Gun Policy

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  • Content

    State Firearm Law Navigator

    Oct 10, 2019

    Research on the effects of gun laws requires good data on when and where different types of laws have been implemented. The State Firearm Law Navigator shows which states since 1979 have enacted four types of laws: background checks, concealed-carry, stand-your-ground laws, and child-access prevention laws.

  • Illustration by Chara Williams / Images by Adobe Stock and Getty Images

    Blog

    New Insights on Gun Policy in America

    Apr 22, 2020

    RAND's Gun Policy in America initiative aims to establish a shared set of facts about gun policies. Recently, researchers completed an update and expansion of their synthesis of all available scientific evidence on the effects of 18 classes of gun laws.

Explore Gun Policy

  • News Release

    Growing Evidence About the Effects of Gun Policies Provides Needed Information for Policy Decisions

    Research evaluating the effectiveness of gun policies has surged over the past two years, providing information policymakers and the public need to make sound decisions on policies designed to reduce homicides and injuries while protecting individuals' rights.

    Apr 21, 2020

  • Tool

    State-Level Estimates of Household Firearm Ownership

    As part of the Gun Policy in America initiative, researchers developed annual, state-level estimates of household firearm ownership from 1980 to 2016, which should help further research on the relationship between firearm ownership and key outcomes.

    Apr 21, 2020

  • Report

    The Science of Gun Policy: Second Edition

    Unbiased evidence about the likely effects of gun laws is critical to developing fair and effective gun policies. This report, part of the RAND Gun Policy in America initiative, updates the available evidence about the potential effects of 13 laws and adds analyses of five new classes of law.

    Apr 21, 2020

  • Sacramento Capitol Building, California, USA

    Tool

    The RAND State Firearm Law Database

    As part of the Gun Policy in America initiative, RAND developed a longitudinal data set of state and District of Columbia firearm laws from 1979 to 2019 to support improved analysis and understanding of the effects of gun laws.

    Oct 10, 2019

  • Gun inside open safe, photo by Creatas/Getty Images

    Testimony

    Scientific Evidence on the Effects of State Gun Laws

    There is some rigorous research on the effects of different gun laws that could help inform Pennsylvania's policy decisions. But we do not know the full costs and benefits of any gun laws. Pennsylvania might consider funding research to better understand its gun violence prevention efforts.

    Sep 25, 2019

  • A shadow of a hand holding a gun, photo by ugurhan/Getty Images

    Commentary

    'Stand Your Ground' Laws May Be Causing More Harm Than Good

    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.

    Sep 12, 2019

  • Flowers and candles at a memorial five days after a mass shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, August 8, 2019, photo by Callaghan O'Hare/Reuters

    Commentary

    No Need to Wait for Congress to Address Mass Shootings

    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.

    Aug 23, 2019

  • Andrew Morral presents testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies on March 7, 2019.

    Multimedia

    Reducing Disagreements on Gun Policy Through Scientific Research and an Improved Data Infrastructure

    An overview of testimony by Andrew R. Morral presented before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies on March 7, 2019.

    Mar 7, 2019

  • Gun wall rack with rifles, photo by artas/Getty Images

    Testimony

    Scientific Research Could Reduce Disagreements on Gun Policy

    More high-quality research is needed to craft policies that could contribute to reducing gun injuries, deaths, and violence. There are many ways Congress could help build a robust and transformative gun policy research enterprise. One is to appropriate funds to support a diverse portfolio of studies.

    Mar 7, 2019

  • Report

    Evaluating Methods to Estimate the Effect of State Laws on Firearm Deaths: A Simulation Study

    As part of the RAND Corporation's Gun Policy in America initiative, the authors use simulations to assess the performance of a wide range of statistical models used to estimate the effects of state gun policies on firearm deaths.

    Dec 10, 2018

  • AR-15 rifles are displayed for sale at the Guntoberfest gun show in Oaks, Pennsylvania, October 6, 2017

    Commentary

    How U.S. Gun Laws Allow Mass Shooters to Slip Through

    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.

    Nov 15, 2018

  • Gun and bullets

    Essay

    More Research Could Help Prevent Gun Violence in America

    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.

    Jul 10, 2018

  • Security camera in a classroom

    Commentary

    How Can the U.S. Do a Better Job of Keeping Kids Safe at School?

    Many proposals to improve school safety promote the use of technology, such as metal detectors and video cameras. How effective are these devices? The evidence is mixed.

    Mar 26, 2018

  • Sign that reads No Firearms Allowed on School Property

    Commentary

    How to Bring Facts into the Gun Policy Debate

    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.

    Mar 9, 2018

  • RAND Gun Policy in America logo

    Project

    Informing the Gun Policy Debate

    RAND's Gun Policy in America initiative provides information on what scientific research can tell us about the effects of gun laws. Our goal is to establish a shared set of facts that will improve public discussions and support the development of fair and effective gun policies.

    Mar 1, 2018

  • Disassembled handgun

    Report

    The Science of Gun Policy: First Edition

    What does the scientific evidence tell us about the effects of gun policies? Part of the RAND Gun Policy in America initiative, this report assesses the available evidence for the effects of commonly proposed gun laws on firearm deaths, violent crime, suicide, the gun industry, hunting and sport shooting, and other outcomes.

    Mar 1, 2018

  • The divide among experts about gun policy in the United States

    Report

    Where Gun Policy Experts Agree and Disagree on the Effects of Firearm Laws

    As part of the RAND Gun Policy in America initiative, gun policy experts were surveyed on the likely effects of 15 gun-related policies on 12 societal outcomes. Analysis of their responses shows there are shared objectives on both sides of the debate, but experts disagree on which policies will achieve those objectives.

    Mar 1, 2018

  • Barbara Hytower, holding a photo of her daughter Jamila who was murdered in Myrtle Beach, stands with other members of South Carolina Mothers Against Violence before the start of a rally, February 25, 2016

    Commentary

    Domestic Warning Signs of Mass Shootings

    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.

    Aug 6, 2016