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The Station: Cali regulators eye Tesla FSD, Turo files to go public, Local Motors shuts down

The Station is a weekly newsletter dedicated to all things transportation. Sign up here — just click The Station — to receive it every weekend in your inbox. Hello readers: Welcome to The Station, your central hub for all past, present and future…



The Station is a weekly newsletter dedicated to all things transportation. Sign up here — just click The Station — to receive it every weekend in your inbox.

Hello readers: Welcome to The Station, your central hub for all past, present and future means of moving people and packages from Point A to Point B.

I’ll be taking over this week because your usual host, Kirsten Korosec, is busy doing Kirsten things. (Kirsten here to say ‘yes, I sure am, although I do have a little item below.’)

If you have any thoughts, criticisms, tips or opinions you’d like to share, you can email me at


The biggest micromobility news from the past week is that Ford-owned Spin laid off a quarter of its staff and is preparing to exit all open-permit markets around the world. The company will wind down operations in some U.S. markets, Germany and Portugal and is projected to close in Spain as early as February 2022. In a blog post CEO Ben Bear said this strategy would help accelerate the company’s path to profitability, as “open permit market dynamics have made it difficult to identify a clear path to profitability.”

I can’t say I didn’t see something like this coming. Back in June, I wrote about how Spin was shifting its strategy to angle for more exclusive partnerships with cities and campuses. This came as Bear took over as CEO and amid reports that Ford might be divesting Spin. Ford told TechCrunch it is still committed to helping the micromobility company on its path to profitability. 

Whether Bear knew all along that this strategy would require closing down operations in certain markets is unclear. Back in June, he told me Spin was “full speed ahead on the hiring front” with ambitious growth plans. Perhaps Spin was just hoping cities would align with the company’s strategy and start moving towards limited vendor permits. That trend might be true in mid-tier cities, which are just as important to convert to micromobility as the big dogs, so here’s hoping Spin’s strategy turns out alright in the end. 

Micromobilty World 2022

This week was also Micromobility World 2022, an event for micromobility lovers around the world, including yours truly, to talk about all things related to the space. Here are just a few of the many highlights: 

I spoke to Horace Luke, CEO of Gogoro, about how Gogoro has dominated Taiwan, why it’s so important to make charging easy and fast through battery swapping to increase adoption of micro-electric vehicles and why partnering with local businesses is key to expanding into new markets quicker. 

Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden talked to Horace Dediu about how Bird wants to continue the micromobility momentum started by the pandemic by focusing on climate change and congestion in cities, how to create main market adoption by showing cities that people are willing and ready to get out of cars and potential plans to create new form factors for the bike lane.

Caroline Samponaro, VP of micromobility at Lyft, spoke to The Verge’s Andrew Hawkins about public-private partnerships in micromobility. Samponaro spoke about how Lyft’s docked bikeshares have contributed to the public transit ecosystem by being reliably stationed, and she talked about the challenges of running a shared business, like the need for exclusivity with a city (such as CitiBike kind of has with NYC) and cost-prohibitive insurance obligations. Samponaro said that cities needed to work on their systemic vehicle-centric mindset, and she spoke of the importance of the bike and scooter working together. 

In other news …

EV maker Rivian has filed a trademark to produce electric bikes. The company wouldn’t tell TechCrunch anything else about the matter, but Rivian wouldn’t be the only OEM to recognize the micromobility trend and try to get on board. 

Lime is finally launching its new Gen4 e-bike, starting in Washington, D.C. The new bike will have a swappable battery that’s interchangeable with the company’s scooters, which should help improve Lime’s bottom line by making vehicle charges much easier.

Trek Bicycle and World Bicycle Relief teamed up to do a nice thing and donate $1.8M to communities in developing regions. Consumers around the world made donations towards Trek’s 2021 Bike of the Year, WBR’s Buffalo Bicycle, which is designed to help people traveling long distances over difficult terrain.

Helbiz is partnering with Wheels it deploy 2,500 seated e-mobility vehicles in four U.S. cities and two Italian innovation hubs starting next month, with plans to expand into other markets in the future. 

