Media coverage and firearm acquisition in the aftermath of a mass shooting

Maurizio Porfiri, Raghu Ram Sattanapalle, Shinnosuke Nakayama, James Macinko, Rifat Sipahi

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

Abstract

With an alarming frequency, the United States is experiencing mass shooting events, which often result in heated public debates on firearm control. Whether such events play any role in recent dramatic increases in firearm prevalence remains an open question. This study adopts an information-theoretic framework to analyse the complex interplay between the occurrence of a mass shooting, media coverage on firearm control policies and firearm acquisition at both national and state levels. Through the analysis of time series from 1999 to 2017, we identify a correlation between the occurrence of a mass shooting and the rate of growth in firearm acquisition. More importantly, a transfer entropy analysis pinpoints media coverage on firearm control policies as a potential causal link in a Wiener–Granger sense that establishes this correlation. Our results demonstrate that media coverage may increase public worry about more stringent firearm control and partially drive increases in firearm prevalence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNature Human Behaviour
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

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Firearms
Mass Media
Entropy
Growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this

Media coverage and firearm acquisition in the aftermath of a mass shooting. / Porfiri, Maurizio; Sattanapalle, Raghu Ram; Nakayama, Shinnosuke; Macinko, James; Sipahi, Rifat.

In: Nature Human Behaviour, 01.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

Porfiri, Maurizio ; Sattanapalle, Raghu Ram ; Nakayama, Shinnosuke ; Macinko, James ; Sipahi, Rifat. / Media coverage and firearm acquisition in the aftermath of a mass shooting. In: Nature Human Behaviour. 2019.
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