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Study finds large gaps in gun law awareness

Gun laws are meant to reduce injuries and deaths from firearms. But they’re effective only if gun owners know which laws exist and apply to them.

New research in the journal JAMA Network Open adds to existing concerns about gaps in that awareness.

A survey of almost 3,000 gun owners and more than 1,000 non-gun owners finds only one-third of gun owners knew their state had a child access prevention law, and less than two-thirds knew they were legally required to report lost or stolen guns.

Roughly one in 10 incorrectly thought their state did not require background checks for private sales.

About half of gun owners and three-quarters of non–gun owners were unsure if their states had extreme risk protection order laws, which temporarily prevent a potentially dangerous person from accessing firearms.

Nicholas Gerbis joined KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk in 2016. A longtime science, health and technology journalist and editor, his extensive background in related nonprofit and science communications inform his reporting on Earth and space sciences, neuroscience and behavioral health, and bioscience/biotechnology.Apart from travel and three years in Delaware spent earning his master’s degree in physical geography (climatology), Gerbis has spent most of his life in Arizona. He also holds a master’s degree in journalism and mass communication from Arizona State University’s Cronkite School and a bachelor’s degree in geography (climatology/meteorology), also from ASU.Gerbis briefly “retired in reverse” and moved from Arizona to Wisconsin, where he taught science history and science-fiction film courses at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He is glad to be back in the Valley and enjoys contributing to KJZZ’s Untold Arizona series.During the COVID-19 pandemic, Gerbis focused almost solely on coronavirus-related stories and analysis. In addition to reporting on the course of the disease and related research, he delved into deeper questions, such as the impact of shutdowns on science and medicine, the roots of vaccine reluctance and the policies that exacerbated the virus’s impact, particularly on vulnerable populations.