The North Carolina Journal of Mathematics and Statistics

Modeling Gun Ownership As A Social Disease

Laura Layton


Gun violence is a leading cause of premature deaths in the United States. Evidence has linked higher levels of firearm ownership to an increased risk for violent crimes perpetrated with a firearm. Given that connection, the goal of this study is to use mathematical modeling techniques to better understand how different social conditions may impact gun-ownership rate.  To accomplish that goal, we formulate an SIR-type model that treats gun ownership like a contagious social disease.  The model divides the population into three classes: non-susceptible, susceptible, and gun owners. Model simulations are conducted to assess the effectiveness of different approaches in lowering gun-ownership rate. Model predictions suggest that anti-gun propaganda and stricter gun laws may have a significant effect in reducing the gun ownership population and the prevalence of gun-related violence in North Carolina.


SIR model; gun ownership; simulations

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