in effect between 1976 and 2018, and the frequency and severity of mass public shootings (those that resulted in at least four victims and in which perpetrators killed indiscriminately in a public space). His team identified eight specific types of gun policies among the 89 laws, including assault weapon bans, large-capacity magazine bans, permit requirements, red-flag laws, universal background checks and laws prohibiting gun possession by people with a history of a violent misdemeanor crime. Controlling for variables like socioeconomic factors and gun-ownership rates, the team concluded that two types laws have been most effective: State laws that require a permit to buy a firearm were linked to 60% lower odds of a mass public shooting happening, while a ban on large-capacity magazines could lower fatalities by 38% and nonfatal injuries by 77% when a mass shooting does take place. Siegel says these laws would be most effective when passed together, and ideally as part of a broader set of five basic gun policies.   Bloomberg CityLab spoke with Siegel about his study, and gun safety more generally…”

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