May 22, 2022

Reference: Rand’s Gun Policy in America Initiative Releases Research Analysis and Online Data Tools

The following report and online research tools were published by Rand on March 2, 2018.

From Gun Policy Initiative Home Page:

RAND’s Gun Policy in America initiative provides information on what scientific research can tell us about the effects of gun laws. Our goal is to establish a shared set of facts that will improve public discussions and support the development of fair and effective gun policies.

We analyzed thousands of studies to examine the effects of gun policies on defensive gun use, hunting participation, suicide rates, and other outcomes. We also evaluated the views of gun policy experts who have opposing perspectives on the likely effects of gun laws to understand where disagreements exist and where compromise might be possible.

By exploring this project, you can view summaries of our key findings, delve into our analysis of the existing evidence base, learn how the experts think policies would affect outcomes, download our historical database of state gun laws, and access the supporting research reports.

Selected Initiative Resources

News Release

Research Report:  The Science of Gun Policy: A Critical Synthesis of Research Evidence on the Effects of Gun Policies in the United States  ||| Research Review Methodology
Key Findings and Download Ebook (412 pages; PDF; Free)

Gun Policy in America: An Overview

Americans are often divided on how to improve gun policies. Our research suggests that, among gun policy experts, these divisions are not primarily due to disagreements about what policies should achieve. Instead, the experts disagree on what the real effects of gun policies will be. This project seeks to clarify what is known and where new information could help build consensus about how to improve U.S. gun policies.

Interactive Matrix: Gun Policy Analysis

The primary focus of our analysis was the systematic review of 13 broad classes of gun policies that have been implemented in some states and the effects of those policies on eight outcomes. We produced research syntheses that describe the quality and findings of the best available scientific evidence. Each synthesis presents and rates the available evidence and describes what conclusions, if any, can be drawn about the policy’s effects on outcomes. In many cases, we were unable to identify any research that met our inclusion criteria (which required a study to provide minimally persuasive evidence for a policy’s effects).

Interactive: Gun Policy Comparison Tool

Part of the RAND Gun Policy in America initiative, this tool allows users to explore how outcomes would change in each state and nationally if different combinations of gun policies were enacted or repealed nationwide. The results, based on the responses from a survey of gun policy experts, can also illustrate the trade-offs created when a group of policies improves one set of outcomes but undermines others.

Additional Research Materials

Data: RAND State Firearm Law Database (2018)

Part of RAND’s Gun Policy in America initiative, the RAND State Firearm Law Database is a longitudinal data set of state firearm laws that is free to the public to support improved analysis and understanding of the effects of various laws.

The Magnitude and Sources of Disagreement Among Gun Policy Experts (2018)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.