Study finds California’s background checks had no impact on gun violence

A joint study by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of California at Davis Violence Prevention Research Program has determined that California’s strict gun control laws had no measurable impact on gun violence or deaths in the state.

The study examines the decade after the state’s 1991 implementation of comprehensive background checks (CBC) and its prohibition of gun ownership for those convicted of nonviolent misdemeanors (MVP).

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

DOES GUN CONTROL WORK?:  A new study out of California challenges the notion that popular gun control measures such as universal background checks have a tangible impact on gun deaths and suicides.

The findings are contrary to the popular notion among gun control advocates that universal background checks are a life-saving tool.

The CBC means that all gun sales including those between private individuals must go through a Federal Firearms License dealer. Another provision was that shotgun and rifle purchases must adhere to a 15-day wait-period while the CBC is processed.

Researchers compared annual gun suicide and homicide rates for the subsequent decade with data from another 32 states which didn’t have such gun legislation. The conclusion from the study found “no change in the rates of either cause of death [homicide or suicide] from firearms through 2000.”

The summary continues: “The simultaneous implementation of CBC and MVP policies was not associated with a net change in the firearm homicide rate over the ensuing 10 years in California,” it states. “The decrease in firearm suicides in California was similar to the decrease in non-firearm suicides in that state. Results were robust across multiple model specifications and methods.”

Organizations like Gun Sense Vermont, which promote laws like expanded background checks, continue to promote them on their website.

“Background checks are the only systematic way to stop felons, domestic abusers, people with severe mental illnesses, and other dangerous people from buying guns,” their webpage states. “Since its creation in 1998, the National Instant Background Check System has worked well where it has been required, resolving over 90 percent of checks instantaneously and blocking more than two million gun purchases by convicted criminals and other dangerous people.”

Chris Bradley, president of the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, commented on the study.

“I’m not surprised at all, this is in fact what the Federation and other pro-gun groups have been saying right along is this doesn’t impact straw purchases, this doesn’t impact someone’s ability to get lethal means,” he said. “So we’re not surprised at all and in fact, we would like to see a focus at least concerning suicides.”

Vermont is currently considering a bill which would create a waiting period in Vermont for gun purchases. The thinking is gun suicides might be reduced if there is a gap between the decision to buy a gun and the time to take it home. Critics argue that gun suicides in Vermont extremely rare and furthermore such a wait period undermines the safety of those who need a gun quick during an emergency.

Bradley reminded that while the intended consequences of these bills may not be happening, there are unintended consequences which will happen. He talked about the example of a woman who seeks a gun after obtaining a relief-from-abuse order from a hostile former partner.

“These are people who can prove to a judge that their life may be in jeopardy,” he said. “Yet they’ve got to wait?”

He said he’s done some research into deaths that had occurred in which the victim was waiting for a gun during one of these waiting periods.

“I have a list of people that felt they were in danger and went through the motion of trying to buy a firearm to defend themselves, were stopped because of a waiting period, and then during that period they were killed by their estranged partner,” he said.

Bradley said these gun laws ultimately may help put gun control advocates at ease, but that’s all they will accomplish.

“This is a feel-good, ‘we’ve done something at the end of the day,'” he said. “We’re gonna pass this law because it looks so good on paper. It doesn’t matter what those gun people say, we can go to bed at night knowing that we’ve done something.”

Bill Moore of the Vermont Traditions Coalition said he generally agrees with the sentiments expressed by Bradley. He added one thought on the notion that gun control bills might make a difference.

“When there’s a simple idea for a complex problem, usually it’s neither a solution nor is it simple,” he said.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North Reports. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection

11 thoughts on “Study finds California’s background checks had no impact on gun violence

  1. That’s two pro 2nd amendment rulings coming from Mexifornia… What’s going on?
    The first being a ruling on magazine restriction limiting a citizen from protecting him/her self
    from multiple attackers being unconstitutional.. The gun grabbers are not swayed by
    facts since the only facts they choose to listen to are the made up ones…and
    feelz mostly the feelz….
    Oh by the way Leftards of the loonie bin…criminals DON’T give a crap about
    laws that’s why their called CRIMINALS….

  2. They have an agenda. It doesn’t matter that multiple studies prove them wrong. They have an agenda that backed by the likes of Bloomberg, Soros and they are not going to change it. The only way to beat these mindless fools is to vote them all out..

  3. I gave this info. over two months ago to the Senate and and House Judiciary committees. NO RESPONSE. Beyond this study, CDC, Duke Univ., the Univ. Cleveland, and others have come to the same conclusion. But our Representatives and Senators believe Gifford’s, Gun Sense Vermont, et al and do not recognize impartial academic bodies.

    Senator Ingram sent me propaganda literature form the Giffords Foundation and suggested it was a good source to better understand why waiting periods, magazine capacity, etc. are needed. I couldn’t believe the naivety and the panache of this senator to blatantly forward such skewed, one sided information. She then said she is open to hearing both sides, as always”. Yupper!

    Isn’t it interesting that today, the Senate wants to change the Vermont constitution to read, re. abortions, that a woman’s right to reproductive autonomy is a protected right and SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED UPON. Wow, where have I heard that wording before?

    I guess it depends on whether you are buying or selling. When it comes to guns, infringement is meaningless. When it comes to abortions, then that is different and is a mandatory clause.

    These people are all hypocrites and unabashed about it.

    • Beagle

      This is what I received in communication from senator DIngram.

