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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 was a senior field correspondent for KJZZ from 2016 to 2024.