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Study shows more American lives can be saved with stronger gun laws

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A new study shows that nearly 300,000 lives could be saved over the next decade in the United States if all 50 states adopt gun control laws similar to those in place in California.

The study, released Friday by Everytown for Gun Safety, a New York-based nonprofit organization advocating for gun control, scored every state on the strength of its gun laws and compared it with its rate of gun violence. The report placed California as a top “national leader” in gun law strength, rating the state with a score of 89.5 out of 100 — the highest among all states. The state also held a low gun death rate of 8.7 per 100,000 residents, despite being the most populous state in the country. In contrast, Arkansas is ranked last in the nation due to the weakness of its gun laws with a score of 3 out of 100. The state has roughly one-thirteenth of California’s population, but it has a gun death rate of 22.1 per 100,000 residents, the study showed. The researchers used data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The analysis drew a clear correlation between stricter gun laws and lower gun death rates. “States with strong laws see less gun violence. Indeed, the states that have failed to put basic protections into place — ‘national failures’ on our scale — have a much higher rate of gun deaths than the national gun safety leaders,” said the report. The researchers noted that the national gun safety landscape has seen states move in opposite directions in recent years. While 12 states categorized as “making progress” have strengthened their firearm laws in recent years, 26 other states have made “the dangerous decision to repeal their concealed carry permit requirements,” according to the report.

The researchers pinpointed five foundational laws that they said have proven to be most effective in reducing gun violence, all of which are implemented in California. Those laws include requirements for a background check or permits to purchase firearms; a permit to carry concealed guns in public; the secure storage of firearms; the rejection of “Stand Your Ground” laws; and the enactment of “extreme risk” laws that temporarily remove a person’s access to firearms when there is evidence that they pose a serious risk to themselves or others.

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