By: Teresa Mull

Comprehensive background checks have not affected California’s homicide and suicide rates over the past decade, a new study has found.

UC Davis Health reports:

A study of firearm homicide and suicide rates in the 10 years after California simultaneously mandated comprehensive background checks for nearly all firearm sales and a prohibition on gun purchase and possession for persons convicted of most violent misdemeanor crimes found no change in the rates of either cause of death from firearms through 2000.

The study, conducted by the Violence Prevention Research Program (VPRP) at UC Davis and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, “compared observed annual firearm homicide and suicide rates in California over 10 years following enactment of comprehensive background check and misdemeanor violence prohibition policies in 1991 with expected rates based on data from 32 control states that did not have these policies and did not implement other major firearm policies during the same time,” UC Davis Health reports. “The study found no net difference between firearm-related homicide rates before and during the 10 years after policy implementation.”

The authors of the study attribute the failure of background checks to “inadequate criminal and mental health records, incomplete compliance, and the small size of the population directly affected by the laws.”

NBCNews reported in 2015, however, that “Eighty-two percent of weapons involved in mass shootings over the last three decades have been bought legally.”

Nikolas Cruz, for instance, who carried out the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida earlier this year, passed a background check to obtain his weapons.

Devin Patrick Kelley, who killed 26 people at a Texas church in 2017, passed a background check to purchase his guns.

Dylann Roof also passed a background check to buy the firearm he used to kill nine people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015.

The list goes on.

Does gun control stop would-be criminals, or criminals who want guns but aren’t legally allowed to own them?

Scientific studies say no.

Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at