Cake is mounting Dometic’s temperature-controlled thermal box for food delivery, the DeliBox, onto some of its :work series bike to create a more innovative delivery solution.  

Seattle-based e-bike maker Propella recently released its new bike, the Mini, which at the time of this writing is going for $899 (+$50 for U.S. shipping). It’s a single-speed, pedal-assist, ultra lightweight (33 lbs) e-bike with 20-inch wheels. It’s got a range of 20-35 miles and a top speed of 18 mph. Looks like a nice little commuter bike!  

Retrospec has launched its new Koa Rev fat tire e-bike, complete with shock absorbers, up to 46 miles of range, a top speed of 20 mph and a throttle. Starting at $1,799.99.

Deal of the week

money the station

Peer-to-peer car-sharing startup Turo released its filing to become a publicly traded company in the U.S., which unfortunately did not include terms for its offering. 

Turo, which was founded in 2010, allows private car owners to rent out their vehicles through the startup’s website or app – like Airbnb for cars. As car rental prices are increasing due to supply chain issues, Turo is gaining some market share that could lead to success. However, Turo comes with a lot of risk, as its S-1 filing showed.

Notably, the company might face liability for criminal activities of its hosts, like the ones who have been using Turo and other similar apps to smuggle humans near the U.S. border. Turo is also liable to lawsuits from airport authorities that require the startup to obtain rental car permits to operate. 

That said there’s plenty of room for growth and expansion within the U.S. and internationally. 

Other deals that got my attention …

Arive, an instant delivery service focused on the wider world of consumer goods, raised a Series A round of $20 million. The funding is being led by Balderton Capital, with Global Founders Capital (the firm connected to Rocket Internet’s Samwer family), Burda Principal Investments, La Famiglia and 468 Capital also participating.

Auto parks maker Aptiv is acquiring software developer Wind River for $4.3B in cash to boost its offerings to an auto industry that’s quickly becoming autonomous and electric, and thus, software-defined. 

Bolt, which offers on-demand ride-hailing, shared cars and scooters, and restaurant and grocery delivery, has raised $709M at a valuation of $8.4B to expand into new geographies and bulk out new business lines like its 15-minute grocery delivery option by building out more “dark stores.”

Delivery Hero, the German food delivery group, sold $150 million worth of its stake in the Latin-American delivery company Rappi, close to the entire capital it had invested in the company, Reuters reported.

EVage, the all-electric commercial vehicle startup based in India, raised a $28 million seed round, led by new U.S.-based VC RedBlue Capital. The company plans to use the funds to complete its production-ready factory outside of Delhi in the first quarter of 2022 and scale up production to meet growing demand.

HeyCharge, a Germany-based startup focused on underground carparks, raised a $4.7 million seed round led by BMW i Ventures (also an early investor in Chargepoint and Chargemaster), the venture capital arm of BMW Group. Also participating was Statkraft Ventures, the venture capital arm of Statkraft, a large European generator of renewable energy.

Magna has acquired the tech, IP and assets of Optimus Ride, a Boston-based electric autonomous shuttle startup. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Magna has hired more than 120 OR employees. It plans to use OR’s tech to beef up its ADAS offerings. 

StoreDot, the Israeli next-generation battery technology startup touting an “extreme fast charging” (XFC) battery for electric vehicles, secured the first close of its latest funding round led by Vietnamese electric vehicle manufacturer VinFast. The Series D round is due to close at up to $80 million.

A little bird

blinky cat bird green

Kirsten here, popping in to give some historical insight into Optimus Ride, the autonomous shuttle company that ceased operations and sold its assets and IP to Magna. About 120 engineers have also joined Magna, as the company looks to beef up its advanced driver assistance system offerings.

It turns out that Optimus Ride was considering a merger with a special purpose acquisition company in a bid to go public. My sources say the company was shopping this idea around in early 2021 with a target of raising $400 million to $500 million during the process of going public. The plan was to close the deal by the end of the second quarter.

