Firearms laws and the reduction of violence: a systematic review

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Firearms laws and the reduction of violence: a systematic review

Category: Firearm Policies|Journal: American Journal of Preventative Medicine (full text)|Author: A Crosby, A Liberman, E Moscicki, F Tuma, M Fullilove, O Bilukha, P Briss, R Hahn, S Snyder|Year: 2005

The Task Force on Community Preventive Services (the Task Force) is conducting systematic reviews of scientific evidence about diverse interventions for the prevention of violence, and resulting injury and death, including, among others, early childhood home visitation,1,2 therapeutic foster care,3 the transfer of juveniles to the adult justice system, school programs for the teaching of prosocial behavior, and community policing. This report presents findings about the effectiveness of firearms laws in preventing violence. Studies of the following firearms laws were included in the review: bans on specified firearms or ammunition; restrictions on firearms acquisition; waiting periods for firearms acquisition; firearms registration; licensing of firearms owners; “shall issue” carry laws that allow people who pass background checks to carry concealed weapons; child access prevention laws; zero tolerance laws for firearms in schools; and combinations of firearms laws.

The Task Force found the evidence available from identified studies was insufficient to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws reviewed singly or in combination. A finding that evidence is insufficient to determine effectiveness means that we do not yet know what effect, if any, the law has on an outcome—not that the law has no effect on the outcome. This report describes how the reviews were conducted, gives detailed information about the Task Force’s findings, and provides information about research gaps and priority areas for future research.

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