A new study examining changes in gun policy in two states finds that handgun purchaser licensing requirements influence suicide rates. Researchers estimate that Connecticut’s 1995 law requiring individuals to obtain a permit or license to purchase a handgun after passing a background check was associated with a 15.4 percent reduction in firearm suicide rates, while Missouri’s repeal of its handgun purchaser licensing law in 2007 was associated with a 16.1 percent increase in firearm suicide rates.
The study, from researchers with the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, appears in a special issue of Preventive Medicine that focuses on gun violence prevention research.
“Although these laws were not designed to reduce suicides, many of the risk factors that disqualify someone from legal gun ownership – domestic violence, history of committing violent crimes, substance abuse, severe mental illness and adolescence – are also risk factors for suicide,” says lead study author Dr. Cassandra Crifasi, an assistant scientist with the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, part of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
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