Study: Post-Sandy Hook gun sales linked to spike in deaths


By William Wan | Washington Post

In the days after the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, gun enthusiasts rushed to buy millions of firearms, driven by fears that the massacre would spark new gun legislation. Those restrictions never became a reality, but a new study concludes that all the additional guns caused a significant jump in accidental firearm deaths.

The study, published Thursday in the journal Science, estimates that the 3 million guns sold in the several months after Sandy Hook caused 60 more accidental gun deaths than would have occurred otherwise. Children were killed in a third of them.

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The work by two Wellesley College economists tackles one of the biggest questions in gun research: how to measure the relationship between gun prevalence and gun deaths. For decades, hamstrung by lack of funding and the politically charged landscape surrounding gun control, researchers have lacked data to try to answer that question.

With no federal or state databases of gun ownership to work from, for example, researchers have struggled to definitively correlate deaths to the presence of guns in homes. They have grappled with what conditions would best determine the factors – gun sales, different state laws, the type of guns available – that might affect gun violence and death.

By seizing on the surge of firearm purchases after the 2012 tragedy in Newtown, Conn., the Wellesley team essentially set up an experimental model to study what happens after such a sudden increase in gun sales.

Neither of the two statisticians who conducted the research – Phillip Levine and Robin McKnight – had worked on gun violence before. McKnight had mostly looked at health insurance issues, and Levine at such social …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics

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