Age restrictions for handguns make little difference in homicides as US deals with ‘de facto availability’

Age limits for legal purchase of handguns doesn’t appear to keep young people from getting firearms.Patrick Feller/Flickr

In the United States, individual state laws barring 18- to 20-year-olds from buying or possessing a handgun make little difference in the rate of homicides involving a gun by people in that age group, a new University of Washington studyhas found.

“The central issue is that there’s a very high degree of informal access to firearms, such as through family members or illicit channels,” said Caitlin Moe, the study’s lead author and a doctoral student in epidemiology in the UW School of Public Health. “And we can’t address that kind of availability with age limits.”

The UW study compared homicide rates involving firearms in this age group between five states that increased the minimum age to buy or possess a firearm to higher than the nationwide limits set by the 1994 federal law and the 32 states that did not.

/Public Release. View in full here.