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An Increase In Gun-Related Deaths And Injuries Tied To Nevada State Laws

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Within two weeks after a gun show is held in Nevada, deaths and injuries from firearms in the neighboring areas increase drastically by 69%. But when California hosts gun shows, the state sees no rise in firearm-related incidents in the same time period, a study says.

These findings show how state gun laws affect gun violence and public safety, the authors say. There are over 4,000 gun shows held in the United States yearly, and experts have found that they are responsible for 4 to 9% of America’s firearms sales. Federally licensed gun dealers have to run background checks on prospective buyers, but unlicensed sellers in some states don’t follow the same rules, the Los Angeles Times reports.

California has some of the nation’s strictest gun laws, and requires background checks even at gun shows. Nevada, however, does not.

Ellicott Matthay, a public health researcher at UC Berkeley, and colleagues decided to test the effects of state laws on gun show sales, seeing the differences in these scenarios.

They tallied 275 gun shows in Nevada and 640 in California from January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2013. They then looked at regions in California that were within a one-hour drive of a California gun show, or a two-hour drive of a Nevada gun show.

Then they used state health data to compare gun injuries, fatal and non-fatal, for those regions two weeks before and two weeks after the nearest show. Their statistics showed that 15,000 Californians were injured or killed by firearms in the two weeks before the gun shows, along with 14,893 two weeks after the shows.

In regions near the Nevada gun shows, only 44 Californians were killed or injured two weeks prior, but jumped to 74 two weeks after. That amounted to a 69% increase in firearm-related deaths and injuries.

In addition, Californians suffered more casualties caused by firearms – 70% more – when gun shows were held in Nevada, compared to California. An editorial accompanying the study said that these results invite a discussion on regulating gun sales.

The study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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