CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Lott et al. on Expert Views on Gun Laws

John R. LottArthur Z. Berg, MD and Gary A. Mauser (Crime Prevention Research Center, Harvard University - Department of Psychiatry and Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Beedie School of Business) have posted Expert Views on Gun Laws on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
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.

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