The Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis partnered with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health on the study. Researchers wanted to learn the impact of California law on homicide and suicide rates. The study looked at firearm homicide and suicide rates during the first 10 years of California enacting background checks and misdemeanor violence prohibition policies in 1991. Researchers compared the rates to 32 states without these polices during this time.
The study found no net difference between firearm-related homicide rates during the 10 years after California enacted the law. This study disagrees with studies conducted in Connecticut and Missouri.
Now, the study did determine that suicide rates with firearms had fallen. However, the decease was similar to the reduction in non-firearm suicide rates. Suicides dropped, regardless of the method. The study also found that the National Instant Check System is flawed because of a lack of reporting to NICS.
“Incomplete reporting of prohibiting data to background check systems in the 1990s, prior to implementation of the policies in California, is an important limiting factor,” said Garen Wintemute, senior author on the study, according to Townhall. “In 1990, only 25 percent of criminal records were accessible in the primary federal database used for background checks, and centralized records of mental health prohibitions were almost nonexistent. As a result, a large number of people likely passed their background checks even in cases where, according to law, they should have been prohibited from purchasing a firearm.”
Laws UC Davis Study Followed
In 1991, California enacted universal background checks. This means that all gun sales must go through a licensed dealer, including private sales. It also banned those with certain violent misdemeanor convictions from purchasing and possessing guns. Additionally, Californians must wait 10 days after purchase to obtain guns.
Now this study proves what gun owners have been saying for years. Universal background checks will not prevent gun violence. After all, criminals do not typically purchase their firearm legally. Also, NICS doesn’t work the way it should, as states don’t report properly to NICS. In fact, both the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation have long advocated something called Fix NICS. Of course, until both sides come to some sort of agreement, not much will change.