But so far, his team has struggled to find any causal association. In July, he and Schleimer co-authored a paper that sought to investigate what effect, if any, the pandemic sales boom had on violent crime. It found no relationship. Instead, they concluded that unemployment, economic disparity and physical distancing exacerbated by the pandemic were far more potent predictors of increased violence. The findings square with theories from researchers, violence prevention activists and former perpetrators about the root causes of gun violence.
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