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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Unfinished Business: Gun Violence on the Policy Agenda

July 21, 2020

To better understand recent state policymaking in New York, researchers analyzed the 161 firearm-related bills introduced by the governor, Senate, and Assembly in New York between 2018 and 2019 to identify trends in legislative interest and activity.

Combating Crime Guns: A Supply-Side Approach

February 11, 2020

This report is intended to help state and local elected officials better understand the issue of crime guns, the "supply-side" approach to gun violence prevention, and the various ways a supply-side approach may be implemented at the local level. This report can also be used by members of the community and media as a guide to hold their elected officials responsible for enacting a comprehensive supply-side approach.

Evidence Concerning the Regulation of Firearms Design, Sale, and Carrying on Fatal Mass Shootings in the United States

January 30, 2020

This report calculates state‐level annual incidence of fatal mass shootings from 1984–2017. The analysis suggests that laws requiring firearm purchasers to be licensed through a background check process supported by fingerprints and laws banning large‐capacity magazines are the most effective gun policies for reducing fatal mass shootings.

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

Deconstructing Mass Shootings: Exploring Opportunities for Intervention

October 24, 2019

This policy report refocuses our attention from why to how mass public shootings happen. Mass shootings are deconstructed into a series of stages and decisions and various opportunities for intervention are explored. The motivations, preparatory behaviors, execution, and conclusion of 318 mass public shootings in the United States between 1966 and 2017 are analyzed. Finally, potential policy solutions to exploit these opportunities for intervention are introduced.

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.

The Impact of Handgun Purchaser Licensing Laws on Gun Violence

June 12, 2019

There is a major flaw in federal firearm laws in the U.S. and in most states' laws; prohibited purchasers can acquire firearms from unlicensed private sellers without subjecting themselves to background checks and record-keeping requirements. Violent criminals and traffickers exploit this weakness with fatal consequences. This report discusses the need to improve background checks and handgun purchaser licensing laws which would result in reduced gun deaths.

What Are the Most Effective Policies in Reducing Gun Homicides?

March 29, 2019

This research compares the impact of multiple gun laws at the same time and indicates which laws appear to be most strongly associated with lower rates of firearm homicide. Ultimately, the goal is to identify the types of laws that appear to have the greatest impact. This policy brief will help state policymakers navigate the scientific evidence regarding the impact of state firearm laws on gun-related homicide. 

Assault Weapons, Mass Shootings, and Options for Lawmakers

March 22, 2019

The focus of this brief is assault-style rifles, the new gun control measures passed in the U.S. at the end of 2018, the little to no action taken by the federal government, and actions taken by individual states to ban and regulate the sale and possession of assault-style weapons.

The "Safe Student" Scholarship: Expanding Education Choice Options to Improve School Safety

August 3, 2018

School safety is an issue that policymakers have struggled to address for decades. Current federal policy provides an Unsafe School Choice Option that has been largely overlooked. States should ensure that implementation of the policy allows all students who are in unsafe environments to transfer to a safe and effective school. At the same time, state policymakers should immediately provide school choice options to children who are direct victims of school violence or bullying, and to those students in schools with a high rate of such victimization, through the introduction of "safe student" scholarships. 

Focusing on School Safety After Parkland

March 19, 2018

There is no question that people on all sides of the school safety conversation want to protect the nation's children against threats of violence, whether in the classroom or at home and in their neighborhoods. Statistically, there is no safer place for children to be than in our schools, but recent events at Parkland and elsewhere highlight significant concerns about the possibility of devastating attacks even in our educational institutions. We can and must do better to guard against future incidents of violence that threaten students, but peace of mind will not be restored by wholesale restrictions on gun ownership or vilification of fundamental constitutional rights. Devising and implementing effective measures will require clear-headed, open-minded, fact-based analyses of proposed policies. 

The Science of Gun Policy: A Critical Synthesis of Research Evidence on the Effects of Gun Policies in the United States

March 2, 2018

The RAND Corporation's Gun Policy in America initiative is a unique attempt to systematically and transparently assess available scientific evidence on the real effects of gun laws and policies. Our goal is to create resources where policymakers and the general public can access unbiased information that informs and enables the development of fair and effective policies. Good gun policies in the United States require consideration of many factors, including the law and constitutional rights, the interests of various stakeholder groups, and information about the likely effects of different policies on a range of outcomes. This report seeks to provide the third factor—objective information about what the scientific literature examining gun policies can tell us about the likely effects of those policies. This report synthesizes the available scientific evidence on the effects of various gun policies on firearm deaths, violent crime, the gun industry, participation in hunting and sport shooting, and other outcomes.1 It builds and expands on earlier comprehensive reviews of scientific evidence on gun policy conducted more than a decade ago by the National Research Council (NRC) (see NRC, 2004) and the Community Preventive Services Task Force (see Hahn et al., 2005).