Police in the United States are fatally shot at a rate 1.6 times higher than non-police, and non-fatally shot at a rate 6.25 times higher. More permissive concealed-carry-weapons (CCW) laws and the expansion of permitless or “constitutional” firearm legislation are linked to increased firearm violence in the general population. Given their elevated risk of firearm injury and their unique role as street-level enforcers of firearm laws, these legislative changes have raised concern among law enforcement officials about the safety of their officers. Unfortunately, the rapid increase in the number of states with permitless carry and a lack of quality data on fatal and non-fatal police firearm injury prevents confident assessment of the degree to which permitless carry legislation affects contemporary firearm victimization of U.S. police officers. To address this critical barrier, this proposed research will 1) produce an updated dataset of fatal and non-fatal police firearm injury between 2014 and 2023, then use these data in 2) descriptive longitudinal and geographic analysis of police firearm injury trends, and 3) difference-in-difference (DiD) analysis of the causal effect of permitless carry legislation on police firearm injury. This proposed research builds on prior use of the Gun Violence Archive (GVA) to describe patterns in police firearm injury, and research on the effect of CCW laws on firearm violence. Combining these methods and unique data will address existing data limitations and provide rigorous, causal estimates of how the introduction of permitless carry legislation affects firearm injury by U.S. police.
Principal Investigator (PI): Michael Sierra-Arévalo, PhD, University of Texas at Austin
Co-Principal Investigator (PI): Stuart Craig, PhD, University of Wisconsin — Madison