About the Gun Policy in America Initiative

Effective gun policies in the United States must balance the constitutional right to bear arms and public interest in gun ownership with concerns about public health and safety. However, current efforts to craft legislation related to guns are hampered by a lack of reliable information about the effects of such policies.

To help address this problem, RAND launched the Gun Policy in America initiative. The goal of the project was to create resources where policymakers and the general public can access unbiased information that facilitates the development of fair and effective firearm policies.

Building on a long history of providing policymakers with objective, independent analysis of complex topics, RAND developed policy analysis tools and research syntheses, grounded in science, aimed at clarifying the effects of current and proposed firearms measures. The tools and syntheses document the effects of different firearm policies on gun violence, gun rights, and hunting and recreational gun use.

This initiative focused solely on the empirical effects of policies, rather than evaluating the merits of different social values that may sometimes drive policy disagreements.


The goal of the RAND Gun Policy in America initiative is to create resources where policymakers, researchers, and the general public can access unbiased information that facilitates the development of fair and effective gun policies.

Research Team

For this project, RAND assembled a large, multidisciplinary research team consisting of psychologists, economists, epidemiologists, criminologists, statisticians, legal experts, and mathematicians. In addition, the project team, led by Andrew Morral and Rosanna Smart, consulted with leading researchers, gun policy analysts, and government and law enforcement experts.


Funding for this initiative was originally provided by gifts from RAND supporters and income from operations. Since June 2018, the RAND Gun Policy in America initiative has been supported by a grant from Arnold Ventures.

RAND's research findings and recommendations are based on data and evidence and therefore do not necessarily reflect the policy preferences or interests of its clients, donors, or supporters.

Philanthropic contributions support our ability to take the long view, tackle tough and often-controversial topics, and share our findings in innovative and compelling ways.

Support our efforts by becoming a RAND donor. To enable initiatives like RAND’s Gun Policy in America project, please contact our office of development at (310) 393-0411, ext. 6901 or giving@rand.org.


For more information on the Gun Policy in America research initiative, contact Andrew Morral, Senior Behavioral Scientist.

For media queries, contact Warren Robak, Senior Media Relations Advisor.