This study examined whether state firearm laws impact homicide rates differently in suburban and rural areas compared to large cities in the United States.
The study analyzed serial, cross sectional data for the 26 year period 1991 to 2016, using a panel design. It examined the relationship between six specific state firearm laws and homicide rates in large cities (those with greater than 100,000 people in 1990) and in all geographic areas outside of these cities. Using a city level fixed effects negative binomial regression, the study modeled the number of homicides as a function of state firearm laws, while controlling for time fixed effects and time varying state and city level sociodemographic factors. Two policies -- universal background checks and may-issue laws that required a heightened showing of suitability for concealed carry were associated with lower firearm homicide rates in large cities, but were not associated with firearm homicide rates in suburban and rural areas. In contrast, laws that prohibited gun possession by people convicted of a violent misdemeanor were associated with lower firearm homicide rates in suburban and rural areas, but were not associated with firearm homicide rates in large cities. Permit requirements were associated with lower firearm homicide rates in both large cities and suburban and rural areas. This study provides the first evidence that state firearm laws may have a differential impact on firearm homicide rates in suburban and rural areas compared to urban areas in the United States. (publisher abstract modified)
Report (Grant Sponsored)
Date Published: January 1, 2019