States with two of these measures had 13-percent lower rates, and those with just one had 6-percent lower rates. Over the study period, more than 350,000 homicides were committed in America. Especially effective are measures that restrict the access of people with a history of violence.
Certain kinds of gun-control measures have more public support than others.
The study concluded that both the United States and Yemen were distinct from the other countries surveyed in viewing firearm ownership as a basic right of civilians and in having more permissive regimes of civilian gun ownership.
At the international and regional level, diplomatic attention has tended to focus on the cross-border illegal trade in small arms as an area of particular concern rather than the regulation of civilian-held firearms.
The researchers note in their policy brief: The underlying goal of firearm policy should be to find the most effective ways of limiting access to firearms among individuals who are shown to be potentially dangerous based on their criminal history without casting the net so wide as to prevent law-abiding citizens from purchasing or possessing guns.
This is precisely what our research suggests would be most effective: identifying people who are at the highest risk for violence based on a past history of violence or the presence of a restraining order and stringently enforcing that gun possession prohibition.
For example, a large majority of Americans support universal background checks, including a whopping 97 percent of people in gun-owning households.
Meanwhile, just two-thirds of Americans and roughly half of people in gun-owning households support assault-weapons bans.
Ultimately, this is strategic and useful advice for policymakers, gun-control advocates, and all Americans who would like to see the nation finally make progress in restricting guns and bringing down high homicide rates.
Focusing on who does and doesn’t have access to guns—especially violent offenders—appears more effective, and more politically feasible, than trying to limit access to this or that kind of firearm.