Abstract

This study assesses the impact of Maryland’s Firearm Safety Act (FSA) of 2013 on indicators of diversion of handguns to prohibited persons. Interrupted time-series analyses were conducted, and the findings were supplemented by results from a survey of men on parole and probation regarding Baltimore’s underground gun market. The FSA was associated with an 82 percent reduction in police recovery of handguns with strong indicators of diversion (IRR=0.18, p=.005). Forty-one percent of survey respondents reported having more difficulty getting a handgun after the FSA because of increased cost, lack of trusted sources, or people less willing to engage in straw purchases on their behalf. These findings are consistent with the theory that the FSA reduces the diversion of handguns into the underground market.

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