Political Advertising and Guns 

August 31, 2022

In 2018, Assistant Professor Alene Kennedy-HendricksDean Colleen Barry, and her team set out to study mentions of guns in over fourteen million candidate-related television ad airings over four election cycles (2012 – 2018).  
Their research, supported by the Initiative, found that the share of candidate-related ad airings that referred to guns increased from 1 percent in the 2012 cycle to over 8 percent in the 2018 cycle. Pro–gun rights content dropped from 86 percent of these ad airings in the 2012 cycle to 45 percent in the 2018 cycle. Ads in favor of gun regulation increased over time.  

The approach taken and findings from this study can be used to better understand the role of public health issues in electoral politics.  

Their findings were published in Health Affairs in 2020. 

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