More gun laws don’t always mean less gun violence

The raw numbers

Victims include those injured and killed

Illinois, California, Texas, Ohio, New York, and Florida had the most shooting victims in 2017. It’s also true for 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Illinois stands head and shoulders above the rest even among the top few states for the number of victims. This is not because Illinois has the most people in it. It’s because of one city in the state that has as many shooting victims as most of the other top states.

Chicago is an outlier in the data and props up Illinois. Only California and Illinois reached over 3,000 shooting victims in 2017, and Chicago did it alone.

There’s one thing the data isn’t showing. The six states mentioned are in the top ten for states populations. States like Wyoming and North Dakota have some of the least numbers of US shooting victims because population plays a factor again as they are in the bottom five for state populations.

California, Texas, Ohio, New York, and Florida no longer rank among the top when accounting for population. Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Delaware, and Tennessee take their spots.

Shifting over to monthly data, the winter and spring were safer than the summer. There were more shooting victims in July than any other month. There appears to be a build-up leading into July, and a drop down into the end of the year. January stands as an outlier in the trend.

What do gun laws do?

The states vary widely in the content and number of gun laws they have. States like California and Massachusets have over 100. Whereas states like Missouri and Mississippi have only 2. What is their effect on gun violence? Accounting only for the number of gun laws there almost seems to be a slight relationship.

The contents of these gun laws vary. Mississippi’s 2 laws are:

  1. No gun carrying allowed on college campuses
  2. A felony conviction is prohibitive for firearm purchase/possession

New York’s gun laws include:

  1. No possession of handguns until age 21
  2. Background checks required for all gun show firearm sales at the point of purchase
  3. Gun owners must register their handguns with the state

It seems the more gun laws a state has the lower the ratio of victims per 100,000 people is. This isn’t true for every state, see Illinois again. Some states have very few laws in comparison to California, but those same states also share the small ratio California has.

There are more factors behind the ratio of victims per 100,000 people. Looking at legislation is a start, but the legislation doesn’t always lead to a lower ratio in the US. Finding a viable solution to gun violence is going to take something more.

There are more factors behind the ratio of victims per 100,000 people. Looking at legislation is a start, but the legislation doesn’t always lead to a lower ratio in the US. Finding a viable solution to gun violence is going to take something more.

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