This special collection brings together evidence and insights from nonprofits, foundations, and research organizations working to understand the full impact of firearm use and gun violence in the US. By providing us with analyses of current state and federal laws as well as valuable data on suicides, homicides, accidents, and mass shootings, these organizations seek to inform sound public policy and to curb this ongoing public health epidemic.

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"Gun Violence" by M+R Glasgoz is licensed under CC 2.0

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The Gun Industry in America: The Overlooked Player in a National Crisis

August 6, 2020

This report discusses the gaps in the current law regarding gun industry regulation and oversight. It then offers a series of policy solutions to address these gaps, including:Increasing oversight of gun manufacturers, importers, exporters, and dealersRequiring licensed gun dealers to implement security measures to prevent theftStrengthening the National Firearms Act review and determination processStrengthening oversight of homemade guns, ammunition, and silencersGiving the Consumer Product Safety Commission authority to regulate guns  and ammunition for safetyRepealing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms ActThe high rates of gun death experienced in this country are not inevitable or, as some in the gun lobby claim, "the price of freedom." There is much more that can be done to provide better oversight and regulation of the gun industry, which would have a significant impact on reducing gun violence and making all of our communities safer.

How Partisan Gerrymandering Prevents Legislative Action on Gun Violence

December 17, 2019

This report examines how the pernicious problem of partisan gerrymandering stymies efforts toward sensible reforms in several states—including North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Virginia—despite strong public support for gun safety measures. These states provide some of the most extreme examples of gerrymandering: Even though Democrats won a majority of the statewide votes, control of the state legislatures remained with Republicans who, for the most part, have refused to allow meaningful debate on any commonsense gun safety measures. In each of these states, it is likely that, in the absence of partisan gerrymandering, the legislature would have enacted measures to strengthen gun laws—measures that could have saved lives.The report also puts forward a policy solution: States should require independent commissions to draw voter-determined districts based on statewide voter preferences. Implementing this policy would end partisan gerrymandering and increase representation for communities that have too often been shut out of the political system and also suffer the most from the lack of sensible gun safety legislation

Bullet Control: How Lax Regulations on Ammunition Contribute to America’s Gun Violence Epidemic

October 7, 2019

The current national debate about gun violence is largely focused on firearms: Who should have them? What types of firearms should people be allowed to have? Where and how can they be carried? How should they be sold? Certainly, these are all crucial questions that demand a sustained and serious analysis by policymakers at all levels of government. But often missing from the conversation about firearms are questions related to ammunition—namely, the role of easy access to ammunition and ammunition accessories in the epidemic of gun violence in the United States.This report discusses the gaps in the current law regarding commerce in ammunition and the easy availability of uniquely dangerous types of ammunition and high-capacity magazines to civilians in the United States. It then offers a series of policy solutions to address these gaps.

America's Youth Under Fire: The Devastating Impact of Gun Violence on Young People

May 4, 2018

Young people in the United States bear the brunt of the nation's gun violence and are leading efforts to stop it.

Beyond Our Borders: How Weak U.S. Gun Laws Contribute to Violent Crime Abroad

February 2, 2018

The current debate about protecting America's borders ignores the U.S. role as a major supplier of crime guns around the world.

Stolen Guns in America

July 1, 2017

In the early morning hours of July 5, 2017, New York Police Department officer Miosotis Familia was ambushed as she sat in a marked NYPD command truck with her partner while providing additional security to a Bronx neighborhood after Fourth of July festivities. In an attack that police officials described as an assassination, Officer Familia was fatally shot in the head with a gun that had been stolen in Charleston, West Virginia, four years earlier. Less than a month earlier on the other side of the country, a UPS driver in San Francisco shot and killed three co-workers and injured two others using a gun that had been stolen in Utah. The shooter was also armed with a gun that had been stolen in Napa County, California.Stolen guns pose a significant risk to community safety. Whether stolen from a gun store or an individual gun owner's collection, these guns often head straight into the illegal underground gun market, where they are sold, traded, and used to facilitate violent crimes. Gun theft is not a minor problem in the United States. According to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), during the four-year period from 2012 to 2015, nearly half a billion dollars' worth of guns were stolen from individuals nationwide, amounting to an estimated 1.2 million guns. Twenty-two thousand guns were stolen from gun stores during this same period. A gun is stolen in the U.S. every two minutes.This problem does not affect all states equally. The rate and volume of guns stolen from both gun stores and private collections vary widely from state to state. From 2012 through 2015, the average rate of the five states with the highest rates of gun theft from private owners—Tennessee, Arkansas, South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Alabama—was 13 times higher than the average rate of the five states with the lowest rates—Hawaii, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, and Massachusetts. Similarly, from 2012 through 2016, the average rate of the five states with the highest rates of guns stolen from gun stores was 18 times higher than the average rate the five states with the lowest rates.Gun owners and dealers have a substantial responsibility to take reasonable measures to protect against theft and help ensure that their guns do not become part of this illegal inventory. This report analyzes data from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to provide state-by-state data on the frequency with which guns are stolen from licensed gun dealers and individual gun owners in communities across the country. It then offers a number of policy solutions to help prevent future gun thefts.

