U.S. states that require police background checks for a handgun license see 14 percent fewer gun murders in their urban counties, a new study found.
These “permit-to-purchase” licensing laws require a background check by state or local law enforcement, not just a background check conducted by gun dealers.
Prior research has linked such laws to fewer deaths statewide, but the new research looked at urban areas, where nearly two-thirds of all U.S. gun deaths occur.
“This study extends what we know about the beneficial effects of a licensing system on gun homicides to large, urban counties across the United States,” said study lead author Cassandra Crifasi. She’s an assistant professor with the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research.
For the study, the researchers assessed the effects of changes in gun policies in 136 of the nation’s largest urban counties between 1984 and 2015.