That obviously didn’t happen. Sources tell me they just couldn’t make the deal happen as some investors lost their appetite for mobility SPACs.

Notable news and other tidbits

Autonomous vehicles

The California DMV is revisiting its approach to regulating Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” beta  software after being confronted with a ton of evidence that the technology drives cars into dangerous situations and a letter of concern from a state legislator. Tesla has been getting away with testing its AV tech on public roads and not reporting crashes and system failures to the DMV, as other autonomous car developers are required to do, for years.

Tesla owners/fans have paid $10K (soon to be $12K) for the privilege of testing the FSD software on public roads, when they’re meant to be, but often aren’t, supervising the operation of cars as they autonomously navigate on highways and city streets – features that other developers, like Waymo, Cruise, Argo and Zoox, must report on to the DMV.

The DMV has good timing, as it looks like FSD’s latest update to 10.3 is bringing driver profiles back, with typically bro-ey names like “Chill,” “Average,” and “Assertive.” The Assertive one may perform rolling stops, have a smaller follow distance, perform more frequent speed lane changes and will not exit passing lanes. Ok, Elon. 

Ford appears to be toying with the idea of building its next AV facility in Dallas, according to city documents. Dallas city council members voted on Wednesday on an economic package that would entice the OEM to its city, rather than one of two potential sites in California, with a $3M tax break and a $250,000 grant towards the production of the facility.

Local Motors, the company behind the Olli autonomous shuttle and the Rally Fighter, has shut down operations, according to several posts from employees on LinkedIn who are already looking for work. Olli is the main feature photo for this post and was an early symbol of the burgeoning autonomous vehicle industry. The closure of Local Motors takes yet another autonomous shuttle out of operations and shows there is still room for consolidation in the industry. 

Autonomous delivery company Nuro unveiled its next-gen electric self-driving vehicle designed and manufactured in partnership with BYD North America. The “Nuro,” an auto-grade vehicle that operates on public roads but doesn’t carry passengers, has twice the cargo volume of its previous model, customizable storage, temp-controlled compartments and a series of safety features like exterior airbags designed to protect other road users. 

Serve Robotics, an Uber spinout that builds sidewalk delivery robots, is deploying its next-gen robots that can reach Level 4 autonomy (meaning no human in the loop) for deliveries in certain geofenced areas in Los Angeles. 

Waymo is expanding its pilot-partnership with J.B. Hunt into a long term deal that will see the logistics company become Waymo Via’s first launch partner for freight movement when it deploys fully autonomous operations in Texas the next few years.

Electric vehicles

Roberto Baldwin gave us a First Drive of the all-electric 2022 Mercedes AMG EQS and the still-V8-powered SL Roadster, two new cars out of Mercedes’s high performance unit that tick all the boxes for performance, luxury and comfort. 

Rivian reported that it produced 1,015 vehicles in 2021, delivering 920 by the end of the year – it had originally targeted production of 1,200 vehicles by EOY. The company has more than 71,000 pre-orders for its R1T pickup trucks.

General Motors has finally recognized California’s authority under the Clean Air Act to set its own vehicle emissions standards, which adds it to the list of potential OEMs the state can consider for fleet vehicle purchases. 


One of our featured articles this week from Jim Motavilli looked into the real reason the auto industry is facing a chip shortage – “feature bloat,” or “the tendency, fueled by sales competition, to slather new cars with as much technology as possible.” 

The auto tech released at CES, which includes a range of unnecessary tech that can watch and learn from drivers to anticipate their needs, schedule maintenance on their behalf, connect with smart devices at home and even stream YouTube, is proof that automakers are leaning in way too hard to making vehicles defined by software. Especially when we consider that there is no bug-free software and much of this tech can and will be unreliable.

“Meanwhile, market reality has resulted in a collision course for buyers on the ground: higher prices and spotty availability of some of the features they say they most want,” writes Motavilli.

