How can the government better regulate gun control laws in the US to prevent mass shootings and gun violence?

Hello! I am talking about gun control in the United Satates, and I will be using game theory knowledge to help find what is the best way for government to prevent mass shootings and reduce gun violences. 

Video Introduction

Why I chose this topic and a for-now response.

What Do You Need To Know 

“When a country with less than five percent of the world’s population has nearly half of the world’s privately owned guns and makes up nearly a third of the world’s mass shootings, it’s time to stop saying guns make us safer.”
― DaShanne Stokes

Americans own about 265 million guns, with more than one gun per adult and an average of nine out of every 10 days being a shooting day. According to data released by the U.S. Gun Violence Archive website, there were 57,103 gun-related cases in the U.S. in all of 2018, resulting in 14,717 deaths and 28,172 injuries, including 3502 deaths and injuries to minors.


 These numbers are staggering, now a majority of Americans says that the government should have stricter gun laws to lower the mortality rate and gun deaths, some peopl also argue that havinga a stricter gun ownership law can help reduce mass shootings. Overall, the government needs to implement a better, more effective law and system to improve the system and reduce mass shootings and gun violence in America. For more data on mass shootings and gun violences in US, you can check out this website:

Description: “The debate over gun control often focuses on the United States, in part because the U.S. has more guns per capita than any country in the world. But what can other countries teach us about gun policy and whether gun laws actually work? Jeff Semple explains. “

A Game Theory Solution

In my game theory model, I will talk about two specific laws and the best ways to implement them: Strict background check and ban assault weapons. 

Players in this game:

Criminal and Government (Gun control laws)

Strategies for Criminals:

  • A: Buy guns from black market.
  • B: using “straw purchase”: The channel through which buyers actually purchase firearms on behalf of others.

Strategies for Government:

  • A: Strict Background checks on suppliers that didn’t conduct a check and own guns.
  • B: Ban assault weapons that causes mass shootings.
  • C: Implement Both laws.

This game is non-zero sum because for each outcome the payoff to one player does not necessarily equal the payoff to the other. and some strategies for players work more effectively, but the other strategy can still have some influence on the outcome.

Game Matrix

2×3 matrix


AA: the government do background checks and criminals buy guns through the black market, although this helps reduce the flow of guns, this has a smaller impact on black markets.

BA: The government do background checks and criminals obtain guns through straw purchase, this helps reduce the number of weapons sold from legal suppliers and a background check helps by eliminating potential gun suppliers.

AB: The government ban assault weapons and criminals buy through black markets, this can help by reducing mass killings.

BB: The government ban assault weapons, and the criminal buys from legal suppliers. The number of assault weapons would go down.

AC: The criminal buys guns from the black market while the government implements both laws, this will ban assault weapons and that causes mass shootings while the chance that he buys from the supplier will be smaller due to a stricter background check.

BC: The criminal buys guns using straw purchases from legal suppliers because the government implements both laws, it is harder to buy weapons from them.

Ordinal Rankings

Preferences for the government

The government prefers to implement both laws while the criminal buys guns from the black market, secondly, it prefers to background checks to regulate gun control and keep criminals from buying weapons
from legal suppliers. The government likes to do a background check
that is against criminals that buys from legal suppliers. The government likes it less when it implements assault weapons ban while the criminal gets illegal weapons from straw purchasing. Banning assault weapons have less effect on criminals that buy from legal suppliers because they can still get weapons from majority of suppliers. It is the worst when government ban assault weapons but criminals buy through black markets.

Preferences for the criminal

Criminals will benefit when they can buy guns from
legal suppliers while the government conduct background checks and they can still buy some weapons from black markets. The criminals that buy through black markets can get weapons and turn them into an assault weapon, while the government has little control over it. The criminals can buy through black market while government implement both laws.  Criminals are less likely to benefit when straw purchasing while government bans assault weapons. Criminals are less likely to benefit from buying from legal suppliers when more people conduct background checks. Criminals do not prefer when most legal suppliers are conducted with background check and ban assault weapons so that they have fewer suppliers and assault rifles.


The Nash Equilibrium solution

In this game, I solve using the method: Nash equilibrium: The (pure or mixed) strategy for which one’s opponent cannot improve their expected value by changing strategies. The saddle point of this game is AC, which is when the criminal buys guns from the black market while the government implements both laws, this will ban assault weapons and that causes mass shootings to reduce mass shooting because most mass shootings occur with assault rifles like the AR-15, also the chance that a criminal buys from the supplier will be smaller due to a stricter background check. 

What you can do (Raise Awareness and Promote Gun Safety In Local Communities)

  1. Start by from the community in where you live, raise awareness in the community and create a safe community by looking out for some people with mental illnesses and possible risk of harming others or self.
  2. Talk to officials or participate in local demonstrations to raise public awareness about gun control, require comprehensive background checks on gun dealers and buyers, and ban assault weapons that causes mass shootings to lower the number of gun deaths in the US.
  3. If possible, help by donating to gun control groups that also promote gun safety and takes action. Groups like Everytown and Brady Campaign are taking actions and helping raise awareness.

Finally, there are always more ways to help! If everyone takes action in creating a safer environment by asking for stricter gun control laws, it will work, and don’t forget to give feedback in the comment section below. Here is my cited page and thank you for watching.

Share this project
  1. April 23, 2020 by Jolie Joseph

    William! You did such a wonderful job and spoke confidently. I’m proud of your work and would love to hear and lean more about game theory. Congratulations on a job well done!

  2. April 25, 2020 by Mr. Clarke

    I am so impressed by your video articulation, compilation of resources, and especially your explication of the Nash equilibrium! Great work!
    Mr. Clarke

  3. April 25, 2020 by Camille

    Hi William! I am so impressed to see how the final project turned out! It looks great! I can tell you have taken feedback into account. This topic is super relevant and you have shown how very clearly. Your game is well presented and described and easy to follow. I think your game is really interesting taking into account the criminals options given gun control measures. Overall, terrific job on this William!

  4. April 26, 2020 by Ashlin Carlisle

    Great job on this project! You looked at so many different solutions and were able to apply game theory to solve which solution would work best. The topic that you chose to address is very important so it was nice to see some solutions that could potentially be applied.

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