Report Finds “Clear Link” Between Gun Violence and State Gun Laws
The Center for American Progress has just released a new report titled “American Under the Gun,” analyzing the link between gun violence and state gun laws in all 50 states. From the 72-page report:
“Despite this complex web of factors that influence the rate of gun violence, this report finds a clear link between high levels of gun violence and weak state gun laws. Across the key indicators of gun violence that we analyzed, the 10 states with the weakest gun laws collectively have an aggregate level of gun violence that is more than twice as high — 104 percent higher, in fact — than the 10 states with the strongest gun laws.”
To calculate “gun violence,” the researchers go beyond firearm homicides to incorporate firearm suicides, aggravated assaults and percentage of guns with a short “time to crime” lifespan — a common industry phrase that means the amount of time a firearm spends on the legal market before it becomes a illegal weapon. Data came from the National Center for Injury Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
The top ten states with the most gun violence:
6. South Carolina
7. New Mexico
So where are we? In the middle: Pennsylvania ranked 27, right above Maryland and below Idaho.
The report shows that between 2001 and 2010, 12,941 people died of fatal gunshot wounds in Pennsylvania for a rate of 10.36 per 100,000 people—just slightly above the national average of 10.33 per 100K. (For comparison’s sake, Louisiana, which has the most gun violence of any state, has 18.9 gun violence deaths per 100,000 residents over the same period of time.)
Gun violence committed in Philadelphia, of course, represents a significant percentage of gun violence in Pennsylvania. Of the 501 firearm homicides that took place in Pennsylvania in 2010, 244 of them took place in Philadelphia.
Like with homicide, Pennsylvania also ranks in the middle-ish of the spectrum for firearm suicides (37) and killing women (26) and killing children (31). But Pennsylvania surges higher on the scale when ranking the number of law-enforcement agents feloniously killed with a firearm (13).
Unsurprisingly, the study recommends regulating secondary market for guns, prohibiting dangerous people from owning guns, impose strong penalties on straw purchasers, and restrict access to “particularly dangerous weapons.”
You can read the entire report here.