In the year since a gunman killed 11 worshippers in a Pittsburgh synagogue, the conversation about white supremacy has grown louder. But the United States still has a long way to go in dealing with this threat.
Americans have debated whether “stand your ground” laws or gun-free zones make us safer or less safe for decades. These are debates about factual matters that are, in principle, knowable. Without research on these and other topics, bad laws will inadvertently be passed or retained.
After three mass shootings in the span of a week left 53 wounded and 34 dead, pressure is mounting on Congress to respond with legislation to restrict access to guns and ammunition. But there is no need to wait for new laws. There are steps that can be taken immediately that evidence suggests could help prevent attacks or reduce the death toll from them.
For busy staff, August's respite from back-to-back meetings, hearing preparation, and late votes is hard-earned. The summer recess also provides an opportunity to get ahead of issues that will resurface in the fall. To that end, we have compiled recent RAND research on topics likely to top the congressional agenda come September.
School shootings leave wounds that affect students, school staff, families, and communities for years. Building community resilience, implementing evidence-based mental health support early, and providing access for survivors and the community immediately and in the long term could help promote healing and prevent more tragedy.
The need for mental health support and suicide-prevention efforts targeting survivors of mass shootings, and the friends and families of victims, is great. Putting such programs in place could go a long way toward helping them heal, and preventing more tragedy.
Terrorism has become an internet-enabled abuse—incited, propagated, and sometimes organized and concealed by online activity. Who should be held accountable for abusive content, the author or the publisher? And what role should the government play in regulating it?
RAND serves as an objective source of facts that help inform the world's most pressing policy debates. When decisions are based on the best evidence, that's when public policy can have a positive impact on people's lives. We're highlighting the 10 research projects that RAND.org readers found most engaging this year.
The three most lethal domestic terrorist attacks since 9/11 were carried out with high-capacity semiautomatic weapons. None of the attackers were under 21 or were stoppable through criminal background checks. Restrictions on sales of semiautomatics would make it much harder for terrorists to obtain their most effective means of killing.
Both sides of the gun policy debate agree on what the objectives of any policy should be. But they disagree over which policies would best achieve those goals. Current evidence for or against most gun proposals is weak, contradictory, or nonexistent. Only research can show what does—and doesn't—work.
Organizers who want to bring about social change would do well to look to Florida farmworkers. They took on the low wages, physical abuse, and vulnerability that have long characterized agricultural labor in the United States—and won, changing the culture for the better.
As debate continues to rage over the causes and prevention of gun violence, it's worth asking how science can help lawmakers and the public resolve longstanding disagreements that have stood in the way of solutions.
Bitcoin has become the prominent currency of the dark web, which is often used to buy illegal goods, such as weapons and drugs. Anecdotal evidence suggests terrorists are using cryptocurrency and the dark web, but further investigation is needed.
Despite its small size compared to the offline market, the ability of the dark web to anonymously arm individuals of all backgrounds needs to be taken seriously. Its potential impact on international security is significant.
Countering mass violence demands a distinction between attackers who are truly inspired by jihadism and those with lesser links. The latter includes people whose mental states and violent tendencies preexist their exposure to the ideology.
The Chicago Police Department's predictive policing program didn't work. To achieve even a 5 percent drop in the city's homicide rate, enormous leaps in both prediction and intervention effectiveness are necessary.
The marking of firearms and ammunition supports effective tracing by enabling identification and efficient record keeping. But currently there are no mandatory, globally accepted standards that regulate firearms marking.
After shootings, there is inevitably public debate over gun safety, constitutional rights, police tactics, terrorism, race, and politics. But these discussions rarely focus on a common factor among the perpetrators: a history of violence against women.
The assault rifle is a class of weapon that emerged in the middle of the last century to meet the needs of combat soldiers on the modern battlefield, where the level of violence had reached such heights that an entirely new way of fighting had emerged.
Gun violence is an important public health problem that accounts for more than 33,000 deaths each year in the United States but in 1996, Congress stripped the CDC of funding for any research that could be associated with gun control advocacy. The lack of CDC funding has deterred researchers.
Several important voices have argued for arming military recruiters in the wake of the recent shootings in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Giving them a chance to fight back against an active shooter may be a sound proposition, but practicalities of military recruiting suggest a patient and thoughtful policy review.
With its current 47,000 screeners, an armed TSA would become the federal government's largest armed entity outside of the military. In the eyes of many, arming TSA screeners would change the image of the organization from a service aimed at guaranteeing safe air travel to an unwanted imposition of federal authority.
To celebrate our first 60 years, we created '60 Ways RAND Has Made a Difference,' an online book to illustrate our most notable contributions. On our 65th birthday, we provide five of the most recent ways in which we at RAND are proud to have made a difference.
The 2013 SOTU address will be remembered for its impassioned call for greater gun control just two months after Sandy Hook. But President Obama's second-term agenda can be characterized by its sheer breadth, reflecting the broad range of policy challenges facing the United States today.
President Obama's task force on gun violence has raised the stakes in the policy debate on gun control and policy in the wake of the recent shootings in Colorado and Connecticut. Some of RAND's top researchers share what is, and what isn't, known about firearms and gun control.
If policymakers and the public expect the mental health community to play a significant role in preventing future incidents like Newtown, the mental health research agenda must become a higher national priority in future federal funding decisions, writes Terry Schell.
As a Southerner who learned to shoot at an early age, I've never had a problem with guns. But emergency-room doctors like me also know how much damage they can cause if misused or allowed to fall into the wrong hands, writes Arthur Kellermann.
Art Kellermann reviews what is known from broad outlines of the Newtown attack and past research on gun violence to offer some preliminary thoughts to the Obama Administration's task force and the public.
In our national conversation on mental health, we should remember the role of families when thinking about treatment and ensure that our policies open up opportunities to support parents, siblings and relatives, and enhance their capacity for care, writes Ramya Chari.
The United States has long relied on public health science to improve the safety, health, and lives of its citizens. Perhaps the same straightforward, problem-solving approach that worked well in other circumstances can help the nation meet the challenge of firearm violence, writes Arthur Kellermann.
With an event like this, With an event like this, 'recovery' doesn't mean a return to normal, because lives have been permanently altered. Recovery can only mean finding a new normal, a new path forward. And schools, those places of safety and healthy development, can help with that process, by providing a structure and community to support healing, writes Lisa Jaycox.