The Impact of Mass Shootings on Gun Policy

59 Pages Posted: 7 May 2016 Last revised: 9 Aug 2019

See all articles by Michael Luca

Michael Luca

Harvard University - Business School (HBS)

Deepak K. Malhotra

Harvard Business School - Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit

Christopher Poliquin

UCLA Anderson School of Management

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 6, 2019

Abstract

There have been dozens of high-profile mass shootings in recent decades. This paper presents three main findings about the impact of mass shootings on gun policy. First, mass shootings evoke large policy responses. A single mass shooting leads to a 15% increase in the number of firearm bills introduced within a state in the year after a mass shooting. This effect increases with the extent of media coverage. Second, mass shootings account for a small portion of all gun deaths, but have an outsized influence relative to other homicides. Third, when looking at bills that were actually enacted into law, the impact of mass shootings depends on the party in power. The annual number of laws that loosen gun restrictions doubles in the year following a mass shooting in states with Republican-controlled legislatures. We find no significant effect of mass shootings on laws enacted when there is a Democrat-controlled legislature, nor do we find a significant effect of mass shootings on the enactment of laws that tighten gun restrictions.

Suggested Citation

Luca, Michael and Malhotra, Deepak K. and Poliquin, Christopher, The Impact of Mass Shootings on Gun Policy (August 6, 2019). Harvard Business School NOM Unit Working Paper No. 16-126. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2776657 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2776657

Michael Luca (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Business School (HBS) ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Boston, MA 02163
United States

HOME PAGE: http://drfd.hbs.edu/fit/public/facultyInfo.do?facInfo=ovr&facId=602417

Deepak K. Malhotra

Harvard Business School - Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Christopher Poliquin

UCLA Anderson School of Management ( email )

110 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

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