Variability in Assaultive, Unintentional, and Self-Gunshot Injury in U.S. States and State Policy Opportunities for Prevention

Overview

This study will use a “hot-spotting” model to explore how state and county firearm mortality rates have changed over time and place, relative to implementation or repeal of state firearm policies.

Grant Amount: $707,181

Organization: University of Pennsylvania

Investigator: Douglas Wiebe, professor of epidemiology, Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology & Informatics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Expected Completion Date: Mid-2021

Project Summary

Purpose

Identify U.S. counties that are positive and negative outliers in changes in firearm mortality rates over time, then characterize policy and non-policy differences between these outliers.

Approach

  • Benchmark U.S. counties by change in observed-to-expected firearm mortality rates over time (1999-2002 and 2015-2018).
  • Use death certificate data and data on county characteristics, population, and trauma center access.
  • Estimate the association between enactment or repeal of state firearm policies on changes in observed-to-expected state and county firearm mortality rates over time.
  • Identify counties that had higher or lower than expected changes in firearm mortality rates over time relative to those of other counties in the same state, as a way to spot differences in implementation or in other approaches to reducing firearm injuries.

Significance

This project is designed to identify policies that may reduce or increase the risk of firearm mortality, in order to develop novel insights on how to prevent firearm injury deaths.

Investigator Bio

Douglas Wiebe is a professor of epidemiology, Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology & Informatics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Firearm violence and firearm policy have been the focus of Dr. Wiebe’s research over the past two decades, including studies of changes in state laws and their impacts on firearm-related mortality. Dr. Wiebe is also director of the Penn Injury Science Center, the home to the multidisciplinary team that designed and will carry out this project.