State Laws And Gun Offenders - Gun Violence Prevention - News | The Joyce Foundation
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State Laws And Gun Offenders

July 10, 2012 05:32 PM

Study examines connection between gun offenders and lax state gun ownership requirements​

Using data from a national survey of state prison inmates, a new report released by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health  revealed that 60 percent of those incarcerated for gun crimes in the 13 states with the most lax standards for firearm ownership were not legally prohibited from possessing firearms when they committed the crime that led to their incarceration. The findings of the survey were published in Injury Prevention, a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

The Joyce Foundation Gun Violence Prevention Program works with law enforcement, policy-makers and advocates, and researchers to develop common sense gun violence reduction and prevention solutions that keep our communities safe.  One of the program’s key strategies is to identify and support promising research projects to evaluate policies and practices to reduce firearms injuries and deaths. 

Other key findings from the Johns Hopkins study include:

  • 29 percent of gun offenders who were not legally prohibited from possessing firearms had criminal records or would have been too young to legally possess a firearm in states with the strictest standards for gun ownership.
  • 31 percent of gun offenders who were not legally prohibited from possessing firearms were old enough to possess a firearm and did not have a criminal record that would disqualify them from owning a gun.
  • Almost all offenders who were legally prohibited from possessing a firearm acquired their gun from a supplier not required to do a criminal background check under federal or state law.

“Our findings indicate that more stringent restrictions on firearm possession in states with the lowest standards would have made firearm possession illegal for many individuals who went on to commit a crime with a gun,” said Katherine Vittes, the lead author of the study and a faculty member of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research.

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Read the press release


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