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The Impact of State Firearm Laws on Homicide Rates among Black and White Populations in the United States, 1991-2016

NCJ Number
Health & Social Work Volume: 44 Issue: 4 Dated: 2019 Pages: 232-240
Date Published
9 pages

This study examined the potential differential effects of state-level firearm laws on Black and White populations.


Using a panel design, the study examined the relationship between state firearm laws and homicide victimization rates among White people and Black people in 39 states during the period between 1991 and 2016. Authors modeled homicide rates using linear regression with year and state fixed effects and controlled for a range of time-varying, state-level factors. Results showed that laws mandating universal background checks and permit requirements were associated with lower homicide rates among both White and Black populations, and “shall issue” laws were associated with higher homicide rates among both White and Black populations. Laws that prohibit firearm possession among people convicted of a violent misdemeanor or require relinquishment of firearms by people with a domestic violence restraining order were associated with lower Black homicide rates, but not with White homicide rates. Author identification of heterogeneity in the associations between state firearm laws and homicide rates among different racial groups has implications for reducing racial health disparities. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2019