First Advisor

Bruce Gilley

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Political Science and University Honors


Political Science


Firearms -- Government policy -- United States -- Case studies, Firearms -- Law and legislation -- United States -- Case studies, Gun control -- Political aspects -- United States, Firearms ownership -- United States, State-local relations




The public policy landscape within the United States in regards to firearms is one which is inhabited by a large variation in policies. While many studies, such as those conducted by Azrael, Cook and Miller or O’Brien, Forrest, Lynott, and Daly, have looked at aspects of a states given firearms policy, little research has be conducted looking at why such a variation among state firearms policies exist. In order to uncover possible reasons for state firearms policy variation, this study looked at nine states as case studies along with six variables which are known to influence public policy. Utilizing the Mill Method of Agreement, Difference, and Joint, the six variables of the nine case studies were analyzed. The results of the study indicated that the variable of ideas may play the largest role in determining a state’s firearms policy, however the study also revealed that other variables such as population and inter-state diffusion may play a role at varying degree.


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