MONDAY, July 15, 2019 (HealthDay News) — States with stricter firearm legislation have lower rates of firearm-related pediatric mortality, according to a study published online July 15 in Pediatrics.

Monika K. Goyal, M.D., from the Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C., and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study using 2011 to 2015 Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System and Census data. The authors examined the association between pediatric firearm-related mortality and the strictness of firearm legislation and presence of three state laws (universal background checks for firearm purchases and ammunition purchases and identification requirement for firearms).

During the five-year period, 21,241 children died of firearm-related injuries. Most of these deaths (68.7 percent) occurred among those aged 18 to 21 years old. The researchers found lower rates of firearm-related pediatric mortality in states with stricter gun laws (adjusted incident rate ratio, 0.96). Lower firearm-related mortality rates were seen in states with laws requiring universal background checks for firearm purchase that had been in effect for five or more years (adjusted incident rate ratio, 0.65).

“These results support the need for more robust research related to the impact of firearm legislation on firearm-related injury and death in children,” the authors write. “Implementation of evidence-based policies and legislation is required to reduce firearm-related injury in children.”

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