The Hazards of Data-dredging in Gun Control Research: Comment on Webster et al. (2020)
14 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2020
Date Written: February 26, 2020
Webster, McCourt, Crifasi, Booty, and Stuart (2020) recently published an article in which they concluded, based on a panel study of annual state-level data, that the incidence of mass shooting incidents and the total number of fatalities linked with such incidents are reduced by two types of gun control law: bans on large-capacity magazines (LCM) and purchasing licensing laws that require applicants to personally appear at a public safety agency or that require them to be fingerprinted. This comment establishes that the finding regarding the effect of LCM bans is inconsistent with the authors’ own technically soundest findings, and that the finding regarding purchaser licensing is highly sensitive to variations in method, and may have been produced by data-dredging.
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