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Guns do kill people: Gun restrictions for violent misdemeanors lower homicides by 23%

Turns out that laws (already in action in 22 states) that don’t allow violent people to own firearms actually lower homicides.
Big Think

A study by the University of Michigan shows that not giving guns to violent people reduces death. In any other reality that would be a no-brainer — i.e. don’t give guns to people who have shown violent tendencies — but the political climate that we’re in dictates that we have to question that logic. 


Checking a database of offenders could save thousands of lives, as it would prevent violent people from possessing firearms. NRA aficionados say that this could lead to profiling and the yawn-inducing “they’ll take our guns!” line, but quite frankly the only thing it would lead to is less angry dudes (predominantly white and poor) from owning guns. Is this a bad thing? Only if you live in a Libertarian idealist fever dream and/or an Ayn Rand novel. The popular line is “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” — but you can’t fire a person at 768mph (the speed of a bullet). That’s incredibly difficult. So perhaps giving less people who want to kill people weapons in order to do so is in order? Here’s hoping. 

Some of the best findings from the study:

  • “Restraining orders for dating partners that include firearm restrictions (present in 22 states) were linked to a 10 percent decrease in romantic partner homicides and a 14 percent reduction in partner homicides committed with firearms. Dating partner statutes go beyond traditional domestic violence restraining order laws, which cover spouses, ex-spouses, couples that live together or have lived together and couples that have children together. Zeoli noted that nearly half of intimate partner homicides are committed by dating partners who often aren’t covered by these traditional partner categories in firearm-restriction laws.”
  • “Gun restrictions that cover emergency restraining orders in domestic violence cases were associated with a 12 percent reduction in intimate partner homicides.”
  • “Permit-to-purchase laws were linked to an 11% reduction in intimate partner homicides. These laws, active in ten states including Michigan and New York, require a permit from a law enforcement agency – and thus a criminal background check – to purchase a firearm. (While federal law requires a criminal background check to buy a gun from a licensed dealer, most states allow the purchase of firearms from private sellers without a background check. Other states mandate background checks for all gun sales, but don’t require a permit or interaction with law enforcement.)”
  • “Laws requiring individuals with domestic violence restraining orders to relinquish firearms were associated with a 22 percent reduction in firearm intimate partner homicide.”


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