Do Background Checks on Private Gun Transfers Help Stop Mass Public Shootings?

John R. Lott Jr.

Crime Prevention Research Center

January 2, 2016

Persistent claims have been made that expanding background checks to include any private transfers of guns would reduce mass public shootings. Yet, this is the first study to systematically look to see if that is true. In fact there is no evidence that these laws reduce the risk of these attacks. Examining all the mass public shootings in the US from 2000 through 2015, we find that states adopting additional background checks on private transfers they see a statistically significant increase in rates of killings (80% higher) and injuries (101%) from mass public shootings. There is not one mass public shooting that occurred over that period where these checks would have prevented it from occurring.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 23

Keywords: mass public shooting, background check, crime

JEL Classification: K00, K42, K40

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Date posted: January 8, 2016  

Suggested Citation

Lott, John R., Do Background Checks on Private Gun Transfers Help Stop Mass Public Shootings? (January 2, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2711323 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2711323

Contact Information

John R. Lott Jr. (Contact Author)
Crime Prevention Research Center ( email )
United States
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