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Big Guns or Big Talk? How the National Rifle Association Matters for Conceal Carry Weapons Laws

NCJ Number
Mobilization Volume: 23 Issue: 1 Dated: 2018 Pages: 101-125
Date Published
25 pages
Since the power of the National Rifle Association (NRA) to influence policy is often assumed but seldom tested, the current study drew on social movement and political-sociological theories of policy change to assess NRA influence on state-level firearm policy outcomes, using the case of concealed carry weapons (CCW) laws.

Social movement organizations (SMOs) often aim to influence society through policy change; however, policy change may be the result of public opinion, political opportunities, or other factors, thus creating a spurious relationship between SMO activity and policy outcomes. Using event-history analyses, the current study found that the NRA does influence CCW laws, but its effect is mediated by public opinion, political ideologies, competitive elections, and political opportunities. Issue-specific public opinion and political ideologies also interact with one another to influence CCW laws. These findings build upon a growing literature that illustrates how SMOs interact with political contexts to generate policy change. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2018