Rising Gun Sales in the Wake of Mass Shootings and Gun Legislation

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Rising Gun Sales in the Wake of Mass Shootings and Gun Legislation

Category: Firearm Availability, Firearm Policies, Gun Markets, Mass Shootings|Journal: The Journal of Primary Prevention (full text)|Author: J Iwama, J McDevitt|Year: 2021

Although gun control laws are intended to reduce exposure to gun violence in communities across the country, the passage of gun control laws is often linked to a substantial rise in the number of guns sold in the U.S. National polls indicate that most individuals purchase firearms for protection, but some cite the fear of gun-buying restrictions as the main reason for purchasing a gun. It is unclear what impact gun legislation has on patterns of gun sales, as mass shootings continue to bring the U.S. gun debate to the forefront. Using statewide data on gun transactions in Massachusetts from 2006 to 2016, we examined patterns in gun sales following the passage of gun legislation and high profile mass shootings. Specifically, we used three events to test and refine the argument during this time period: (1) the Newtown shooting, (2) the San Bernardino shooting, and (3) the passage of the 2014 Massachusetts Gun Violence Reduction Act. Results from these time-series analyses indicated different patterns in handgun sales, with significantly larger increases occurring among first-time handgun buyers. Our findings complement prior work explaining the impact of mass shootings and gun control laws on the exposure to guns in communities.

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