Connecticut’s handgun purchaser licensing law, passed in 1995, has been credited with helping to reduce the state’s gun-related homicide rate by 40 percent. “Handgun purchaser licensing laws, also known as permit-to-purchase (PTP) laws, ‘appear to reduce the availability of handguns to criminals and other people who are not legally permitted to buy guns,’ said Daniel Webster, study author and director of the Center for Gun Policy and Research.”

The law requires all prospective handgun purchasers to first obtain a license from the local police after passing a background check, regardless of where the gun will be bought. It also raised the handgun purchasing age from 18 to 21 and mandated that all potential buyers complete at least eight hours of approved safety training.

The study authors “compared Connecticut’s homicide rates in the decade before the adoption of the law, to the expected numbers 10 years after its implementation, had it not passed. For data within the decade after the law was approved, researchers analyzed three states with homicide rates that closely mirrored the numbers in Connecticut—California, Maryland and Rhode Island. Those three states and Connecticut also had other similar types of gun policies,” writes Newsweek‘s Michele Richinick.

Connecticut received a grade of A-, behind only California, for its gun violence prevention policies.

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