Firearms

Federal Funding for Firearms Research in 2013 and 2014

At the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology in San Francisco last week, I saw a number of presentations based on research undertaken with funding from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) – motto: “Strengthen Science, Advance Justice.”

On November 30 and December 1, 2011 (note: pre-Sandy Hook), the convened a group of experts to form the Firearms and Violence Research Working Group. Results of the working group’s deliberations as well as a list of participants is available here.

The working group identified several topics that if investigated would lead to a greater understanding of firearms violence and suggest interventions to reduce the same. This laid the groundwork for solicitations for research grants in 2013 and 2014.

NIJ Web Site

In 2013, the NIJ solicited proposals for research on “firearms and violence” (see the solicitation here) and in 2014 for “research and evaluation on firearms and violence” (see the solicitation here).

As far as I know, there is no way to know who submitted proposals, but the NIJ website does list the grants that were given, the recipients, amounts, and topics. In 2013, 4 grants were given totaling $1,924,887, and in 2014, 2 grants were given totaling $1,627,758. I list these grants below for information and without further comment.

2013

Michigan State University, A Tale of Four Cities: Improving Our Understanding of Gun Violence, $499,000

Description of original award: The purpose of this two phase research project is to examine high-risk people, social networks, and places through the development of better data systems and processes applied to both gun homicides and non-fatal shootings in four urban cities. Data will be collected on homicide and non-fatal gun crime using traditional incident case file reviews and systematic incident reviews in Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and St. Louis. Data from systematic observations from places will also be collected along with social network information from individuals. Analyses will range from basic descriptive patterns, to geospatial analyses, social network analyses, and additional multivariate modeling.

Description of supplemental award #1: The purpose of this two phase research project is to examine high-risk people, social networks, and places through the development of better data systems and processes applied to both gun homicides and non-fatal shootings in four urban cities. Data will be collected on homicide and non-fatal gun crime using traditional incident case file reviews and systematic incident reviews in Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and St. Louis. Data from systematic observations from places will also be collected along with social network information from individuals. Analyses will range from basic descriptive patterns, to geospatial analyses, social network analyses, and additional multivariate modeling.

RAND Corporation, Disrupting Illegal Gun Transfers, $399,000

Description of original award: The purpose of this study is to assess the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of informative letters sent to handgun buyers in Los Angeles reminding them of their legal responsibilities as gun owners. This study will first provide a five year follow-up on participants of an experimental pilot letter program implemented between August 2007 and September 2008. In the pilot, buyers receiving letters were twice as likely to later report their gun stolen compared to those who received no letter. Efforts in follow-up will be directed toward assessing whether any of these guns were recovered. Second, a new experiment will involve 1,800 recent buyers with letters sent to only to those initiating handgun purchases on odd numbered days, thereby comparing rates of completed gun sales for a specified period of time for both those receiving and not receiving the letter. Third, the study will examine the effect of the letter across time comparing pre- and post-letter implementation periods for the city as a whole.

University of Colorado Medical Center, Reducing Youth Access to Firearms through the Health Care Setting, $1.025 million

Description of original award: The purpose of this project is to examine the implementation and effectiveness of an intervention, delivered in a health care setting, to decrease home firearm access by youth. A total of 800 youth, age 12-17, attending a large urban outpatient adolescent health clinic and their parents will be enrolled in the study. Youth coming to the clinic for routine physicals will be screened for risk and clinicians trained in using a tested means restriction education protocol will deliver means restriction counseling randomly to half of all families reporting guns in the home. Self-reported parental behaviors to follow firearm means restriction recommendations will be compared on the basis of responsiveness and between families in which the adolescent test as high risk for violence or depression to those testing at low risk. The implementation process will also be assessed to guide future dissemination.

International Association of Chiefs of Police, The Epidemiology of Crime Guns: From Legal Sale to Use in Crime, $500,000

Description of original award: The purpose of this two phase research project is to trace guns used in crimes from first legal sale to criminal use in two large urban communities in the United States, both having substantial gun violence, high levels of clearance for gun crimes, and being situated in different gun control contexts. For the years, 2011 and 2012, gun crimes in which the weapons have been recovered will be traced from first legal sale to criminal use to develop a complete description of how the gun moved from the legal market to the illegal market and finally to the individual who used it in a crime. These will also be compared to gun crimes during the same period where a gun was not recovered. Prisoners convicted of gun crimes during the same period will also be interviewed and surveyed as to gun acquisition and use. The results will aid investigations of gun crime in two jurisdictions and provide a standard protocol for gun investigations by other police agencies in other communities.