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US Allows 2 Million Baby Formula Cans In From UK, Lets Abbott Release 300,000 Specialty Cans

US Allows 2 Million Baby Formula Cans In From UK, Lets Abbott Release 300,000 Specialty Cans

Authored by Mimi Nguyen Ly via The Epoch Times…



US Allows 2 Million Baby Formula Cans In From UK, Lets Abbott Release 300,000 Specialty Cans

Authored by Mimi Nguyen Ly via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Tuesday it will allow about 2 million cans of baby formula from the United Kingdom into the country, and allow Abbott Laboratories to release about 300,000 cans of specialty formula, to help ease the ongoing nationwide shortage.

“We continue to do everything in our power as part of the all-of-government efforts to ensure there’s adequate infant formula available wherever and whenever parents and caregivers need it,” FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said in a statement. “Our recent steps will help further bolster supply of infant formula, including through the import of safe and nutritious products from overseas based on our increased flexibilities announced last week.

Importantly, we anticipate additional infant formula products may be safely and quickly imported into the U.S. in the near-term based on ongoing discussions with manufacturers and suppliers worldwide.”

Shelves are empty of baby formula at a store in Chelsea, Massachusetts, on May 20, 2022. (Joseph PreziosoAFP via Getty Images)

The FDA announced it is “exercising enforcement discretion” to allow the importation of the 2 million cans from UK-based company Kendal Nutricare. The cans, which are under the company’s Kendamil brand, have no safety or nutrition concerns after an evaluation, and are expected to land on U.S. store shelves starting in June, the FDA said.

Kendal Nutricare currently has over 40,000 cans in stock for immediate dispatch, the agency said, adding that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is discussing options to get those cans into the country as soon as possible.

The FDA also announced it is letting Abbott release some 300,000 cans of its EleCare amino acid-based formula for babies and infants who urgently need it to survive, on a case-by-case basis.

The cans of specialty formula were previously produced at Abbott’s facility in Sturgis, Michigan, where other baby formula products that were recalled by Abbott on Feb. 17 were produced.

These products will undergo enhanced microbiological testing before release. Although some EleCare product was included in Abbott Nutrition’s infant formula recall, these EleCare products that will be released were in different lots, have never been released and have been maintained in storage under control by Abbott Nutrition,” the FDA noted.

“Given the critical need of this product for some individuals, the FDA encourages parents and caregivers to consult with their health care providers to weigh the potential risk of bacterial infection with this product,” it added. “Parents and caregivers seeking access to these products should contact Abbott directly to request that a product be made available to them by calling 1-800-881-0876.”

The ongoing baby formula shortage in the United States was recently exacerbated after Abbott Laboratories, the biggest U.S. supplier of powder baby formula, in February recalled some products, including those under the brand Similac, and temporarily shuttered its manufacturing facility in Sturgis, Michigan, which was producing up to one-quarter of the country’s baby formula.

The recall came after reports of bacterial infections among four infants, two of whom died. The FDA, which launched an investigation into the matter following consumer complaints, cannot conclude whether the cases of infants that fell sick were directly related to the Abbott facility until its investigation is concluded, Califf previously said.

Production at the Sturgis facility is set to restart on June 4, Abbott said in a statement. The company said it would prioritize making EleCare and supplying it on or about June 20. It also the formula would be provided to children in need for free.

Prior to the Abbott recall, the baby formula shortage among multiple manufacturers was brought on by supply chain pressures linked to COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.

Also on Tuesday, the Federal Trade Commission launched an inquiry into the ongoing shortage of baby formula in the country, calling for public input on the matter.

The Biden administration has sought to relieve the shortage by importing emergency supplies from Europe via Defense Department-contracted commercial aircraft under “Operation Fly Formula.” The first lots of formula arrived in Indianapolis, Indiana, from Germany on Sunday.

President Joe Biden has also invoked the Cold War-era Defense Production Act to help manufacturers obtain ingredients to produce more formula.

Tyler Durden Thu, 05/26/2022 - 07:20

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Why are clinical trials struggling with diversity?

