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Stanford University School of Medicine

Uptick in gun violence research reveals several consequences of policy changes

There's good news, of sorts, on the gun violence research front -- namely that there's an increasing number of studies on the issue, which has long suffered from a lack of federal funding.

"With journals in a variety of disciplines increasingly receptive to original research on gun violence and regulation, there has been a surge of publication in this area after a long plateau," write John Donohue, JD, PhD, a professor of law at Stanford, and Philip Cook, PhD, professor of public policy, economics and sociology, emeritus, in an article in Science.

This growing volume of research is allowing scholars to draw some conclusions about gun violence and policies, they say.

For example, researchers have found that allowing guns to be carried concealed, through the so-called "right-to-carry" laws, increases violent crime, a Stanford news release states. As Donohue explains:

The dilemma for science is that you’re always working with imperfect data and imperfect statistical models... What’s appealing about the current growing body of evidence on right-to-carry laws is that different researchers using different methodologies and different data sets are coming to similar conclusions… We are all coalescing around the same message, and that’s the best that science can do: Look at the imperfect data in different ways and see if a consistent story emerges.

In addition, the researchers found that 1996 legislation that prevented people with a misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence from owning guns reduced the killings of their female partners by 17 percent.

The researchers say they are hoping that policymakers and judges — as well as health leaders — will pay attention to the latest findings.

Previously: Physicians urged to talk to their patients about guns, Research shows that handgun sales spiked in California after two mass shootings and Gunshot injuries slam hefty price tag on initial hospitalizations
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