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Strong State Firearm Policies, Lower Firearm Suicide Rate Tied

Counties with low home state, interstate scores had higher firearm homicide rates, overall homicide rate

MONDAY, March 5, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Strong state firearm policies are associated with lower firearm suicide rates and lower homicide rates, according to a study published online March 5 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Elinore J. Kaufman, M.D., M.S.P.H., from New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study of firearm death rates by county for January 2010 to December 2014. Each county was assigned a state policy score based on the strength of its state firearm laws and an interstate policy score based on the sum of population-weighted and distance-delayed policy scores for all other states.

The researchers observed a correlation for stronger firearm laws in a state with lower overall firearm suicide rates and overall suicide rates, irrespective of the strength of other states’ laws. The highest rates of firearm suicide were seen for counties with low state scores. Across levels of interstate policy score, the rates were similar (low: incidence rate ratio [IRR], 1.34; medium: IRR, 1.36; and high: IRR, 1.43). The highest rates of firearm homicide were seen for counties with low state and low or medium interstate policy scores. Higher firearm homicide rates and overall homicide rates were seen for counties with low home state and interstate scores (IRRs, 1.38 and 1.32, respectively).

“Strengthening state firearm policies may prevent firearm suicide and homicide, with benefits that may extend beyond state lines,” the authors write.

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