States with strict gun laws see increase in homicides when they border states with lax ones

Gun-related homicide rates in states with strict gun laws increase when neighboring states have less restrictive laws as a result of gun trafficking across state lines, suggests a new study from Penn Medicine. A review of gun tracing data also revealed that 65 percent of the guns recovered in the most restrictive states originated from other states. The findings are published in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery.

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The findings suggest that states with strict firearm legislation may be undermined by less restrictive neighbors, and that the movement of guns from one state to the next plays a significant role in the relationship between a state’s legislation and its fatalities, including homicides.

“Strict state firearm legislation may be driving some to more lax neighboring states to retrieve guns, which in turn increases the number of guns and homicides back in the home state, despite its more restrictive laws,” says senior author Mark J. Seamon, an associate professor of traumatology, surgical critical care, and emergency surgery at Penn Medicine. “Now we have scientific evidence for what common sense previously told us—that the benefits of firearm laws might not be fully realized until either all states reach a certain threshold level of firearm legislation, or more universal federal firearm legislation is enacted.”

Read more at Penn Medicine News.