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

23 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2016

See all articles by John R. Lott

John R. Lott

Crime Prevention Research Center

Date Written: January 2, 2016

Abstract

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.

Keywords: mass public shooting, background check, crime

JEL Classification: K00, K42, K40

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

John R. Lott (Contact Author)

Crime Prevention Research Center ( email )

PO Box 3234
Alexandria, VA
United States

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