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Gun Control after Heller: Litigating against Regulation

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  • Philip J. Cook
  • Jens Ludwig
  • Adam Samaha

Abstract

The “core right” established in D.C. vs. Heller (2008) is to keep an operable handgun in the home for self-defense purposes. If the Court extends this right to cover state and local jurisdictions, the result is likely to include the elimination of the most stringent existing regulations – such as Chicago’s handgun ban – and could also possibly ban regulations that place substantial restrictions or costs on handgun ownership. We find evidence in support of four conclusions: The effect of Heller may be to increase the prevalence of handgun ownership in jurisdictions that currently have restrictive laws; Given the best evidence on the consequences of increased prevalence of gun ownership, these jurisdictions will experience a greater burden of crime due to more lethal violence and an increased burglary rate; Nonetheless, a regime with greater scope for gun rights is not necessarily inferior – whether restrictive regulations would pass a cost benefit test may depend on whether we accept the Heller viewpoint that there is a legal entitlement to possess a handgun; In any event, the core right defined by Heller leaves room for some regulation that would reduce the negative externalities of gun ownership.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15431.

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Date of creation: Oct 2009
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Publication status: published as P.J. Cook, J. Ludwig, and A. Samaha. "Gun Control After Heller: Threats and Sideshows from a Social Welfare Perspective." UCLA Law Review 56.5 (June, 2009): 1041-1093.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15431

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References

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  1. Philip J. Cook & James A. Leitzel, 2002. ""Smart" Guns: A Technological Fix For Regulating The Secondary Market," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 20(1), pages 38-49, 01.
  2. repec:reg:wpaper:282 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Ludwig, Jens & Cook, Philip J, 2001. " The Benefits of Reducing Gun Violence: Evidence from Contingent-Valuation Survey Data," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 207-26, May.
  4. Philip J. Cook & Jens Ludwig & Sudhir A. Venkatesh & Anthony A. Braga, 2005. "Underground Gun Markets," Working Papers id:245, eSocialSciences.
  5. Lott, John R, Jr & Mustard, David B, 1997. "Crime, Deterrence, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(1), pages 1-68, January.
  6. Mark Duggan, 2000. "More Guns, More Crime," NBER Working Papers 7967, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. W. Kip Viscusi & Joseph E. Aldy, 2003. "The Value of a Statistical Life: A Critical Review of Market Estimates throughout the World," NBER Working Papers 9487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Cook, Philip J. & Ludwig, Jens, 2006. "The social costs of gun ownership," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 379-391, January.
  9. repec:reg:rpubli:282 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Cook, Philip J & Graham, Daniel A, 1977. "The Demand for Insurance and Protection: The Case of Irreplaceable Commodities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 143-56, February.
  11. Deborah Azrael & Philip J. Cook & Matthew Miller, 2001. "State and Local Prevalence of Firearms Ownership: Measurement, Structure, and Trends," NBER Working Papers 8570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Chandler B. McClellan & Erdal Tekin, 2012. "Stand Your Ground Laws, Homicides, and Injuries," NBER Working Papers 18187, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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