The Diffusion of Punitive Firearm Preemption Laws Across U.S. States

James Macinko, Diana Silver, Duncan A. Clark, Jennifer L. Pomeranz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Firearm violence is a public health crisis. Most states prohibit local firearm laws, but some states have laws that allow for lawsuits and other penalties against local governments and lawmakers who pass firearm laws deemed preempted. These punitive firearm preemptive laws may reduce firearm policy innovation, discussion, and adoption beyond preemption alone. Yet, it is unknown how these laws spread from state to state. Methods: In 2022, using an event history analysis framework with state dyads, logistic regression models estimate the factors associated with adoption and diffusion of firearm punitive preemption laws, including state-level demographic, economic, legal, political, population, and state-neighbor factors. Results: As of 2021, 15 states had punitive firearm preemption laws. Higher numbers of background checks (AOR=1.50; 95% CI=1.15, 2.04), more conservative government ideology (AOR=7.79; 95% CI=2.05, 35.02), lower per capita income (AOR=0.16; 95% CI=0.05, 0.44), a higher number of permissive state firearm laws (AOR=2.75; 95% CI=1.57, 5.30), and neighboring state passage of the law (AOR=3.97; 95% CI=1.52, 11.51) were associated with law adoption. Conclusions: Both internal and external state factors predict the adoption of punitive firearm preemption. This study may provide insight into which states are susceptible to adoption in the future. Advocates, especially in neighboring states without such laws, may want to focus their firearm safety policy efforts on opposing the passage of punitive firearm preemption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)649-656
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of preventive medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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