The interaction between potential criminals' and victims' demands for guns
I develop a model with endogenous gun ownership and study the interaction between the demands for guns by heterogeneous potential offenders and victims. I show that the interaction depends on pervasiveness of guns, injury probabilities and, in particular, the impact of the gun on the probability of success against armed relative to unarmed adversaries. While the sanction on armed offense is maximal under plausible conditions, the sanction on unarmed offense balances direct deterrence benefits against marginal deterrence costs and corresponding net property losses. Optimal gun control policy disarms all offenders but allows the attractive potential victims to own guns. The paper also discusses the effects of enforcement and price controls on the demands for guns and welfare.
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