Statistics & Surveys

America Under Fire: An Analysis of Gun Violence in the United States and the Link to Weak Gun Laws

October 1, 2016

In 2013, the Center for American Progress conducted a study to assess the correlation between the relative strength or weakness of a state's gun laws, as measured by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, and rates of gun violence in the state across 10 categories of gun violence or gun-related crimes. Consistent with the research, the CAP study found a strong correlation between strong gun laws and lower rates of gun violence.In the 3.5 years since that study, a number of things have changed that warrant revisiting that research. Many states have acted to strengthen their gun laws: Since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, eight states have enacted laws to require universal background checks—bringing the total number of states that have enacted such laws to 18—and 20 states have strengthened their laws to help keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. Unfortunately, other states have taken the opposite approach, loosening laws regarding where guns may be carried and weakening or eliminating concealed carry permit requirements. In addition, improvements made in the collection of data relating to gun violence now allow more precise tracking of events such as mass shootings and fatal shootings by law enforcement officers.In this report, the authors revisit CAP's 2013 analysis with a revised methodology, some new categories of gun violence, and updated state grades from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The report provides a state ranking across key indicators of gun violence, then uses these rankings to calculate an overall Gun Violence Index score for each state. Using this score, the authors assessed the correlation between the rate of overall gun violence in the state and the relative strength or weakness of each state's gun laws.

Statistics & Surveys

Pennsylvania Under the Gun: 5 Measures of Gun Violence in the Keystone State

May 16, 2016

This issue brief explores five aspects of gun violence in Pennsylvania that are especially alarming, unusual, or above the national average:1. Pennsylvania's rate of gun homicides is among the highest in the nation, particularly in communities of color.2. Pennsylvania law enforcement officers are killed with guns at an exceptionally high rate.3. More Pennsylvanians are killed by gun violence than in car accidents annually.4. Pennsylvania is a top supplier of crime guns recovered in other states.5. Pennsylvania women are killed with guns wielded by intimate partners at a high rate.

Hate and Guns: A Terrifying Combination

February 24, 2016

Congress and state legislatures should pass laws that prevent individuals convicted of hate crimes from buying or possessing firearms. 

Virginia Under the Gun

October 27, 2015

This issue brief provides additional context about what is at stake as Virginia voters con-sider which leaders they want to represent them in Richmond. It discusses four aspects of gun violence and gun-related crime in Virginia that are exceptional, unique, or above the national average:1. More Virginians are killed annually by gunfire than in car accidents.2. Virginia is one of the top exporters of crime guns.3. Women are killed with guns by intimate partners at a high rate in Virginia.4. Virginia has been disproportionately affected by mass shootings.

The Bureau and the Bureau

May 19, 2015

After two years of research into ATF's history, work, and challenges, CAP recommends merging it into the FBI to create a federal law enforcement agency with the leadership, resources, and political support necessary to help reform the gun industry and reduce gun violence in the United States. 

Assault Weapons Revisited: Policy Options for Regulating Rifles, Shotguns, and Other Firearms 20 Years After the Passage of the Assault Weapons Ban

September 1, 2014

20 years after President Bill Clinton signed the federal assault weapons ban into law in September 1994 and a decade after Congress allowed that law to lapse -- the question of whether and how to regulate particularly lethal firearms is no longer the primary focus of the national gun debate. In the wake of the December 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, President Barack Obama, congressional leaders, and gun-violence prevention advocates alike made deterring dangerous people from accessing guns the top legislative priority with a proposal for comprehensive background checks for all gun sales. This shift in focus to prevent dangerous people from accessing guns is appropriate: A broad set of research suggests that such measures are effective in reducing gun violence. Additionally, there is overwhelming support in opinion polls for expanding background checks and similar measures aimed at restricting dangerous people from accessing guns. But the debate persists about whether and how to best regulate assault rifles and other types of firearms that may pose heightened risks to public safety. For more than 20 years, there has generally been only one policy solution offered in this debate: a ban on assault weapons.This report considers how gun laws have evolved to address different classes of firearms and looks more broadly at how federal and state laws treat rifles and shotguns differently than handguns and whether all of those distinctions continue to make sense. It also examines data on the changing nature of gun violence and the increasing use of long guns and assault rifles by criminals, with a focus on Pennsylvania as a case study.

Policy Recommendations & Models