WASHINGTON (AP) _ More studies are necessary on the effectiveness of the Brady background check law, but ``it makes common sense'' to deny guns to people who shouldn't have them, Attorney General Janet Reno said Thursday.

An American Medical Association study released Wednesday found that murder and suicide rates dropped no faster than before in states that had to toughen their laws to comply with the 1994 Brady Act to regulate handguns. After the act took effect, however, fewer people 55 and older used guns to kill themselves.

``We're willing to say that we need to do more study here,'' Reno told a news conference. ``We are getting better at evaluating what works and what doesn't work. We're getting better at identifying crime problems, but we must continue to do everything we can to make it as exact as we can.''

Reno noted that authors of the report acknowledged they didn't study the Brady Act's indirect impact on what is known as the secondary gun market _ gun sales by unlicensed dealers. That, experts say, is the source of a significant number of weapons used in crimes.

Reno said ``it makes common sense'' to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, and the law ``must have some affect in terms of the dissemination of guns throughout the community.''


On the Net:

Justice Department: http://www.usdoj.gov

Journal of the American Medical Association: http://jama.ama-assn.org/