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J Rural Health. 2019 Jul 30. doi: 10.1111/jrh.12387. [Epub ahead of print]

The Impact of State Firearm Laws on Homicide Rates in Suburban and Rural Areas Compared to Large Cities in the United States, 1991-2016.

Author information

1
Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.
2
Metropolitan College, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts.
3
Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

This article aims to examine whether state firearm laws impact homicide rates differently in suburban and rural areas compared to large cities in the United States.

METHODS:

We analyzed serial, cross-sectional data for the 26-year period 1991-2016 using a panel design. We examined the relationship between 6 specific state firearm laws and homicide rates in large cities (those with greater than 100,000 people in 1990) and in all geographic areas outside of these cities. Using a city-level fixed effects negative binomial regression, we modeled the number of homicides as a function of state firearm laws, while controlling for time fixed effects and time-varying state- and city-level sociodemographic factors.

FINDINGS:

Two policies-universal background checks and "may issue" laws that required a heightened showing of suitability for concealed carry-were associated with lower firearm homicide rates in large cities but were not associated with firearm homicide rates in suburban and rural areas. In contrast, laws that prohibited gun possession by people convicted of a violent misdemeanor were associated with lower firearm homicide rates in suburban and rural areas, but were not associated with firearm homicide rates in large cities. Permit requirements were associated with lower firearm homicide rates in both large cities and suburban and rural areas.

CONCLUSIONS:

This article provides the first evidence that state firearm laws may have a differential impact on firearm homicide rates in suburban and rural areas compared to urban areas in the United States.

KEYWORDS:

firearm laws; firearms; homicide; rural health; urban health

PMID:
31361355
DOI:
10.1111/jrh.12387

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