A new study published in PEDIATRICS offers evidence that states with stricter gun laws including laws requiring universal background checks for ﬁrearm purchase had lower ﬁrearm-related pediatric mortality rates. Pointing out that firearms are the second lead cause of pediatric deaths, the authors said:
“In this 5-year analysis, states with stricter gun laws and laws requiring universal background checks for firearm purchase had lower firearm-related pediatric mortality rates. These findings support the need for further investigation to understand the impact of firearm legislation on pediatric mortality.”
The study published in the July 15, 2019 journal PEDIATRICS examined three groups, children under 12, children 13 through 17 and youth age 18-21. Guns are the second leading cause of pediatric deaths in the U.S. The research paper examined states and data over a period from 2011 through 2015. The research examined the impact of three sets of changes in gun laws: universal background checks as a condition of purchase; universal background checks for the purchase of ammunition; and identification requirements for firearm purchases. The study found that in states examined there was a mortality rates of 3.80 per 100,000 children in states with the stronger laws compared to 5.88 per 100,000 children in states without the stronger laws. Fatalities included assault, suicide and unintentional deaths.
The conclusion stated:
“We found that states with stricter ﬁrearm legislation had lower rates of ﬁrearm-related death in children. This association remained after population-based adjustment for sociodemographic factors and gun ownership. Furthermore, states with laws requiring universal background checks for ﬁrearm purchase also had lower rates of pediatric ﬁrearm-related deaths. These results support the need for more robust research related to the impact of ﬁrearm legislation on ﬁrearm-related injury and death in children. Implementation of evidence-based policies and legislation is required to reduce ﬁrearm-related injury in children.”