In the diverse world we live in, the products we produce, the services we create and the places
The post Why are clinical trials struggling with diversity?…



In the diverse world we live in, the products we produce, the services we create and the places we work should be as equally representative. In recent years this has seen diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) become a big focus for industries to get right.

Within pharma and healthcare, where greater representation has been proven to lead to better health outcomes for all patients and the pharmaceutical companies developing medicines, change is also happening.

Fair and timely access to efficacious medicine is one of the vital tenets of the healthcare industry and is a critical building block of the sector’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) objectives. But historically there are groups that are typically neglected due to the current systems in place. Racial disparities are still commonplace in many clinical trials with white-ethnic groups often overrepresented amongst trial participants.

Factors such as ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and age can contribute to interindividual differences in treatment responses and risks of adverse events. Inadequate clinical trial representations of all populations can therefore leave underrepresented groups vulnerable due to the lack of subgroup-specific data.

While many pharma companies are actively working on initiatives to improve diversity in clinical trials, we still have a long way to go. The good news is that technology is being harnessed to promote a DEI-conscious agenda within the clinical trial space, making diversity more attainable than it ever has been.

To understand why improving diversity, mitigating bias, and reinforcing inclusion in clinical trials is such a big task, it’s important to understand the challenges currently at play.

Unpacking the status quo

Traditional Randomised Control Trials (RCTs) continue to form the backbone of clinical efficacy and safety data submitted to health authorities for regulatory review. A risk-benefit approach underpins the decision-making process to evaluate human drugs, drug/device combinations and advanced therapy medicinal products for licensing of human medicines.

It is well-established that safety and efficacy data is highly influenced by internal (intrinsic: ethnicity, sex, age, genetic background) and external (extrinsic: climate, education, access to healthcare) factors. The challenge for regulators and pharma companies is that safety and efficacy data from an RCT may not always translate to the real world ‘effectiveness’ of a medicine (how efficacious the drug is in patients once marketed) which is governed by these complex intrinsic and extrinsic factors.

To mitigate against potentially lower drug efficacy or a different drug safety profile in a wider population vs those findings evidenced in RCTs it is important for companies to include ‘patient-orientated’ outcomes (relief of symptoms) alongside traditional endpoints (blood pressure, glucose concentrations). The diversity of clinical trial patients in the context of disease prevalence is key to capturing ‘patient-orientated’ outcomes in populations. For example, with skin conditions, textbooks, studies, and trial photos often present lighter-skinned individuals’ symptoms, which are bound to differ in darker skinned individuals.

The pandemic brought imbalances into sharp focus

The race to produce a vaccine which could protect the world against COVID-19 brought the topic of diversity in clinical trials, or lack of it, into sharp focus.

Vaccines approved for public use require comprehensive RCTs to establish their safety and efficacy. The demographics of vaccine trial participants should reflect the vulnerable groups to whom infection with the disease presents the greatest risk of harm and mortality. However, this did not happen to the extent it could have during trials for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Research has shown a disproportionately higher rate of COVID-19 infection and mortality among the elderly and minority ethnic groups who are more likely to be negatively impacted by social and economic deprivation linked to pre-existing health conditions. In the UK, during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, ethnic minority groups (except for women in “Chinese” or “White Other” categories) had higher rates of death post-exposure compared with the “White British” population.

These issues are not confined to the UK; in the US, some minority groups including Black, Latino, Pacific Islander and Indigenous peoples have been shown to have twice the COVID mortality rate of Caucasian people.

Despite policies, guidelines, and regulations to promote the diversification of clinical trial groups by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and FDA, the inclusion of key demographic populations within clinical research continues to be less than proportionate to their representation in society.

Why are certain ethnic groups underrepresented?

Redressing the imbalance in trial participation is not a simple task. Throughout the pandemic, the issue of vaccine hesitancy was compounded by ethnic disparities. This is underpinned by historical mistrust in healthcare organisations, governments, and clinical research, which is still prevalent in some communities.

