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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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Teachers' Views on School Safety: Consensus on Many Security Measures, But Stark Division About Arming Teachers

May 31, 2023

This report describes teachers' views of key school safety and security needs, measures, and related issues, including specific questions focusing on arming teachers as an approach to school security. It uses the results of a fall 2022 survey via The RAND Corporation's American Educator Panels (AEP). The AEP are nationally representative samples of teachers, school leaders, and district leaders across the country. The panels are a proud member of the American Association for Public Opinion Research's Transparency Initiative.

Visualizing Firearm Mortality and Law Effects: An Interactive Web-Based Tool

February 23, 2023

The Firearm Law Effects and Mortality Explorer is designed to provide users with information about the distribution of firearm deaths across states and demographic subgroups. In addition, it allows users to explore how those deaths might be affected by the implementation of a set of commonly enacted state firearm laws using estimates of those effects produced by the RAND research team. In the documentation that accompanies the tool, the research team describes the data sources used to produce the visualizations in the tool, the assumptions underlying the visualizations, and the statistical models that produce the law effect estimates the visualizations depict.

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

January 17, 2023

In this report, part of the RAND Corporation's Gun Policy in America initiative, researchers seek objective information about what scientific literature reveals about the likely effects of various gun laws. In the third edition of this report, the authors incorporate more-recent research in their synthesis of the available scientific data regarding the effects of 18 state firearm policies on firearm deaths, violent crime, suicides, the gun industry, defensive gun use, and other outcomes. By highlighting where scientific evidence is accumulating, the authors hope to build consensus around a shared set of facts that have been established through a transparent, nonpartisan, and impartial review process. In so doing, they also illuminate areas in which more and better information could make important contributions to establishing fair and effective gun policies.

Personal Firearm Storage in the United States: Recent Estimates, Patterns, and Effectiveness of Interventions

July 11, 2022

One topic on which public health and gun rights advocates agree is that gun owners should store firearms safely, preventing unauthorized individuals from accessing them. Such practices may prevent unintentional firearm deaths and injuries among children and could even prevent suicide.This essay describes what safe storage actually means and presents estimates of U.S. gun owners' storage practices; it also presents research on select populations of interest. It additionally summarizes research on the effectiveness of interventions that seek to change firearm storage practices.

Mass Attacks Defense Toolkit

May 31, 2022

RAND researchers created this tool to advance efforts to prevent and reduce intentional, interpersonal firearm violence and public mass attacks in the United States. The goal of this tool is to provide practical strategies and guidance on deterring, mitigating, and responding to mass attacks for a variety of audiences, including public safety experts, practitioners, policymakers, community groups, and the general public.The tool is organized by the three phases of the Mass Attack Defense Chain: (1) prevent the attack, (2) mitigate the attack, and (3) follow up after the attack.

Suggestions for Estimating the Effects of State Gun Policies: Commentary on Four Methodological Problems in the Current Literature

February 15, 2022

Research on gun policy topics has often been controversial, partly because different researchers studying the same questions—and typically using the same or similar data sets—have often reported contradictory findings, which leads to confusion about the merits of the policy being studied. One potential explanation is that different researchers may be using methods that are more or less appropriate to the gun policy topics they are investigating.In this report, part of the RAND Gun Policy in America initiative, the authors discuss four common methodological problems that they observed in the literature evaluating gun policies and offer suggestions for how future research on gun policies could be improved. In presenting these ideas, the authors hope to improve awareness of some of the weaknesses with commonly used methods for estimating gun policy effects, stimulate debate about how best to address some of these limitations, and encourage reviewers of research to advocate for stronger methods prior to accepting papers for publication.

The Magnitude and Sources of Disagreement Among Gun Policy Experts, Second Edition

November 30, 2021

The effects of firearm policies, though frequently debated, have historically received less-rigorous scientific evaluation than have the effects of other policies affecting public safety, health, and recreation. Despite improvements in recent years, there is still limited evidence of how some gun policies that are frequently proposed or enacted in the United States are likely to affect important outcomes (such as firearm homicides, property crime, and the right to bear arms). In areas without strong scientific evidence, policymakers and the public rely heavily on what policy advocates or social scientists believe the effects are most likely to be.In this report, part of the RAND Gun Policy in America initiative, RAND researchers describe the combined results from two fieldings (2016 and 2020) of a survey of gun policy experts. Respondents were asked to estimate the likely effects of 19 gun policies on ten outcomes. The researchers use these and other responses to establish the diversity of beliefs among gun policy experts, assess where experts are in more or less agreement on the effects of gun laws, and evaluate whether differences in the policies favored by experts result from differences in experts' assumptions about the policies' effects or differences in experts' policy objectives. The analysis suggests that experts on different sides of the gun policy debate share some objectives but disagree on which policies will achieve those objectives. Therefore, collecting stronger evidence about the true effects of policies is, the researchers believe, a necessary step toward building greater consensus on which policies to pursue.

Gun Policy In America: An Overview (Updated April, 2020)

April 22, 2020

This report is an overview of the key findings from RAND's Gun Policy in America initiative, which aimed to provide objective information on what is and isn't known about the effects of different gun laws, to create tools and resources to improve the quality of research on gun policy, and improve the national debate on developing fair and effective gun policies.

State Firearm Law Navigator

December 4, 2019

Research on the effects of gun laws requires good data on when and where different types of laws have been implemented.To support this type of research, RAND maintains a longitudinal database of state firearm laws, available free to the public. This database was first released in 2018. It is revised regularly and was substantially expanded in 2019.Although the full database includes 17 classes of gun laws and many subcategories of these classes, this visualization illustrates just four: background check, child-access prevention, concealed-carry, and self-defense laws. More laws will be added over time.How it works: Select the type of gun law from the dropdown menu. Move the slider to select a year from 1979 to 2019. Click on a state to see the text of specific laws that were in effect in a given year.

The Magnitude and Sources of Disagreement Among Gun Policy Experts

March 2, 2018

The effects of firearm policies have rarely been the subject of rigorous scientific evaluation in comparison with most other policies with similarly consequential effects on public safety, health, and the economy. Without strong scientific evidence of the effects of laws, policymakers and the public rely heavily on the expert judgments of advocates or social scientists. This makes gun policy experts' estimates of the true effects of policies an important influence on gun policy debates and decisions. In this report, RAND researchers describe the results of a survey in which gun policy experts estimated the likely effects of 15 gun-related policies on 12 societal outcomes. The researchers use these and other responses to establish the diversity of beliefs among gun policy experts about the true effects of gun laws, establish where experts are in more or less agreement on those effects, and evaluate whether differences in the policies favored by experts result from disagreements about the policies' true effects or disagreements in experts' policy objectives or values. The analysis suggests that experts on both sides of the gun policy debate share some objectives but disagree on which policies will achieve those objectives. Therefore, collecting more and stronger evidence about the true effects of policies is, the researchers believe, a necessary step toward building greater consensus.

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).

U.S. Gun Policy in a Global Context

January 1, 2018

Some of the most compelling evidence for a causal connection between gun prevalence and suicide or homicide rates comes from the experiences of three countries—Australia, Switzerland, and Israel—where changes in law or policy may have led to marked shifts in gun ownership rates.