The Impact of Mass Shootings on Gun Policy

60 Pages Posted: 7 May 2016 Last revised: 21 Mar 2019

See all articles by Michael Luca

Michael Luca

Harvard Business School

Deepak K. Malhotra

Harvard Business School - Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit

Christopher Poliquin

Harvard Business School

Date Written: January 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 16% increase in the number of firearm bills introduced within a state in the year after a mass shooting. This effect increases with the number of fatalities. 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. Laws that loosen gun restrictions increase by 75% in the aftermath of 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 (January 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 Business School ( 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

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Wyss House
Boston, MA 02163
United States
207-415-0546 (Phone)

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