Children in states with minimal firearm policies have a significantly higher death rate compared to those in states with strict gun laws, according to a new national study. The research will be presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) 2023 Meeting, held April 27-May 1 in Washington, D.C.
The study analyzed 6,491 pediatric firearm-related deaths between 2016 and 2020 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with state rankings for firearm legislation from Giffords Law Center, a national nonprofit that tracks and analyzes firearm legislation in all 50 states. States are ranked on the strength of gun laws on a scale from least lenient to most lenient.
Researchers further explored financial implications of gun laws by analyzing the average value of statistical life—a measure of the tradeoff between death risk and money—and found that due to the increased number of deaths in states with more lenient gun laws, residents pay an increased cost to enhance their safety and reduce their risk of injury.
“The unsettling results of this study have dire implications for the health and public safety of children across the United States,” said Amber McKenna, M.D., resident physician at LSU Health Shreveport Pediatrics and presenting author. “The data is clear: more restrictive firearm laws will keep more children alive.”
These findings represent a need to explore frameworks that prioritize public safety.