The Relation Between State Gun Laws and the Incidence and Severity of Mass Public Shootings in the United States, 1976–2018

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The Relation Between State Gun Laws and the Incidence and Severity of Mass Public Shootings in the United States, 1976–2018

Category: Firearm Availability, Firearm Policies, Mass Shootings|Journal: Law and Human Behavior (full text)|Author: E Fridel, G Duwe, J Fox, M Goder-Reiser, M Rocque, M Siegel|Year: 2020

Objective

In this study, we analyzed the relationship between state firearm laws and the incidence and severity (i.e., number of victims) of mass public shootings in the United States during the period 1976-2018.

 

Hypotheses

We hypothesized that states requiring permits to purchase firearms would have a lower incidence of mass public shootings than states not requiring permits. We also hypothesized that states banning large-capacity ammunition magazines would experience a lower number of victims in mass public shootings that did occur than states without bans.

 

Method

We developed a panel of annual, state-specific data on firearm laws and mass public shooting events and victim counts. We used a generalized estimating equations logistic regression to examine the relationship between eight state firearm laws and the likelihood of a mass public shooting. We then used a zero-inflated negative binomial model to assess the relationship between these laws and the number of fatalities and nonfatal injuries in these incidents.

 

Results

State laws requiring a permit to purchase a firearm were associated with 60% lower odds of a mass public shooting occurring (95% confidence interval [CI: -32%, -76%]). Large-capacity magazine bans were associated with 38% fewer fatalities (95% CI [-12%, -57%]) and 77% fewer nonfatal injuries (95% CI [-43%, -91%]) when a mass shooting occurred.

 

Conclusion

Laws requiring permits to purchase a gun are associated with a lower incidence of mass public shootings, and bans on large capacity magazines are associated with fewer fatalities and nonfatal injuries when such events do occur.

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