Turchan, B., Zeoli, A. M., & Kwiatkowski, C. (2017). Reacting to the improbable: Handgun carrying permit application rates in the wake of high-profile mass shootings. Homicide studies, 21(4), 267-286.
Fear of crime is a frequently cited reason individuals carry firearms. Mass shootings are particularly fear-inducing events, and for some incidents, media coverage inundates the public with details of these tragedies. This reporting may increase individuals’ fear of such incidents and, subsequently, may spur demand for handgun carrying permits (HCPs). Newspaper reports have documented changes in HCP application rates following high-profile mass shootings. We empirically assess this possible relationship using HCP application rates in all 95 counties in Tennessee from 2008 through 2014. Results suggest certain high-profile mass shootings are significantly associated with increased HCP application rates.