California’s mandated background checks had no impact on gun deaths

Wednesday, January 8th, 2020

A joint study conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of California at Davis Violence Prevention Research Program found that California’s mandated background checks had no impact on gun deaths:

In 1991, California simultaneously imposed comprehensive background checks for firearm sales and prohibited gun sales (and gun possession) to people convicted of misdemeanor violent crimes. The legislation mandated that all gun sales, including private transactions, would have to go through a California-licensed Federal Firearms License (FFL) dealer. Shotguns and rifles, like handguns, became subject to a 15-day waiting period to make certain all gun purchasers had undergone a thorough background check.

It was the most expansive state gun control legislation in America, affecting an estimated one million gun buyers in the first year alone. Though costly and cumbersome, politicians and law enforcement agreed the law was worth it.

The legislation would “keep more guns out of the hands of the people who shouldn’t have them,” said then-Republican Gov. George Deukmejian.

“I think the new laws are going to help counter the violence,” said LAPD spokesman William D. Booth.

More than a quarter of a century later, researchers at Johns Hopkins and UC Davis dug into the results of the sweeping legislation. Researchers compared yearly gun suicide and homicide rates over the 10 years following implementation of California’s law with 32 control states that did not have such laws.

They found “no change in the rates of either cause of death from firearms through 2000.”


  1. Kirk says:

    First truism: None of the victim disarmament initiatives work.

    Second truism: None of the proponents thereof are at all honest about their intent, which is not to reduce crime, but rather to enable it.

    Third truism: Despite ample evidence for both the first and second truism, none of the ideologues will ever acknowledge those facts.

    Anyone who wants you to give up your arms does not have your best interests at heart. Much like declawing a cat, the effect on the subjects of such policies is not to their benefit; it merely enables the powerful to run roughshod over them, and enables the extermination of troublesome minorities. It was ever so, and will ever be so. Someone demands that you disarm, you may as well die fighting, because that’s eventually where turning in your arms will lead. Maybe not you, maybe not even your children, but certainly your grandchildren will suffer the consequences.

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