22.03.2019

Guns, Laws, and Mass Shootings in the US

Despite an increasing frequency of mass shootings in the US and the seemingly disproportionate occurrence of mass shootings in some states and not others, little research has been carried out to understand state level factors that could influence mass shootings. A 2018 report pointed to only three studies that had examined associations between gun laws and mass shooting events. However, testing the effects of state gun laws on the occurrence of mass shootings was not the primary objective of at least one of these studies and the body of evidence they represent was inconclusive in terms of determining the effects of specific state gun laws on mass shootings.

The objective of this research was to determine whether restrictiveness-permissiveness of state gun laws or gun ownership are associated with mass shootings in the US. Results of the research are quite clear: States with more permissive gun laws and greater gun ownership had higher rates of mass shootings, and a growing divide appears to be emerging between restrictive and permissive states.

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