Description of supplemental award #1: This supplemental continuation application is to be submitted by a current grantee, the International Association of Police Chiefs {IACP). They won the current award under the 2013 solicitation, Research on Firearms and Violence. IACP was one of four competitive grants awarded, proposing research on firearms and violence in two large U.S. cities. Given that they had secured agreements from one city at the time of the award, the NIJ Director decided to provide funds to the project in two phases with the second phase funded upon demonstrating progress in implementation at the first site (city), and securing agreements with the second site. Although the project was originally proposed to be two years in duration. IACP made adjustments to the research calendar for the phase one award to last 15 months. They began work in March of 2014 when they received Human Subjects and Confidentiality clearance. The project research calendar will likely be adjusted in phase two. The purpose of this two phase research project is to trace guns used in crimes from first legal sale to criminal use in two large urban communities in the United States, both having substantial gun violence, high levels of clearance for gun crimes, and being situated in different gun control policy contexts. The first phase of the project will continue to be implemented in New Orleans, LA for the duration of the award period. The second phase will expand the research protocol to include a second city, Newark, NJ. For the years, 2011 and 2012, gun crimes in which the weapons have been recovered will be traced from first legal sale to criminal use to develop a comprehensive and complete description of how the gun moved from the legal market to the illegal market and finally to be used in a crime. Incidents of gun recovery will also be compared to gun crimes during the same period where a gun was not recovered to assess differences and distinctions. Prisoners convicted of gun crimes during the same period will also be interviewed and surveyed as to gun acquisition and use. The results will aid investigations of gun crime in two jurisdictions by providing a standard protocol for gun investigations by other police agencies in other communities. The proposal for supplemental funding will provide for implementation of the research in a second site, Newark, NJ. Funding for the second phase will be contingent upon the grantee demonstrating significant progress and administrative agreements for the addition of the second site. A total of approximately $250,000 for a yet to be determined award period that will not exceed three years will be provided to fund the second phase of IACP’s research.

2014

Regents of the University of California, Prospective Evaluation of California’s Armed and Prohibited Persons System, $1.168 million

Description of original award: Statement of the Problem: Firearm violence is a significant public safety and public health problem, and too little is known about the effectiveness of efforts to prevent it. Our purpose is to conduct a rigorous evaluation of California’s Armed and Prohibited Persons System (APPS). APPS seeks to recover firearms from individuals who purchased them legally in the past but have recently become prohibited persons (unable legally to possess firearms) following a conviction for a serious crime or other event suggesting a high risk for future violence to others or themselves. APPS is a theory-based intervention that may have a significant impact on risk for future violence among members of its target population. Subjects: Approximately 20,000 individuals eligible for the APPS intervention in 1,041 communities. Research Design and Methods: APPS is being implemented statewide following a schedule that gives each community an equal opportunity for implementation by using randomization at the community level, with stratification by region, population, and violent crime rate. The subjects of the study are APPS-eligible individuals hierarchically nested within those communities. The principal outcome measure is the incidence of arrest for a firearm-related or violent crime following intervention, comparing individuals in communities that have received the APPS intervention with individuals in communities that have not yet received the intervention. Analysis: Primary analysis will be on an intent-to-treat basis. Analyses will focus on time to event, using proportional hazards regression, adjusted for the clustered nature of the data and incorporating many individual- and community-level characteristics. Time-varying covariates will be employed where needed. Supplemental analyses on an as treated basis will assess whether the magnitude of the effect is related to the intensity of the intervention at the individual level. To assess the validity of the primary analysis, we will employ multiple ancillary methods, assess multiple pre-specified outcomes, and examine effects on pre-specified subgroups. We will conduct a cost-benefit analysis. Products, Reports, and Data Archiving: Results will be made available in a final report and in a series of publications in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and will be disseminated to broader audiences in suitable formats. Data and documentation will be archived for future use.

University of Chicago, Underground Gun Markets in Chicago, $460,000

Description of original award: The purpose of this project is to examine the distribution of guns among people at highest risk of being involved with illegal use of firearms in Chicago, Illinois. Specific research activities will include: 1) An update and analysis of existing Chicago Police Department administrative datasets including Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms crime-gun trace data, confiscated crime guns matched with the federal registry of stolen guns, and investigation data from the Chicago Anti-Gun Enforcement Team; 2) Ethnographic interviews with gun brokers and gang leaders known to distribute firearms in three Chicago neighborhoods; and, 3) A survey of Illinois Department of Corrections male inmates between the ages 17-20 who were gang-involved at the most recent arrest and incarcerated for gun offenses (N=100); and a representative sample of same gender/age inmates neither gang-involved nor serving a gun-related sentence (N=100).

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5 thoughts on “Federal Funding for Firearms Research in 2013 and 2014

  1. Pingback: Memo to The Trace: Your Antipathy Toward Gun Owners is Pissing Me Off | Gun Culture 2.0

  2. Pingback: Who Funded the Harvard/Northeastern Study of Gun Ownership? | Gun Culture 2.0

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