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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Johns Hopkins: Handgun Purchaser Licensing Laws Linked to Fewer Firearm Homicides

State laws that require gun purchasers to obtain a license contingent on passing a background check performed by state or local law enforcement are associated with a 14 percent reduction in firearm homicides in large, urban counties, a new study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found.

Studies have shown that these laws, which are sometimes called permit-to-purchase licensing laws, are associated with fewer firearm homicides at the state level. This is the first study to measure the impact of licensing laws on firearm homicides in large, urban counties, where close to two-thirds of all gun deaths in the U.S. occur.

The study was published online May 22 in the Journal of Urban Health and was written by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis.

Handgun licensing laws typically require prospective gun purchasers to apply directly to a state or local law enforcement agency to obtain a purchase permit, which is dependent on passing a background check, prior to approaching a seller. Many state licensing laws also require applicants to submit fingerprints.

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