The Effect of Child Access Prevention Laws on Non-Fatal Gun Injuries
NBER Working Paper No. 11613
Many states have passed child access prevention (CAP) laws, which hold the gun owner responsible if a child gains access to a gun that is not securely stored. Previous CAP law research has focused exclusively on gun-related deaths even though most gun injuries are not fatal. We use annual hospital discharge data from 1988-2001 to investigate whether CAP laws decrease non-fatal gun injuries. Results from Poisson regressions that control for various hospital, county and state characteristics, including state-specific fixed effects and time trends, indicate that CAP laws substantially reduce non-fatal gun injuries among both children and adults. Our interpretation of the estimates as causal impacts is supported by the absence of effects on self-inflicted gun injuries among adults, non-gun self-inflicted injuries, and knife assaults, the failure of violent crime levels and law leads to attain significance or alter estimated law coefficients, and larger coefficient magnitudes in states where the law covers older children.
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