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Study: Tough gun laws result in fewer kids' deaths

Children living in states with stricter gun laws are less likely to die from gun violence than their peers in states with looser restrictions, a new study has found. 

The study, published in Pediatrics on Monday, found that stricter gun laws led to a lower risk of children dying from firearms, Bloomberg reports.

The study found that states with stricter gun laws had 4 percent fewer gun-related child deaths, according to Bloomberg.

Researchers also found that states that had universal background checks in place for at least five years had a 35 percent lower risk for pediatric deaths.

Gun violence is the second leading cause of death for Americans under 21, with 4,250 firearm-related deaths each year. 

The study analyzed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data on deaths caused by firearms for 2011 and 2015 and cross-referenced findings with gun law scorecards from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. 

"As a pediatric emergency medicine physician, I have personally cared for too many children who have been unfortunate victims of gun violence," lead author Monika Goyal, director of research in emergency medicine at Children's National in Washington, told Bloomberg.

"Although there has been a recent uptick in firearm-injury prevention research, our country has not embraced this issue as it has other public health crises. An evidence-based and data-driven approach is the only way to combat this public health epidemic."

The study did not show that implementing stricter gun laws would lead to fewer gun-related pediatric deaths, but rather that states with stricter gun laws had fewer pediatric deaths. 

The results follow the National Rifle Association (NRA) telling doctors to "stay in their lane" and not advocate for gun control. Doctors pushed back on the NRA, sharing bloody photos showing the after math of gun violence. 

In a statement, NRA spokesperson Lars Dalseide said the NRA has done "more to promote the safe and responsible use of firearms" than any other organization with program such as the Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program. 

 

"But any social scientist worth their salt has to question a study that cherry picks a microscopic 5-year time window of data when there is more than 50 years of data available," Dalseide said in the statement.

 

"Add that to the fact that they did not find causality, they used an arbitrary (at best) metric to measure gun laws, and they included adults in a study about children suggests this study is more propaganda than scientific research," he added.

 

 

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