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Mass Shootings: A Research Guide: Gun Violence


In the wake of every mass shooting, there are inevitably calls for tighter gun control as well as calls to put more guns in the hands of ordinary citizens, both in the name of increasing safety and security. These calls reflect a longstanding national debate about gun control generally.

Background Reading

Data Sources

As with data on mass shootings, there is a relative lack of research data on U.S. gun violence generally. This is generally attributed to passage of the "Dickey Amendment" in 1996, which stated that "none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may be used to advocate or promote gun control." For a recent summary of this issue, see this article from the New York Times:

Some states have begun separate initiatives to study gun violence, such as California's Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis. Meanwhile, researchers must rely on currently available data.

Government Sources:

Other Sources:

More guns = less crime?

This particular assertion has its own body of scholarly literature both for and against. It stems from Lott and Mustard's original controversial finding that laws permitting citizens to carry concealed handguns have caused crime to fall.

Suggested keyword combinations:

  • more guns less crime
  • "concealed carry" crime
  • right-to-carry crime
  • shall-issue crime

Selected research examples: