News Release

Changes in gun purchases after mass shootings

Peer-Reviewed Publication

JAMA Network

Bottom Line: For this analysis, researchers examined monthly data on U.S. background checks for gun purchases and permits from November 1998 through April 2016, and they looked for purchasing trends after mass shootings during that time. A total of 124 major mass shootings (5 or more individuals injured or killed) and nearly 234 million background checks occurred. Researchers report 26 of the shootings (21 percent) were associated with increases in gun purchases and 22 of the shootings (17.7 percent) were associated with decreases in gun purchases. Shootings receiving extensive media coverage were associated with increases in handgun purchases, whereas high-fatality shootings were more likely to be associated with decreases in handgun purchases. It is important to study the reasons underlying these changes to better understand the connections between gun violence and public opinion. A primary limitation of the study is the inability to draw causal conclusions from the findings.

Authors: Douglas J. Wiebe, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and coauthors

(doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.1736)

Editor's Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.


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About JAMA Network Open: JAMA Network Open is the new online-only open access general medical journal from the JAMA Network. Every Friday, the journal publishes peer-reviewed clinical research and commentary in more than 40 medical and health subject areas. Every article is free online from the day of publication.

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