By Jennifer Lilonsky ( | First Posted: Mar 06, 2013 08:30 PM EST

(Photo : Reuters )

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine reveals that states with the strongest gun control laws have fewer gun-related deaths, including both suicides and murders.

Researchers analyzed data on deaths between 2007 and 2010 compiled from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and created a gun law "strength score" system for all 50 states, the highest score being 28.

More than 121,000 gun deaths occurred in the U.S. over the four years of focus for the study and average gun-related death rates varied from 17.9 per 100,000 people in Louisiana to 2.9 per 100,000 in Hawaii. Gun law strength scores varied greatly across the nation as well, with a zero in Utah to 24 in Massachusetts.

And the states with a gun law strength rated at nine and higher, which were considered strong according to the study, presented a lower rate of gun-related deaths of 6.4 fewer per 100,000 people as compared to states that received a lower score of less than two.

Gun-related suicides also showed to occur less in states with a strong gun law score with 6.3 fewer deaths per 100,000 and 0.4 fewer gun-related deaths per 100,000 people than states with weaker gun control laws.

"In conclusion, we found an association between the legislative strength of a state's firearm laws-as measured by a higher number of laws-and a lower rate of firearm fatalities," said Dr. Eric Fleegler of Boston Children's Hospital and colleagues in a JAMA press statement.

"The association was significant for firearm fatalities overall and for firearm suicide and firearm homicide deaths, individually. As our study could not determine a cause-and-effect relationship, further studies are necessary to define the nature of this association."


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