      “Thank you for writing. I
      know the whole conversation around gun safety bills
      continues to be controversial, and I assure you I do support
      your Second Amendment rights. I keep hoping that people
      of good will on both sides can come to some agreements to
      try to decrease the amount of gun violence there is in our
      country right now, and to protect our children, while
      preserving the rights of sensible gun owners.”

      “In that spirit, I voted in favor of the compromise measures
      in S169, which reinstated some of the permissions for
      high-capacity magazines and also set up a 24-hour waiting
      period for handguns only. These measures passed the full
      Senate today.”

      My reply to her and that’s where the { “Conversation”} they so badly want to have ended,as she either couldn’t or didn’t want to answer me.

      Senator Ingram

      Thank you for replying to me on this matter.

      Below you will see quotes from your/our governing documents,that you have sworn a oath to.

      Vermont Constitution

      Article 16th. Right to bear arms; standing armies; military power subordinate to civil authority.

      That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State – and as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to and governed by the civil power.

      U S Constitution/Bill Of Rights

      A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

      The state of Vermont,when it signed on to become the 14 th. state in the union of several states,found it’s self subservient to the Federal Constitution.

      Just where in those two clauses do you find or read anything that would lead you or any other of Vermont’s elected representatives to believe, that as you wrote;

      “the whole conversation around gun safety bills
      continues to be controversial, and I assure you I do support
      your Second Amendment rights. I keep hoping that people
      of good will on both sides can come to some agreements to
      try to decrease the amount of gun violence there is in our
      country right now, and to protect our children, while
      preserving the rights of sensible gun owners.”

      You or any other representative that voted for the bill S 169 would have violated their oath of office or perhaps I fail to understand the meaning of “shall not be infringed” in regards to the 2 nd. amendment.

      Thank You for your time on this matter and letting me know that because you and other politicians in the spirt of compromise,decided to infringe on my natural rights and that further more I’m not sensible because I disagree with that infringement. Sincerely

    • Sen DEBBIE INGRAM of Williston, Chittenden County, was born in Savannah, Georgia
      “Debbie began her career in the film and television industry in Los Angeles, where she worked in development and production, and she ran a communications consulting firm in Bangladesh for seven years, writing, producing, and directing award-winning videos. Debbie is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ (UCC). This is Debbie’s first term in the Senate.”.

      Another Flatlander in Chittenden County. A complete know-it-al. If she read a paper that says the Earth is flat she’d believe it. Her rhetoric about bogus crap being authoritative and ignore Constitutional rights is paramount control. By ignoring her oath, to me, that’s violation of office and treason. She maybe a minister who is suppose to care about people, (the majority), yet she only cares about who’s pulling her strings and the money to change her mind from reality,

      Her educational background and experiences certainly didn’t educate her into politics. Instead of being “Strengthening Families, Vice Chair” she’s ruining families.

      • Not only a flatlander extraordinaire *ingram* but also a DUI er who’d rather
        run over a few people in her Mercedes then let you have your
        “Inalienable Rights”. Never did hear what penalty she got for that..

  4. Facts are facts but the Liberal DemocRATs have an agenda and no matter what any results
    show, if it’s not in there favor they will not believe the data !!

    That includes No Russian collusion and Hillary one the Presidency………Wake up, People !!

  5. Of course they are and also Un Constitutional as the Bill of Rights ie 2 nd. amendment prohibits government from any law infringing on arms period.

    Just as of Friday a western district judge ruled Commiefornia’s Magazine Ban Un Constitutional,as of 03/29/19 standard capacity magazines are once again flowing to the Freedom starved gun owners of Commiefornia.

    Read the decision for your self,however it starts out with a quote from the now dead lion of the senate.

    “Individual liberty and freedom are not outmoded concepts. “The judiciary is – and is often the only – protector of individual rights that are at the heart of our democracy.” — Senator Ted Kennedy, Senate Hearing on the Nomination of Robert Bork, 1987.

    The Fascist Taliban that inhabits Montpelier is going to receive the same decision in their quest to infringe on Vermonters of their Art. 16 and 2 nd. rights in their magazine ban.

  6. Of course it doesn’t and as the 2 nd. amendment prohibits government from infringing arms in the first place,back round checks of any kind are UnConstitutional.

    Just as Commiefornia’s magazine ban was ruled Un Constitutional and as of Friday 03/29/19,the standard capacity magazines are once again shipping to the Freedom starved gun owners of Commiefornia.
    The judges order started with this quote from the now dead,Lion of the Senate.

    “Individual liberty and freedom are not outmoded concepts. “The judiciary is – and is often the only – protector of individual rights that are at the heart of our democracy.” — Senator Ted Kennedy, Senate Hearing on the Nomination of Robert Bork, 1987.

    Read the decision for your self.

    This is also going to be the outcome for Vermont’s magazine ban,brought to Vermonters by the Fascist Taliban that inhabits Montpelier.

  7. The purpose for which an action is promoted, particularly in government, is too often not the real reason behind its proposal. Once the program has been demonstrated not to serve the advertised purpose, is it eliminated? If not, then the promoted purpose was not the real reason for its existence. Like the Democrats who spent twenty five million taxpayer dollars to reveal that the Russian collusion didn’t happen, that the issue was a blatant Democrat scam – but they want to press ahead with the investigation despite the disappearance of the originally promoted justification. I’m reminded of the old line about the officer asking the tramp “Why are you loitering here?” – “I’m waiting for the trolley.” – “There ain’t no trolley comes by here.” – “That’s why I’ve been hanging around so long.”

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