Growing Evidence About the Effects of Gun Policies Provides Needed Information for Policy Decisions
Apr 21, 2020
This report, the second edition of an earlier work, synthesizes the available scientific evidence for the effects of various firearm policies on firearm deaths, violent crime, the gun industry, defensive gun use, and other outcomes. The authors highlight policies whose effects are better supported by evidence and areas where more and better information could contribute to establishing fair and effective gun policies.
A Critical Synthesis of Research Evidence on the Effects of Gun Policies in the United States, Second Edition
Does not incude Appendix B.
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This report was superseded by a revised, updated edition in January 2023.
In this report, part of the RAND Corporation's Gun Policy in America initiative, researchers seek objective information about what the scientific literature reveals about the likely effects of various gun laws. In this second edition of an earlier work, the authors add five gun policies to the 13 examined in the original analysis and expand the study time frame to incorporate a larger body of research. With those adjustments, the authors synthesize the available scientific data on the effects of 18 policies on firearm deaths, violent crime, the gun industry, defensive gun use, and other outcomes. By highlighting where scientific evidence is accumulating, the authors hope to build consensus around a shared set of facts that have been established through a transparent, nonpartisan, and impartial review process. In so doing, they also illuminate areas where more and better information could make important contributions to establishing fair and effective gun policies.
Introduction and Methods
Evidence for the Effects of Policies Regulating Who May Legally Own, Purchase, or Possess Firearms
Minimum Age Requirements
Prohibitions Associated with Mental Illness
Prohibitions Associated with Domestic Violence
Surrender of Firearms by Prohibited Possessors
Extreme Risk Protection Orders
Evidence for the Effects of Policies Regulating Firearm Sales and Transfers
Licensing and Permitting Requirements
Firearm Safety Training Requirements
Lost or Stolen Firearm Reporting Requirements
Firearm Sales Reporting, Recording, and Registration Requirements
Bans on the Sale of Assault Weapons and High-Capacity Magazines
Bans on Low-Quality Handguns
Evidence for the Effects of Policies Regulating the Legal Use, Storage, or Carrying of Firearms
Child-Access Prevention Laws
Laws Allowing Armed Staff in K–12 Schools
Summary of Findings and Recommendations
Summary and Conclusions
Changes from the First Edition of This Report
Funding for this philanthropically supported research was originally provided through unrestricted gifts from RAND supporters and income from operations and supported by a grant from Arnold Ventures. The research was conducted by the Justice Policy Program within Social and Behavioral Policy Program.
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