Factors influencing trust vary between ethnic groups. Reported experiences of discrimination, perceived structural inequalities impacting the access to and quality of healthcare, and concerns of trial under-representation are likely to influence trust issues, of which the latter is within the remit of companies to acknowledge and address with appropriate measures to effect change. Without diverse participation in clinical research there is a lack of breadth in safety and efficacy data. Certain groups of individuals may then not trust that the medicines have been produced with them in mind and may be highly sceptical of the resulting evidence base and prescribing label of medicines.

In the second half of this article, we’ll look at how technology is being used to make clinical trials more diverse and consider some of the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the authors

Tanya Chambers is an ex-MHRA (Medicine and Healthcare Regulatory Agency) Senior Assessor with over 15 years’ experience principally evaluating preclinical data packages (small molecules and biologics) accompanying clinical trial applications, EU & UK marketing authorization applications (MRP/DCP/Centralised submissions) and variations across all therapeutic areas. Most recently, Tanya led the preclinical rolling review for COVID anti-viral applications resulting in national roll-out, and was product lead for the review of a vast array of development programmes via UK innovative licensing pathways: iLAP and EAMs. In addition, Tanya has working knowledge of the collaborative review of promising oncology treatments alongside Australia (TGA), Canada (Health Canada), UK (MHRA), Singapore (HSA), Switzerland (Swissmedic) and Brazil (ANVISA): ‘Project ORBIS’.

Liam Johnstone has six years of toxicology experience working across regulators in the UK, developing expertise in medicine, consumer product and agrochemical safety whilst working at the MHRA, OPSS and HSE, respectively. As a Non-Clinical Assessor at MHRA he assessed non-clinical data packages for new and generic medicines. He has provided scientific advice to companies both nationally and as part of the Scientific Advice Working Party (SAWP) on the suitability of non-clinical data packages and study plans, as well as generating guidance for the European Medicines Agency (EMA)


The post Why are clinical trials struggling with diversity? appeared first on .

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After mass shootings like Uvalde, national gun control fails – but states often loosen gun laws

After mass shootings, politicians in Washington have failed to pass new gun control legislation, despite public pressure. But laws are being passed at…



A girl cries outside the Willie de Leon Civic Center in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, 2022. Allison Dinner/AFP via Getty Images

Calls for new gun legislation that previously failed to pass Congress are being raised again after the May 24, 2022, mass shooting at an elementary school in the small town of Uvalde, Texas.

An 18-year-old shooter killed at least 19 fourth grade students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School, marking the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. in a decade.

The U.S. has been here before – after shootings in Tucson, Aurora, Newtown, Charleston, Roseburg, San Bernardino, Orlando, Las Vegas, Parkland, El Paso, Boulder, and 12 days earlier at a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y.

Gun production and sales in the U.S. remain high, following a purchasing surge during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, the firearms industry sold about six guns for every 100 Americans.

Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut was among the Democratic politicians who pleaded for action on gun control as horrifying details of the Uvalde school shooting unfolded.

“What are we doing?” Murphy asked other lawmakers, speaking from the Senate floor on the day of the shooting. “Why are you here if not to solve a problem as existential as this?”

Congress has declined to pass significant new gun legislation after dozens of shootings, including those that occurred during periods like this one, with Democrats controlling the House of Representatives, Senate and presidency.

This response may seem puzzling given that national opinion polls reveal extensive support for several gun control policies, including expanding background checks and banning assault weapons.

In October 2021, 52% of people polled by Gallup said that they thought firearm sales laws should be made more strict.

But polls do not determine policy.

I am a professor of strategy at UCLA and have researched gun policy. With my co-authors at Harvard University, I’ve studied how gun laws change following mass shootings.

Our research on this topic finds there is legislative activity following these tragedies, but it’s at the state level.

A Democratic senator and Sandy Hook parents and teachers at a press conference in the US Capitol in 2013.
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) speaks to the media as teachers, parents and residents from Newtown, Conn. – where the Sandy Hook school massacre happened – listen after a Capitol Hill hearing on Feb. 27, 2013, on the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Restrictions loosened

Stricter gun laws at the national level are more popular among Democrats than Republicans, and major new legislation would likely need votes from at least 10 Republican senators. Many of these senators represent constituencies opposed to gun control.

