Federal, State Background Check Laws Together Cut Teen Gun Carrying

Significant reduction seen with NICS plus universal background check provision at the point of sale

MONDAY, Dec. 2, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) together with the universal background check (U/BC) significantly reduces gun carrying among adolescents, according to a study published online Dec. 2 in Pediatrics.

Lava R. Timsina, Ph.D., from Indiana University in Indianapolis, and colleagues examined whether NICS had an effect on adolescent gun carrying in a cross-sectional study using National Youth Risk Behavior Survey data from 1993 to 2017.

The researchers found that on average, 5.8 percent of the cohort reported carrying a gun. About 17 and 83 percent of the respondents who carried guns were from states with a U/BC provision at the point of sale and from states that did not have such laws, respectively. Gun carrying was reduced significantly with the NICS together with U/BCs (adjusted relative risk, 0.75; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.566 to 0.995; P = 0.046); however, the NICS independently did not reduce gun carrying (adjusted relative risk, 0.951; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.819 to 1.106; P = 0.516).

"Our findings suggest that federal systems for conducting background checks do not independently reduce adolescent gun carrying on a national level," the authors write. "It is possible that both federal and state background check laws work together to reduce gun carrying in high school students."

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