More than 33,000 people in the United States die from gun-related injuries each year, making firearms the second leading cause of injury-related death. Many of these deaths could be avoided through policy—for example, Australia all but eliminated gun deaths through a series of gun control measures that included a massive gun buyback program, an assault weapons ban, and strict gun-trafficking policies. In the U.S., the current political climate would prohibit such dramatic changes. And yet, we believe there is still room for politically viable gun legislation that will save lives.
Yuval Feldman, the Mori Lazarof Professor of Legal Research at Bar-Ilan University Law School in Israel, recently published the book The Law of Good People: Challenging States’ Ability to Regulate Human Behavior. The book examines how behavioral ethics could change legal design and enforcement. I started by asking him to explain what he means by “behavioral ethics.”