State gun-control efforts have also been slow to advance. While more than 600 bills aimed at restricting access to firearms were introduced this year, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, few have become law.
New York and-Colorado have both approved new gun-control laws this year, while Connecticut lawmakers today approved bans on semiautomatic weapons like the one used in the Newtown shooting. Other states have moved to expand the rights of firearm owners, including South Dakota, where the legislators enacted a law allowing school workers to carry guns on the job.
Michael Hammond, a lawyer with the Gun Owners of America, a Springfield, Va.-based group that lobbies against firearm restrictions, said he doubted the link cited in the Center for American Progress study, mentioning Chicago as an example of a place where gun laws haven't stopped homicides.
"The most dangerous areas in the country are those with strong gun laws," he said.
Firearms laws aren't the only factor that explains the prevalence of violence in states and that some didn't follow the trend, according to the study. For example, Michigan, with some of the strictest legislation, was the 25th most violent state in the study. Vermont, with some of the most permissive rules, was also among those with the fewest gun-related incidents.
"A state's gun laws are but one of many factors that influence the rate of gun violence in a state," the authors of the study wrote, citing other influences, such as the economy and gun trafficking across state lines.
Still, they said, "the correlation between the relative strength or weakness of a state's gun laws and the rate of various indicators of gun violence in the state, however, should not be overlooked."