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Handgun sales, beer sales, and youth homicide, California, 1972-1993



Handgun sales, beer sales, and youth homicide, California, 1972-1993



Journal of Public Health Policy 22(2): 182-197



Whether regulating access to firearms and alcohol will reduce violent injuries is an important policy question. Empirical answers are difficult to obtain because only observational data are available. The present study estimated the association of firearm sales and alcohol sales with subsequent homicides, after adjusting statistically for potential confounders (e.g., unemployment rates) using California data from 1972 through 1993. Handgun sales and beer sales were lagged one year and used to explain variation in the homicides of Californians (e.g., 1990 sales were used to explain 1991 homicides). Differences across population groups were investigated, with a focus on 15- to 34-year-olds, the highest risk age group. Even when taking potential confounders in the base population into account, beer sales and handgun sales generally are associated positively one year later with homicide, particularly among young men. Reducing beer sales may reduce homicides. And, although they represent a small fraction of existing firearms, regulating the number of handguns sold may reduce the number of homicides.

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Accession: 046211258

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 11469152

DOI: 10.2307/3343459


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