Though Connecticut may conjure images of blue blood families and prep schools, in the early 90s residents were regularly being gunned down in drive-by shootings.
At the time, the Hartford Courant called the state “a shooting gallery,” and lawmakers responded by passing a gun control bill in 1994 which required people to get a license to purchase a handgun. In order to receive a permit, people would have to pass a gun safety course and a background check. Even private gun sales required a permit.
Although critics decried the plan and argued it failed to address the black market, a 10-year study conducted by Johns Hopkins University and the University of California, Berkeley have virtually silenced the naysayers.
A study released in the American Journal of Public Health on Thursday conclude that the law cut gun homicides by 40 percent between 1996 and 2005. They estimate approximately 296 lives have been saved in 10 years.
Researchers compared Connecticut to 39 other states who didn't have similar gun permit regulation. They also used that data to create a mathematical model of what Connecticut would look like without the legislation in order to reach those figures.
Daniel Webster, one of the authors on the study and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, dismissed critics who said criminals would still get their hands on guns. He argued that the law made it harder for guns to enter the black market in the first place, driving up the price.
“People assume incorrectly that criminals will do anything and everything in terms of cost and risk to get their hands on a gun,” he said. “But that simply is not what the data tells us.”