16-126_23dbdd9e-2135-4a5c-9979-cebc6b6492e4.pdf - The Impact of Mass Shootings on Gun Policy Michael Luca Deepak Malhotra Christopher Poliquin Working

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Electronic copy available at: The Impact of Mass Shootings on Gun PolicyMichael Luca Deepak Malhotra Christopher Poliquin Working Paper 16-126
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Electronic copy available at: Working Paper 16-126 Copyright © 2016 by Michael Luca, Deepak Malhotra, and Christopher Poliquin Working papers are in draft form. This working paper is distributed for purposes of comment and discussion only. It may not be reproduced without permission of the copyright holder. Copies of working papers are available from the author. The Impact of Mass Shootings on Gun Policy Michael Luca Harvard Business School Deepak Malhotra Harvard Business School Christopher Poliquin Harvard Business School
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1The Impact of Mass Shootings on Gun PolicyMichael LucaHarvard Business School<[email protected]>Deepak MalhotraHarvard Business School<[email protected]>Christopher PoliquinHarvard Business School<[email protected]>October 2016AbstractThere have been dozens of high-profile mass shootings in recent decades. This paperpresents three main findings about the impact of mass shootings on gun policy. First, massshootings evoke large policy responses. A single mass shooting leads to a 15% increase inthe number of firearm bills introduced within a state in the year after a mass shooting.Second, mass shootings account for a small portion of all gun deaths, but have an outsizedinfluence relative to other homicides. Our estimates suggest that the per-death impact ofmass shootings on bills introduced is about 80 times as large as the impact of individualgun homicides in non-mass shooting incidents. Third, when looking at enacted laws, theimpact of mass shootings depends on the party in power. A mass shooting increases thenumber of enacted laws thatloosengun restrictions by 75% in states with Republican-controlled legislatures. We find no significant effect of mass shootings on laws enactedwhen there is a Democrat-controlled legislature.We thank Joseph Hall and Jessica Li for excellent research assistance.
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21. IntroductionRecent decades have witnessed a series of high-profile mass shootings throughoutthe United States in towns ranging from Newtown, CT to Killeen, TX. While most homicidesreceive little attention from the general public, mass shooting incidents are extremelysalient. Nonetheless, a common and frequently articulated view is that despite extensivediscussion about mass shootings, they have little influence on policymaking.Should we expect policymakers to propose new legislation in the wake of a massshooting? Given that the vast majority of gun deaths do not result from mass shootings, itwould be difficult to reconcile large responses to mass shootings with basic models ofoptimal policy aimed exclusively at reducing gun violence. However, mass shootings mayhave another effect – bringing attention to the issue of gun violence. Mass shootingspotentially lead to policy changes by focusing attention on gun violence, even if they do not
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