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The Impact of Right-to-Carry Laws on Crime: An Exercise in Replication


  • Carlisle E. Moody

    () (College of William and Mary - Department of Economics, U.S.A.)

  • Thomas B. Marvell

    (Justec Research, Virginia 23185, U.S.A.)

  • Paul R. Zimmerman

    (U.S. Federal Trade Commission - Bureau of Economics, U.S.A.)

  • Fasil Alemante

    (College of William and Mary, U.S.A.)


In an article published in 2011, Aneja, Donohue and Zhang found that shall-issue or right-to-carry (RTC) concealed weapons laws have no effect on any crime except for a positive effect on assault. This paper reports a replication of their basic findings and some corresponding robustness checks, which reveal a serious omitted variable problem. Once corrected for omitted variables, the most robust result, confirmed using both county and state data, is that RTC laws significantly reduce murder. There is no robust, consistent evidence that RTC laws have any significant effect on other violent crimes, including assault. There is some weak evidence that RTC laws increase robbery and assault while decreasing rape. Given that the victim costs of murder and rape are much higher than the costs of robbery and assault, the evidence shows that RTC laws are socially beneficial.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlisle E. Moody & Thomas B. Marvell & Paul R. Zimmerman & Fasil Alemante, 2014. "The Impact of Right-to-Carry Laws on Crime: An Exercise in Replication," Review of Economics & Finance, Better Advances Press, Canada, vol. 4, pages 33-43, Feburary.
  • Handle: RePEc:bap:journl:140103

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Timothy G. Conley & Christopher R. Taber, 2011. "Inference with "Difference in Differences" with a Small Number of Policy Changes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(1), pages 113-125, February.
    2. Abhay Aneja & John J. Donohue & Alexandria Zhang, 2011. "The Impact of Right-to-Carry Laws and the NRC Report: Lessons for the Empirical Evaluation of Law and Policy," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(2), pages 565-631.
    3. Ian Ayres & John J. Donohue III, 2002. "Shooting Down the More Guns, Less Crime Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 9336, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Carlisle E. Moody & John R. Lott, Jr. & Thomas B. Marvell, 2013. "Did John Lott Provide Bad Data to the NRC? A Note on Aneja, Donohue, and Zhang," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 10(1), pages 25-31, January.
    5. 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.
    6. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
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    More about this item


    Shall issue law; Right to carry; Gun control; Crime;

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law


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