Note: As mass shootings gain more media attention, more and more people are discussing gun control. While many seem to believe that registering all guns, requiring background checks for all purchases, and preventing identifiably dangerous people from purchasing guns are all good ideas, just as many seem to be afraid that any gun control law will mean the loss of all civilian guns. Organizations like the NRA play on these fears, telling people that guns are already too regulated and any further action will mean the loss of the much cherished 2nd Amendment (which is more for well-regulated militia than civilians, but that’s an argument for another day).
So I wanted to see what exactly the gun laws are in each state. Are guns too regulated? Do states with tight gun laws have more gun violence or less? What does it even take to get a gun nowadays? With these questions in mind, I’ll be starting a new weekly series – Gun Laws, State by State. I will try to document the most up-to-date gun laws in each state as well as provide facts on gun deaths in each state. Hopefully, by the time I get to the last state, we will all be better educated on gun control and gun deaths. If you have any additional information on the state in question, add it in the comments.
Previous post: Alaska
New York has some of the strictest gun laws in the country (especially in New York City), receiving an A- rating from the Law Center of Prevent Gun Violence. In New York:
- You need a permit to purchase or possess a handgun
- All sellers (including independent) must issue background checks
- You must register all of your firearms
- You can only buy one firearm every 90 days
- You must be licensed and complete a safety course
It also has pretty low rate of gun-related crime, including:
- Being 48th in the nation for gun-related deaths
- Only 4.2 out of 100,000 people dying from gun-related deaths every year
- Being 49th in the nation for crime gun exports
However, it did have 21 mass shootings in 2015 that killed 19 and injured 90.
I think New York does a decent job of showing what strict crime laws can accomplish. It sees fewer gun-related deaths in per capita and actual numbers than many other states, including California. Fewer domestic violence homicides and general homicides involve a firearm, and the police and government are able to pass laws that penalize dealers and buyers who act fraudulently.
However, it’s worrying that New York saw over 20 mass shootings in 2015. It’s understandable given that mass shootings seem to correlate with higher population density areas, but it’s still worrying. To see why mass shootings happen, we’d have to research more intensely the actual shootings themselves. Where they gang-related? Were they heat-of-the-moment-related? What caused them and is there anything outside of gun control that we can do to reduce them?
Overall, that’s what I’ve gotten from this project so far: mass shootings are influenced by more than just gun laws. Yes, stricter gun laws can help, but if the population density is high and the crime gun imports are high, they will still exist. I’d like to see some research into mass shootings and not just mass hysteria.