Gazette editorial: Gun control saves lives

Pistol deaths

Gun control laws save lives. That’s the clear conclusion of a long report in the February issue of the scientific journal, Epidemiologic Reviews.

Lead author Julian Santaella-Tenorio and other university researchers analyzed 130 different studies in 10 countries and concluded: “The simultaneous implementation of laws targeting multiple firearm restrictions is associated with reductions in firearm deaths.”

Some findings:

n South Africa passed a comprehensive Firearm Control Act in 2000, and “firearm homicides in five major South African cities decreased by 13.6 percent per year for the next five years.” That adds up to more than 60 percent reduction.

n Austria imposed gun control in 1997 and firearm homicides fell 4.8 percent, while suicides dropped 9.9 percent.

n Australia’s 1996 National Firearms Agreement caused confiscation of 650,000 illegal guns and a 14 percent drop in gun deaths.

n The state of Missouri removed background checks for gun purchases in 2007 and the state’s murder rate jumped one-fourth.

n After passage of a gun-control law, Quebec saw a decline in pistol suicides and an increase in suicide by hanging.

Another finding: “Stand-your-ground laws were associated with a 6.8 percent increase in homicide rates, mainly driven by increments (14.7 percent) in homicide rates among white males.”

Of course, pistol-polluted America — home of the worst murder rate among modern democracies — is moving backward on sensible gun policies, partly because fanatics think pistol-carrying is a sacred right, almost like a religious tenet. Their zeal is nourished by gun manufacturers, who always want to sell more guns.

But scientific researchers and their readers can see that sensible gun laws save lives.