90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Study Finds States With Most Gun Laws Have Fewest Gun Deaths But…

Figure 1. from the study: Firearm-related mortality rates, legislative strength scores and total firearm deaths in the United States, 2007 through 2010. (JAMA)

Figure 1. from the study: Firearm-related mortality rates, legislative strength scores and total firearm deaths in the United States, 2007 through 2010 (click to enlarge). (JAMA Internal Medicine)

Harvard researchers have found that states with the most gun laws also had the fewest firearm deaths.

The lead researcher of the study “Firearm Legislation and Firearm-Related Fatalities in the United States” published in JAMA Internal Medicine is Dr. Eric Fleegler, an emergency room pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital.

He told Here & Now’s Robin Young that while the study shows an association between gun deaths and gun laws, it does not prove that more gun laws are the reason for fewer gun deaths.

“In states that have the most [gun] laws, there is a 42 percent reduction in fatalities, compared to those states with the least number of laws,” Fleegler said. “You can’t necessarily say one absolutely led to the other … but you can say those things are related.”

The study underscores the need for better data, Fleegler said, to help us understand how gun deaths are distributed geographically, by age and other details, so we can act appropriately to curb violence.

“One of the major challenges that has existed over the past 15 years is that basically all avenues of federal funding – either the CDC or the NIH – have been cut off from studying firearm fatalities,” Fleegler said. “I’m a pediatric emergency medicine doctor. If there are ten children who die from a toy or some sort of injury, there is an incredible human cry that we make sure that we stop those types of deaths. Here on the other side you have 31,000 people who die every single year from firearms. That is a number of deaths on virtually an unprecedented level, and nothing is being done to understand this or reduce it.”

Guest:

  • Dr. Eric Fleegler, emergency room pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital and lead author of a new study on guns.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

October 29 Comment

Reporter Crosses Into Syria To Tell Stories Of Fighters

Holly Williams of CBS discusses some of the people she's interviewed, including women soldiers on the frontlines.

October 29 6 Comments

How Far Have We Come Since The Financial Crisis?

Or are we already going backwards? We ask Michael Lewis, author of books including "Flash Boys" and "Liar's Poker."

October 28 Comment

Cooking With The Fruit Of Fall

Apples are abundant, but so are pears, pomegranates, persimmons and figs. Our resident chef shares six recipes.

October 28 2 Comments

The Mystery Of Michael Rockefeller’s Disappearance

A new book attempts to piece together what happened to the 23-year-old heir, who went missing in Dutch New Guinea in 1961.