Opinion of experts who favor more- Permissive Policies for gun use and access
Opinion of experts who favor more- Restrictive Policies for gun use and access
||Opinion of experts who favor more More-permissive Policies for gun use and access
||Opinion of experts who favor more More-restrictive Policies for gun use and access
This expert-opinion comparison tool illustrates the effects of enacting or repealing gun laws at the state level based on the opinions of 173 gun policy experts and advocates surveyed by RAND in the summers of 2016 and 2020. RAND found that 26 of the respondents favored more-permissive approaches to regulating guns and 147 favored more-restrictive approaches (for more information on this sample, see the survey report). The tool generates median (as well as 25th- and 75th-percentile) estimates for the effects that members of each group of experts would expect from different combinations of laws on ten outcomes in each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. Generating estimates for the combined effects of multiple laws requires a series of assumptions, which are described in the survey report.
State law information last updated on Jan 1, 2021.
For more information on how laws were defined, see Appendix D of the survey report.
Detailed information on data sources and methods for this interactive tool is available in the survey report. Here we highlight a few key assumptions:
- State laws
- Information on state laws, current as of January 1, 2021, was drawn from the RAND State Firearm Law Database. We list a state as having a law if the state currently has a law similar to one we asked survey respondents to rate, even when the currently implemented law differs in some respects.
- Firearm suicides, firearm homicides, accidental firearm deaths, and state populations
- State counts for these variables were calculated from 2018 vital statistics data provided through CDC's WONDER data system (CDC, undated).
- Mass shootings
- The mass shooting outcome is a model-based estimate of the average number of shooting incidents per year in which four or more people (including possibly the shooter) were shot at the same general location and time. This model used data from 2014 to 2019 collected by the Gun Violence Archive (undated-b). See the survey report for additional information on how these values were calculated.
- Property crime
- Data on property crime counts in 2018 were drawn from Table 5 of the Crime in the United States tables (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2019).
- Hunting licenses
- We used state hunting license numbers for 2018 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s historical hunting license data (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, undated). Hunting licenses serve in this model as a proxy for the outcome we surveyed experts about, which was “participation in hunting and sport shooting.”
- Firearm sales
- We imputed 2018 firearm sales from national-level data on the number of firearms manufactured, imported, and exported (see Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, 2020). See the survey report for additional information on how these values were calculated.
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Firearms Commerce in the United States: Annual Statistical Update 2020, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, 2020.
- CDC—See Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, WONDER data system, undated. As of March 8, 2017: https://wonder.cdc.gov
- Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime in the United States 2018, Uniform Crime Reporting Program, 2019. As of December 12, 2020: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2018/crime-in-the-u.s.-2018
- Gun Violence Archive, "Mass Shootings," website, undated-b. As of October 25, 2017: http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/reports/mass-shooting
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, "National Hunting License Data, Calculation Year 2018", undated. As of December 12, 2020: https://www.fws.gov/wsfrprograms/subpages/licenseinfo/Natl%20Hunting%20License%20Report%202018.pdf
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RAND Corporation, "Gun Policy Expert-Opinion Tool: Comparing Insights on the Potential Effects of Policy Changes," webpage, Santa Monica, Calif., TL-A243-5, 2021. https://www.rand.org/research/gun-policy/expert-opinion-tool.html