• Description

In the past decade, mass shootings, particularly those that take place in public areas, have increasingly become part of the national conversation in the United States. Mass public shootings instill widespread fear, in part because of their seeming randomness and unpredictability. Yet when these incidents occur, which has been with somewhat greater frequency and lethality as of late, public calls for policy responses are immediate. In this policy brief, we review efforts to evaluate the effect of gun control measures on mass public shootings, including a discussion of our recently published study on the relationship between state gun laws and the incidence and severity of these shootings. The findings of this work point to gun permits and bans on large-capacity magazines as having promise in reducing (a) mass public shooting rates and (b) mass public shooting victimization, respectively. Interestingly, however, most gun laws that we examined, including assault weapon bans, do not appear to be causally related to the rate of mass public shootings.