A new study shows that states that require a background check before purchasing a handgun experience significantly fewer mass shootings, reports The Huffington Post.
Federal laws require background checks for handgun purchases, but many other states have loopholes, allowing purchases to occur online or through private sellers and without background checks. While the study from the organization Everytown for Gun Safety may seem to state the obvious, the notion that background checks save lives is still hugely controversial in the U.S., for some reason.
According to The Huffington Post:
Between January 2009 and July 2015, Everytown identified 133 mass shootings in the U.S. — defined as as incidents in which at least four people were killed with a gun. Controlling for population, states that required background checks saw 52 percent fewer mass shootings than those without them.
Not that surprisingly, states with mandated background checks also saw 63 percent fewer mass shootings committed by individuals barred from gun ownership. Nationally during that period, nearly 40 percent of mass shootings were perpetrated by people prohibited by federal law from possessing guns.
Ted Alcorn, research director at Everytown of Gun Safety, said this was the first time the organization investigated the association between state laws and mass shootings.
“State laws have been shown to have an influence on rates of gun violence in a pretty voluminous body of research," Alcorn said. "When we see a state law that prevents people from buying a handgun without a background check at a gun show or online market, and we see a lower rate of mass shootings as a result, I think it’s fair to draw the conclusion that they may be related."
Data from Everytown studies have also revealed that the majority of mass shootings in the U.S. are domestic violence-related, and that states with background checks have 46 percent fewer murders of women by their intimate partners.