Expert Views on Gun Laws

8 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 2020

See all articles by John R. Lott

John R. Lott

Crime Prevention Research Center

Arthur Z. Berg, MD

Harvard University Massachusetts General Hospital

Gary A. Mauser

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Beedie School of Business

Date Written: December 21, 2019


Academics from different fields vary widely in their views on the effectiveness of gun control. Our results indicate that public health researchers are much more supportive of gun control than are either criminologists or economists. They are also much more opposed to deregulation. Economists, by contrast, are the most skeptical of new regulations and the most supportive of deregulation. The different groups of researchers also provide very different rankings of effectiveness when asked to rate different policies.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are being put into public health research on gun control. Between 2015 and 2018, the federal government invested $43.2 million in firearms research, with 89% coming from the National Institute of Health. Congressional Democrats are pushing to include $50 million in Centers for Disease Control funding for additional gun research in the next federal budget. Some state governments are also putting millions of dollars into firearms research that consists exclusively of public health studies. Even larger amounts of funding are going to public health researchers from private sources. Yet the disparity in answers from our public health researchers on one hand, and our criminologists and economists on the other, raises questions about devoting so much money to only public health research into guns.

Keywords: Economics, Criminology, Public Health, survey, research, gun control, murder, mass public shootings

JEL Classification: K10, K47

Suggested Citation

Lott, John R. and Berg, MD, Arthur and Mauser, Gary A., Expert Views on Gun Laws (December 21, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

John R. Lott (Contact Author)

Crime Prevention Research Center ( email )

PO Box 3234
Alexandria, VA
United States

Arthur Berg, MD

Harvard University Massachusetts General Hospital ( email )

Boston, MA
United States

Gary A. Mauser

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Beedie School of Business ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Colombia V5A 1S6
604 936-9141 (Phone)


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