Thursday, March 29, 2018

 In Search of Common Ground: Expert Judgments on Gun Policy Effects
 As our review of the existing literature demonstrated, there is very little scientific evidence available to support the decisions that policymakers and the public must make about whether to implement or change various gun policies. Without strong scientific evidence, policymakers and the public rely heavily on what advocates or social scientists believe the effects of policies are most likely to be. The opinions of these gun policy experts are an important influence on gun policy debates and decisions because people believe that the experts have an especially well-informed understanding of the gun polices under consideration, how similar laws have performed historically, and how specific policies would affect particular stakeholder groups.
Different communities of gun policy experts have sharply divided views on many gun policies, as often becomes clear in the debates that occur when states and the federal government consider new gun legislation. Less clear is whether there are laws or policies where such differences are less stark, or whether there may be a combination of policies that experts of every stripe could regard as an improvement over existing policies. Finally, it has not been clear whether experts disagree about what objectives gun policies should be trying to achieve or whether they agree on the objectives but disagree on which policies are most likely to achieve those objectives. If the experts chiefly disagree on the latter, this suggests a role for new and better scientific study of the true effects of gun policies.
To begin to answer these questions, RAND researchers surveyed nearly 100 gun policy experts on what they believed the effects of the following 15 gun policies would be on 12 different outcomes.

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