ORIGIN: Community guide systematic review
Publication Date: 12/07/2009
Firearms are the second leading cause of injury and deaths in the United States accounting for 30,896 deaths and 71,417 injuries in 2006. Over 80 percent of teen homicides and almost half of teen suicides in involved a gun in 2005. CDC: WISQUARS. Overall, more than half of all homicides involve a gun. US Department of Justice: Crime Statistics.
State “shall issue laws” require state and local authorities to issue licenses to individuals authorizing the carrying of a concealed firearm as long as the individuals meet enumerated criteria. These laws are distinguishable from “may issue laws,” which require an individual to establish a compelling need to carry a concealed firearm. For examples of shall issue laws, see Minn. Stat. § 624.714, subd. 1(a) (Minnesota) and 18 Pa C.S. §6109(e)(1) (Pennsylvania). It has been suggested that shall issue laws reduce violent crime by facilitating the carrying of concealed weapons by non-criminals.
In a systematic review, Hahn et al. reviewed four studies that measured the national impact of shall issue laws on homicide, aggravated assault, robbery, rape, and killing of police officers. Hahn, et al. Firearms laws and the reduction of violence: a systemic review. Am J Prev Med. 2005;28(2S1):40-71. Two studies found a reduction in homicides associated with shall issue laws, but a third found mixed results across different counties and an overall increase in homicides. The fourth study, which focused on whether shall issue laws harmfully increase gun-related crime, found a statistically insignificant reduction in killings of police. In view of these findings and the limited number of relevant primary studies, the reviewers concluded that there is insufficient evidence to support the effectiveness of shall issues laws as public health interventions aimed at reducing violent crime.
A new firearms research database launched by the Harvard School of Public Health makes scholarly articles more accessible to reporters, law enforcement, public health officials, policymakers, and the general public. The Firearms Research Digest (www.firearmsresearch.org) provides summaries of articles gathered from social science, criminology, medical and public health journals and is written in clear, accessible language for use by those outside academia.
The website currently covers six years of research published between 2003 and 2008. The digest will be expanded over time to include articles from 1988 to the present.
Additional Resources: The Firearms Research Digest
A Public Health Law Research Program “Evidence Brief” summarizes the research assessing the effect of a specific law or policy on public health.
Evidence Briefs are prepared by the staff of the National Program Office. Briefs are based on systematic literature reviews conducted by highly-regarded scholars and published by credible organizations or peer-reviewed journals. Evidence Briefs digest the best available evidence, but readers should bear in mind that even the best evidence may have limitations or deficiencies.
The evidence briefs are organized by topic and intervention. Each law or policy is classified as “effective,” “uncertain” or “harmful,” according to the conclusions of the expert reviewers. These are not independent conclusions of the NPO, nor do they reflect the views of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Each Evidence Brief includes links to the study on which it is based. In many cases, the study is available in the public domain, but access to some may require a subscription.