Despite national polls showing majority support for an assault weapons ban, not one of the 30 states with a Republican-controlled legislature has such a policy.

U.S. Texas Senator Ted Cruz said on May 24 that more gun control laws could not have prevented the Uvalde attack, explaining “that doesn’t work, it’s not effective, it doesn’t prevent crime.”

The absence of strict control policies in Republican-controlled states shows that senators crossing party lines to support gun control would be out of step with the views of voters whose support they need to win elections.

But a lack of action from Congress doesn’t mean gun laws are stagnant after mass shootings.

To examine how policy changes, we assembled data on shootings and gun legislation in the 50 states between 1990 and 2014. Overall, we identified more than 20,000 firearm bills and nearly 3,200 enacted laws. Some of these loosened gun restrictions, others tightened them, and still others did neither or both – that is, tightened in some dimensions but loosened in others.

We then compared gun laws before and after mass shootings in states where mass shootings occurred, relative to all other states.

Contrary to the view that nothing changes, state legislatures consider 15% more firearm bills the year after a mass shooting. Deadlier shootings – which receive more media attention – have larger effects.

In fact, mass shootings have a greater influence on lawmakers than other homicides, even though they account for less than 1% of gun deaths in the United States.

As impressive as this 15% increase in gun bills may sound, gun legislation can reduce gun violence only if it becomes law. And when it comes to enacting these bills into law, our research found that mass shootings do not regularly cause lawmakers to tighten gun restrictions.

In fact, we found the opposite. Republican state legislatures pass significantly more gun laws that loosen restrictions on firearms after mass shootings.

In 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a new law that eliminated a requirement for Texans to obtain a license or receive training to carry handguns. This came two years after a 2019 mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso.

That’s not to say Democrats never tighten gun laws – there are prominent examples of Democratic-controlled states passing new legislation following mass shootings.

California, for example, enacted several new gun laws following a 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino. Our research shows, however, that Democrats don’t tighten gun laws more than usual following mass shootings.

After the Buffalo shooting in early May 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul said that she would work to increase the age for legal gun purchasing from 18 to 21 “at a minimum.”

'Change gun laws or change Congress' reads a sign at a 2018 rally in New York City.
In August 2018, Moms Demand Action hosted a rally at New York City’s Foley Square to call upon Congress to pass gun safety laws. Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Ideology governs response

The contrasting response from Democrats and Republicans is indicative of different philosophies regarding the causes of gun violence and the best ways to reduce deaths.

While Democrats tend to view social factors as contributing to violence, Republicans are more likely to blame the individual shooters.

Cruz, for example, has said that stopping individuals with criminal records from committing violence could help prevent mass shootings.

Politicians favoring looser restrictions on guns following mass shootings frequently argue that more people carrying guns would allow law-abiding citizens to stop perpetrators.

In fact, gun sales often surge after mass shootings, in part because people fear being victimized.

Democrats, in contrast, typically focus more on trying to solve policy and societal problems that contribute to gun violence.

For both sides, mass shootings are an opportunity to propose bills consistent with their ideology.

Since we wrote our study of gun legislation following mass shootings, which covered the period through 2014, several additional tragedies have energized the gun control movement that emerged following the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. These include the May 2022 shooting at the Tops grocery store in Buffalo, as well as the Uvalde school massacre.

While President Joe Biden issued executive orders in 2021 with the goal of reducing gun violence, action in Congress remains elusive. States, meanwhile, have been more active on the issue.

Student activism following the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, did not result in congressional action but led several states to pass new gun control laws.

With more funding and better organization, this new movement is better positioned than prior gun control movements to advocate for stricter gun policies following mass shootings. Public outcry and devastation over the Uvalde shootings will likely provide fuel to this advocacy work.

But with states historically more active than Congress on the issue of guns, both advocates and opponents of new restrictions should look beyond Washington for action on gun policy.

This is an updated version of an article originally published on March 21, 2021.

Christopher Poliquin does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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