Rather, countries passed big packages of gun laws, which overhauled the nation’s firearm code fairly broadly, which all tended to share similar features. According to Santaella-Tenorio, they generally included:
Banning powerful weapons, like automatic rifles.
Implementing a background check system.
Requiring people to get permits and licenses before buying a gun.
South Africa’s comprehensive Firearm Control Act, passed in 2000, contained all these measures. One study found that firearm homicides in five major South African cities decreased by 13.6 percent per year for the next five years.
“Reductions in nonfirearm homicides were also observed,” Santaella-Tenorio et al. note, “although not as pronounced as the ones observed for firearm homicides.”
Austria’s 1997 firearm law, similarly, required background checks, limited access to powerful firearms, and imposed rules about how gun owners had to store their guns. Santaella-Tenorio reviewed two studies on Austria’s 1997 law, both of which found evidence that the law had reduced deaths. According to one of them, firearm homicides went down by 4.8 percent, while suicides went down by 9.9 percent.