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Effectiveness of Legislation Limiting Handgun Purchases

Paul H. Blackman, PhD
JAMA. 1996;276(13):1036. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540130034019.
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To the Editor.  —In July 1993, a Virginia law limited sales of handguns to 1 every 30 days unless police give permission for multiple sales. The law was enacted following active lobbying by Sarah Brady, and now, Brady's employees have evaluated the 30-day law and found it effective. There are several reasons to doubt their findings.1This report is based on tracing data, although such data are "not designed to collect statistics."2 Most crime guns are not traced; most traced guns are not involved in violent crimes,3 and, as even this report acknowledges, traced guns may not be representative of recovered guns.1 Guns that are traced are not randomly chosen and are not representative of guns used in crime.2,3 For example, most cities now report a minority of crime guns to be semiautomatic pistols,4 but New York City recently indicated that at least 86%


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