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Substance vs. Sideshows in the More Guns, Less Crime Debate: A Comment on Moody, Lott, and Marvell


  • Abhay Aneja
  • John J. Donohue
  • Alexandria Zhang


Our recent work affirms the basic conclusion of the 2005 National Research Council report that there is no credible statistical support for the claim that right-to-carry (RTC) gun laws reduce crime. This paper shows that whether one looks at the Lott and Mustard set of controls using county data or at our preferred set of controls on state data over the 1977-2006 period, the estimated effects of RTC laws are sensitive to the various models and data used, as well as to the choice to include or omit state trends. The strongest, albeit imperfect, statistical evidence suggests that RTC laws increase both gun-related and total aggravated assaults.

Suggested Citation

  • Abhay Aneja & John J. Donohue & Alexandria Zhang, 2013. "Substance vs. Sideshows in the More Guns, Less Crime Debate: A Comment on Moody, Lott, and Marvell," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 10(1), pages 32-39, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:10:y:2013:i:1:p:32-39

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Abhay Aneja & John J. Donohue III & Alexandria Zhang, 2012. "The Impact of Right to Carry Laws and the NRC Report: The Latest Lessons for the Empirical Evaluation of Law and Policy," NBER Working Papers 18294, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    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. 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.
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    More about this item


    Guns; crime; shall-issue; right-to-carry; NRC;

    JEL classification:

    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law


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