(National Journal) – As of the final days of August, the United States has seen more than 200 mass shootings in 2015. The murder of WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward on Wednesday during an on-air broadcast brought the issue of guns back to the forefront of the political debate.
Hours after the incident, 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted her support for the immediate tightening of gun laws. Across the aisle, Republican contenders also expressed sympathy and grief, but dismissed the call for stricter gun legislation, citing other factors—mental health, poor law enforcement—as the causes of America’s gun violence problem. One candidate asked, “What law in the world could have prevented him from killing them?”
While it’s certainly true that a number of factors contribute to the high rates of gun violence in the U.S., a comparison of state laws versus rates of shooting deaths does show a correlation. The states that impose the most restrictions on gun users also have the lowest rates of gun-related deaths, while states with fewer regulations typically have a much higher death rate from guns.