Vera researchers are working with Garen Wintemute (University of California, Davis) and Philip J. Cook (Duke University) on a cost-benefit analysis of California’s Armed and Prohibited Persons System, which automatically cross-references the names of persons who have legally purchased firearms with continuously updated records of individuals prohibited from firearm possession on account of criminal conviction, involuntary mental health hospitalization, or restraining order. Law enforcement officers contact individuals determined to be armed and prohibited in order to recover the firearms.

The cost-benefit analysis draws upon the results of a randomized trial that assigned areas of the state to one of two groups and staggered operations in these groups so researchers could measure the effect of the intervention on public health and safety.

Project Objectives

  • Measure the budgetary costs of enforcing existing prohibitions on firearm possession.

  • Measure the health and safety benefits of enforcing prohibitions on firearm possession.

Key Fact

Background checks and denials of purchases by prohibited persons reduce arrest for violent and firearm-related crime by at least 25 percent