NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

More Study Needed on Gun Laws

October 20, 2003

A sweeping federal review of the nation's gun-control laws -- including mandatory waiting periods and bans on certain weapons -- found no proof that such measures reduce firearm violence. The review was conducted by a task force of scientists appointed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC says the report suggests that more study is needed, not that gun laws don't work. It said the study was inclusive for the following reasons:

  • Several studies found that the number of particular types of guns retrieved after a crime declined after those guns were banned, but these studies did not assess whether there was any impact on violence or crime rates.
  • Bans often include "grandfather" provisions, allowing ownership of an item if it was acquired before the ban, complicating an assessment of causality.
  • Evidence indicated that sales of firearms to be banned might increase in the period before implementation of the bans

In summary, the reviewers found insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws reviewed for preventing violence.

Source: Study, "First Reports Evaluating the Effectiveness of Strategies for Preventing Violence: Firearms Laws," October 3, 2003, Center for Disease Control.

For text


Browse more articles on Government Issues