States With Stricter Gun Laws Have Fewer Mass Shootings: Study

Multiple state-level factors like education, poverty and incarceration rates were included.

National Tracing Center
ATF Firearms Specialist Richard Vasquez is surrounded by a cache of firearms in the gun vault on March 5, 2010, at the ATF National Tracing Center in Martinsburg, West Virginia. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

A study that should shock no one discovered that states with stricter gun control laws had fewer mass shootings between 1998 and 2015.

Conversely, the study found a significantly higher rate of mass shootings and other gun crimes in states that had lax laws and higher rates of gun ownership among the population, The Hill reported.

“States with more permissive gun laws and greater gun ownership had higher rates of mass shootings, and a growing divide appears to be emerging between restrictive and permissive states,” the report reads. “A 10% increase in state gun ownership [in a state] was associated with a significant 35.1% higher rate of mass shootings.”

Researchers said they were surprised that they were able to see such a strong and obvious divide between states with less- and more-restrictive gun laws.

“It’s hard to be 100% certain that what we found isn’t possibly because states that experience more mass shootings in turn change their gun laws, or some other factors that we just couldn’t measure,” the study’s co-author, Paul Reeping, said. “However, we did include multiple state-level factors that we could measure — education, poverty, incarceration rate, etc. — and took into account a time lag to limit the reverse effect of mass shootings influencing state gun laws across a 15 year period.

“We were surprised most by the growing divergence in recent years of the rates of mass shootings in permissive and restrictive states.”

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.