By Dan Whitcomb
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Firearms-related deaths and injuries
increased 70 percent in parts of California in the weeks after
gun shows in neighboring Nevada, which has fewer regulations on
such events, a University of California, Berkeley study released
on Monday found.
The research could help prevent gun deaths by charting a pattern
between where weapons are purchased at gun shows and where
shootings take place, according to the authors.
The study, which was partly funded by the National Institutes of
Health, examined firearm injury rates before and after California
and Nevada gun shows between 2005 and 2013 in areas of California
near the shows.
Researchers found that rates of firearm injuries were steady
after California gun shows but increased significantly, from 0.67
to 1.14 per 100,000 people, in California regions near the Nevada
The authors of the study, which will be published in an upcoming
issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, say California’s stricter
gun regulations could help explain why there was an increase
after Nevada gun shows and not California shows.
Another possible explanation for the difference is that
California gun buyers are bypassing that state’s 10-day waiting
period by driving into Nevada to make their purchase.
“Better understanding the long-term effects of gun show policies,
and the patterns of acquisition and use of firearms, would
provide important evidence to inform future efforts to prevent
firearm injuries,” the study concludes.
The new research comes just weeks after wealthy retiree and
gambler Stephen Paddock opened fire on an outdoor music festival
on the Las Vegas strip, killing 58 people before taking his own
A gun show scheduled for Las Vegas later that week was canceled
in the aftermath of the massacre.
An editorial accompanying the study called on Congress to fund
more research into the way public policy affects firearms-related
injuries and deaths.
“The recent mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, was a painful
reminder that injuries and deaths resulting from access to guns
continue to bedevil many parts of U.S. society,” said Ali
Rowhani-Rahbar and Frederick Rivara of the University of
Washington, who were not involved in the study.
The National Rifle Association said it would need to evaluate the
research before commenting.
California has some of the nation’s strictest gun laws, including
a comprehensive set of regulations on gun shows. Nevada’s gun
laws are some of the least restrictive in the country and impose
fewer rules on gun shows.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Patrick Enright and Andrew