Idaho An Outlier In Study Linking Firearms Laws To Childhood Gun Deaths

Jul 16, 2019

Guns for sale at a gun show in Caldwell, Idaho.
Credit Heath Druzin / Boise State Public Radio

A new study that links strict firearms laws with lower rates of child gun deaths shows Idaho to be an outlier in the Mountain West.

Published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, the study found states that had fewer restrictions on firearm ownership tended to have higher rates of firearm-related childhood deaths. But Idaho appears to be an outlier, both in the study and in its region.

The study ranked the Gem State as having the 13th least restrictive gun laws, but only 13 states had a lower rate of child firearms deaths. Idaho’s death rate of about 4.4 per 100,000 people is in stark contrast to its neighbors.

Montana and Wyoming had higher rates of child gun deaths than every state except Louisiana and Alaska.


Dr. Monika Goyal, the study’s lead researcher, told Guns & America that the findings held for states across the firearm spectrum.


“Even in states that had high gun ownership, we found that if those states had strong gun laws, there were lower firearm-related deaths for children, compared to states that had weaker gun laws,” she said. 

Those include laws like universal background checks for both firearms and ammunition purchases. Established universal background check laws were associated with a more than 35% lower rate in child gun deaths.


The study looked at a five-year period, from 2011-2015, during which an estimated 21,241 children died from firearm-related injuries across the country.

National Rifle Association spokesman Lars Dalseide questioned the report’s findings.

“Any social scientist worth their salt has to question a study that cherry picks a microscopic five-year time window of data when there is more than 50 years of data available,” he wrote in an email to Boise State Public Radio.


Follow Heath Druzin on Twitter @HDruzin

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