Gun deaths is a disingenuous term in the modern American political climate, because it includes suicides and assumes a lack of access to guns would eliminate the 60 percent of handgun deaths that are suicides, or guns used by criminals.

Gun ownership does not seem to lead to more murders, and murders are the real concern. There, we have a Handgun Paradox, where even in states like California, which make it more difficult to get a concealed weapons permit, gun ownership has boomed but murders have plummeted. 

Yet if a trickle down effect is acceptable economics, it might also work in guns. 

A new analysis by scholars at Columbia University (located in New York City, where there is no legal gun permit available) Mailman School of Public Health looked at the associations between firearm-related laws and firearm homicides, suicides, and unintentional injuries and deaths.

They didn't find that gun restrictions help reduce gun deaths but did see a modest decline after countries passed new restrictions on gun purchasing and ownership. The review was of 130 studies conducted from 1950 to 2014 in 10 countries that had overhauled their gun law, mostly in the developed world, including the U.S., Australia, and Austria. A few studies looked at gun laws in middle-income countries, including Brazil, Colombia and South Africa.

They found evidence that specific laws, such as background checks and rules on storage, reduced specific kinds of gun deaths, including intimate partner homicides and firearm unintentional deaths in children, respectively, even if they did not impact deaths overall (like suicides).

However, fewer restrictions also made no difference. Laws allowing concealed weapons or standing your ground either had no effect on gun deaths or slightly increased gun violence.

Findings are published online in the February issue of Epidemiologic Reviews.
Source: Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health