Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Serkan Ozbeklik

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This paper explores the relationship between gun prevalence and fatal police shootings in the United States. Specifically, the study assesses the validity of using FSS (Firearm Suicides Per Total Suicides) as a proxy for gun prevalence. It examines whether FBI background check data can be a more reliable alternative. Through a panel data analysis, the study provides moderate evidence that FBI background check data performs better than FSS as a proxy for gun prevalence and that the relationship between firearm prevalence and fatal police shootings is positive. Additionally, the study finds that instrumenting FSS with background check data to account for measurement error in gun prevalence measures is ineffective. The research highlights the role of crime in fatal police shootings and calls for future studies to develop better proxies for gun prevalence.