California's Gun Laws Can Teach Us How to Curb Gun Deaths

Business Insider
Analyzing the top news stories across the web
Aug. 7 2013 11:01 AM

What The Rest Of America Can Learn From California's Strict Gun Laws  

This post originally appeared in Business Insider.

By Pamela Engel

California, the state with the strictest gun laws in the country, has seen a 56 percent drop in its gun death rate in the past 20 years, according to a study that the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence released last week. The study points out that 5,500 Californians were killed by gunfire in 1993, but that number dropped to 2,935 by 2010. The number of people per 100,000 who were killed by guns also dropped dramatically from 1990 to 2010 (see chart at right, and note that the numbers on the Y axis seem to be spaced unevenly).

Advertisement

While violent crime (including gun deaths) dropped everywhere in the U.S. during the 1990s, gun deaths declined even more in the Golden State. The nonprofit Law Center argues that there's a correlation between the state's strict gun laws and the dramatic drop in the number of deaths from gun violence. This theory is bolstered by other studies done elsewhere—a Center for American Progress study found that states with the weakest gun laws have the highest rates of gun violence, and a study released by Boston Children's Hospital in March found that states with more gun laws have fewer gun-related deaths.

Gun restrictions similar to California's have failed in some other states. Here's a sampling of the regulations the Law Center says have contributed the state's dramatic reduction in gun deaths:

- In 1994, the state passed a law that prohibits people who are subject to a domestic violence restraining order from possessing a firearm.
- In 1999, the state passed a law banning individuals from buying more than one handgun in a 30-day period as part of an effort to fight gun trafficking.
- In 1999, the state began requiring a one-feature test for assault weapons to prevent manufacturers from modifying a banned weapon to make it legal.
- In 2000, the state passed a law banning the sale and manufacturing of ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.
- In 2004, the state made it illegal to posses, manufacture, or sell 50-caliber, military-style firearms.

Of course, there are still ways to evade the law. The man who went on a shooting rampage earlier this year at Santa Monica College and killed five people allegedly used a semiautomatic rifle he built himself with parts he purchased from various sources across the country. But still, there does appear to be some value in California's strict regulations and the effect they have had on gun violence in the state.

See also:

TODAY IN SLATE

The Slatest

Ben Bradlee Dead at 93

The legendary Washington Post editor presided over the paper’s Watergate coverage.

This Scene From All The President’s Men Captures Ben Bradlee’s Genius

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.
Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Free Speech

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 3:13 PM Why Countries Make Human Rights Pledges They Have No Intention of Honoring
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 1:10 PM Women Are Still Losing Jobs for Getting Pregnant
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Behold
Oct. 21 2014 12:05 PM Same-Sex Couples at Home With Themselves in 1980s America
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 5:38 PM Justified Paranoia Citizenfour offers a look into the mind of Edward Snowden.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.