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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 Glasgow licensed under CC 2.0

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Estimating the Effects of Law Enforcement and Public Health Interventions Intended to Reduce Gun Violence in Baltimore

January 11, 2018

Baltimore has long been plagued by high rates of homicides, with guns playing an important role. City and law enforcement officials in Baltimore have attributed much of the gun violence to the illegal drug economy and the availability of guns for criminal use. For many years, the most visible and direct approaches employed by the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) to curb gun violence have focused on enforcement of drug laws to reduce violent crime associated with the drug trade. In the most ambitious and resource-intensive efforts, the objective of law enforcement actions has been to "take down" or severely weaken organized groups selling illegal drugs through targeted arrests and prosecutions. Such efforts are intended to both remove violent criminals from communities and, ideally, deter violent crime. Most of these targeted drug law enforcement efforts have been place-focused, targeting "hot spots" for homicides and shootings. Within these hot spots, there is often some degree of targeting of individuals believed to be important drivers of gun violence, based on intelligence gathered, individuals' histories of criminal offending, and individuals' criminal associates.In the early 2000s, Baltimore City leadership encouraged aggressive enforcement of drug laws, resulting in the arrests of tens of thousands of individuals for drug possession and drug distribution. However, beginning mid-2007, the BPD shifted its focus to initiatives aimed at apprehending violent criminals and targeting illegal gun possession. We used data from January 1, 2003, through December 23, 2017, to estimate the effects of place-focused policing and prevention initiatives that were focused on criminal offending involving guns and/or drugs to estimate the effects of those interventions on homicides and nonfatal shootings. An overview of the specific interventions assessed in this study follows.

Concealed Carry of Firearms: Facts vs. Fiction

November 16, 2017

arrying a concealed handgun in public has the potential to enable would-be victims of violent crime to thwart attempted acts of violence, but also poses potential threats to public safety. Because of these potential threats, states have historically regulated the carrying of concealed firearms. These regulations have included requiring a permit to carry a concealed weapon and basing the issuance of these permits on whether applicants met training, safety, and even personal character requirements. Additionally, states have limited the places in which the permit holder could carry a concealed firearm.

Firearms on College Campuses: Research Evidence nad Policy Implications

October 15, 2016

This report reviews the evidence surrounding the relationship between civilian gun carrying and violent crime and mass shootings and factors that are unique to public safety on college campuses. Policies removing restrictions on civilian gun carrying are based on claims or assumptions about civilian gun use, the impact of state Right-to-Carry (RTC) laws, and the nature of mass shootings that are not supported by or are contrary to the best available research. The incidence of civilian self-defensive gun use (SDGU) is difficult to discern as available data are based on self-report, and distinguishing aggressor from victim in interpersonal altercations can be highly subjective. Nonetheless, data from the National Crime Victimization Survey indicate that SDGU is relatively rare (about 102,000 self-reported incidents per year affecting 0.9% of all violent crime victimizations) and is no more effective in reducing victims' risk of injury than other victim responses to attempted violent crimes. Research led by John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime, suggesting that RTC laws prevent violent crime has important flaws that biased his findings. The most recent and rigorous research on RTC laws that corrects for these flaws consistently finds that RTC laws are associated with more violent crime. These findings may seem counterintuitive because concealed-carry permit holders have, as a group, low rates of criminal offending and must pass a background check to ensure that they do not have any condition, such as a felony conviction, that prohibits firearm ownership. But, in states with low standards for legal gun ownership, legal gun owners account for the majority of persons incarcerated for committing violent crimes with firearms.

Permit-to-Purchase Licensing for Handguns

January 1, 2013

This fact sheet explains the concept of permit-to-purchase licensing for handguns.

Purchasing Firearms

The Case for Gun Policy Reforms in America

October 1, 2012

Debates about gun control often drift towards general arguments about whether guns make us safer or less safe, and gun control is equated with restricting gun ownership. However, with recent Supreme Court decisions overturning laws which ban firearm possession in the District of Columbia and Chicago, current gun control policies in the U.S. do not disarm lawabiding adults over the age of 21. Rather, gun control laws today focus on one or more of four general objectives. These laws aim to:Define conditions that prohibit a person from possessing firearms;Implement regulations to prevent prohibited persons from possessing firearms;Restrict carrying of concealed firearms outside the home; andRegulate the design of firearms to enhance public and personal safety.In this report we draw upon research evidence to suggest how improvements in each of these types of gun policies could enhance public safety in the United States.

Policy Recommendations & Models

Regulation and Oversight of Gun Dealers Reduces Trafficking to Criminals

September 28, 2010

The ATF Reform and Modernization Act, under consideration by Congress, would make several important changes that would weaken law enforcement's ability to hold scofflaw gun dealers accountable. It would increase evidentiary standards for prosecuting gun sales law violations, relax record-keeping requirements, weaken penalties for gun sales law violations, make license revocations more difficult, and prevent ATF notification of bulk gun purchases to local police.None of these provisions would be expected to influence law-abiding citizens' ability to purchase firearms. The research described in this brief, as well as new research on interstate gun trafficking and gun laws, provides evidence that policies which lessen the accountability of gun dealers are likely to lead to more gun trafficking.

Policy Recommendations & Models

Evidence-Based Law Enforcement and Community Strategies to Reduce Gun Violence

September 1, 2010

This Research Brief summarizes research on law enforcement and community-led initiatives which have research evidence to support their effectiveness in preventing illegal gun trafficking and gun violence.

Policy Recommendations & Models

Intimate Partner Violence and Firearms

September 1, 2010

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "intimate partner violence" (IPV) is actual or threatened physical or sexual violence or psychological and emotional abuse directed toward a spouse, ex-spouse, current or former boyfriend or girlfriend, or current or former dating partner. Intimate partners may be heterosexual or of the same sex. This fact sheet discusses the intersection of IVP and firearms.

Statistics & Surveys

Removing Guns from Domestic Violence Offenders

October 1, 2009

This report details the status of police gun removal laws and court-ordered removal laws in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and summarizes select characteristics of those laws that we believe are important for effective implementation. The report is intended as a resource for advocates and policy makers. In addition to highlighting characteristics of the laws that may affect their implementation and impact, we conclude this report with a set of recommendations for advancing policy and practice to reduce the dangers associated with armed batterers.

Policy Recommendations & Models

How Cities Can Combat Illegal Guns and Gun Violence

October 1, 2006

Though gun violence peaked in American cities in the early 1990s, firearms are still used in more than 30 homicides per day in the U.S. One major challenge is how to stanch the flow of guns to criminals. Researchers from the School's Center for Gun Policy and Research have recently zeroed in on illegal sales by licensed dealers (the dominant means of diverting guns into illegal markets). These sales include unrecorded, "off the books" transactions and "straw purchases" in which a person unable to pass a federal background check relies on another individual for the purchase. Daniel Webster, MPH, ScD '91, Center co-director, wants to increase the accountability of gun dealers. This report outlines how to reduce illegal gun trafficking, reduce illegal gun carrying, and use technology to prevent gun violence.

Policy Recommendations & Models