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A Conceptual Framework for a Firearms Data Infrastructure

NORC Expert Panel on Firearms Data Infrastructure
Second Convening of the NORC Expert Panel onFirearms Data Infrastructure

Any reasoned debate on firearms in the United States, particularly one that seeks to protect 2nd Amendment rights while taking seriously the role of firearms in America's disproportionate violence, must begin with a shared set of facts. At present, the firearms data infrastructure in the United States is too limited to provide that foundation. In partnership with Arnold Ventures, NORC at the University of Chicago is hosting a series of convenings with an expert panel of 14 members with diverse professional experiences and subject matter expertise in data, research, and policy. The goal of this panel is to produce practical guidance for a rigorous, objective, and sustainable firearms data architecture for use by local, state, and federal policymakers and their constituents.

The first Expert Panel on Data Infrastructure convening was held in October 2019. Following the meeting, the expert panel released The State of Firearms Data in 2019 reviewing current and discontinued firearms data systems, datasets, and survey data.

The second convening of the expert panel was held in January 2020 in Bethesda, MD, to develop a cohesive conceptual framework for a firearms data infrastructure. This report describes a conceptual framework that organizes a discussion of data needs and data availability for the purpose of making existing data sets more complete, accurate and user friendly as well as proposing new ways to connect existing data and, recommendations for new data systems, collections and measures.