This quasi-experimental study aimed to establish whether or not gun shows are linked to temporary increases in firearm injuries (including deaths) in the local area and whether or not this link varies by the state where the gun show took place.
Researchers analyzed death and injuries related to funs in California before and after gun shows in Nevada and California.
The research could help prevent gun deaths by charting a pattern between where weapons are purchased at gun shows and where shootings take place, according to the authors. Nevada's gun laws are some of the least restrictive in the country and impose fewer rules on gun shows. Some gun shows draw thousands of attendees and hundreds of sellers, whose transactions may not be subject to vigorous oversight.
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John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and author of More Guns, Less Crime, said flaws in the study's approach invalidate its findings. California requires background checks for all gun purchases made in the state, regardless of the type of sales.
A new UC Berkeley study has shown that gun violence in certain areas of California spike immediately following the opening of a gun show in Nevada. Additional funding was provided by the Heising-Simons Foundation. It will be published online on October 24 in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
Limitations of the study include the examination of firearm injuries only in California and the non-random occurrence of gun shows.
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"Different time periods for the after effects in California from California and Nevada gun shows might be because of what the authors say, but when you are only dealing with two states and neither is changing any of its relevant laws during the period studied, you can't know whether it is the different periods of time studied or something else that is driving the result", he said. The study also looked at 640 gun shows held in California during the same timeframe.
Then they used state health data to compare gun injuries, fatal and non-fatal, for those regions two weeks before and two weeks after the nearest show. But post-show firearm injury rates increased from 0.67 per 100,000 people to 1.14 per 100,000 in regions near Nevada shows.
An editorial accompanying the study called on Congress to fund more research into the way public policy affects firearms-related injuries and deaths. However, there are thousands of gun shows in the United States each year, a lot of them in relatively unregulated states. Federal law only allows Americans to buy guns outside their home state if they are purchasing a rifle or shotgun from a federally licensed firearms dealer.
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