Firearm deaths, injuries in California surge after gun shows in Nevada, study finds

BERKELEY, Calif. — Gun shows in Nevada subsequently lead to an increase in the incidence of gun violence in neighboring California, a new study finds.

Researchers at UC Berkeley looked at data on firearm deaths and injuries in California following 275 gun shows held in Nevada, particularly focusing on communities in the nation’s largest state that directly bordered the Silver State.

A new study finds that firearm-related deaths and injuries spike in California after gun shows are held in neighboring Nevada.

Nevada, it should be noted, has some of the nation’s weakest regulations on guns, while California has some of the strongest.

The researchers found that many California areas within reasonable driving distance of Nevada saw a 70 percent increase in gun violence following such firearm events, many of which do not require buyers undergo background checks.

Meanwhile, there were no similar outcomes in either state following gun shows hosted in California, perhaps attributable to the Golden State’s more stringent laws on purchases at gun shows.

“Our study suggests that California’s strict regulations— on firearms, generally, and on gun shows, specifically — may be effective in preventing short-term increases in firearm deaths and injuries following gun shows,” says Ellicott Matthay, the study’s lead author, in a university news release.

The 70 percent increase documented after exhibitions translated into 30 additional firearm deaths or injuries, the researchers added. While the state border between Nevada and California is sparsely populated, these findings may hint at a bigger problem, they note.

“There are thousands of gun shows in the United States each year, most of them in relatively unregulated states,” explains Jennifer Ahern, the study’s senior author. “If we extended this study nationwide, it is possible that the number of deaths and injuries associated with gun shows would be far greater.”

In other words, California and Nevada may be a study of opposites in terms of the letter of the law, but they may tell us something more on a macro level.

“When a less-restrictive is next to a state that is more restrictive, there may be spillover effects,” Matthay concludes. “More research is needed to know for certain.”

The study’s findings were published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.