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Safe-Storage Gun Laws: Accidental Deaths, Suicides, and Crime


  • Lott, John R, Jr
  • Whitley, John E


It is frequently assumed that safe-storage gun laws reduce accidental gun deaths and total suicides, while the possible impact on crime rates is ignored. We find no support that safe-storage laws reduce either juvenile accidental gun deaths or suicides. Instead, these storage requirements appear to impair people's ability to use guns defensively. Because accidental shooters also tend to be the ones most likely to violate the new law, safestorage laws increase violent and property crimes against law-abiding citizens with no observable offsetting benefit in terms of reduced accidents or suicides. Copyright 2001 by the University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Lott, John R, Jr & Whitley, John E, 2001. "Safe-Storage Gun Laws: Accidental Deaths, Suicides, and Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(2), pages 659-689, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:44:y:2001:i:2:p:659-89

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bartley, William Alan, 1999. "Will rationing guns reduce crime?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 241-243, February.
    2. Peterson, Steven & Hoffer, George & Millner, Edward, 1995. "Are Drivers of Air-Bag-Equipped Cars More Aggressive? A Test of the Offsetting Behavior Hypothesis," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(2), pages 251-264, October.
    3. Mark Duggan, 2001. "More Guns, More Crime," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 1086-1114, October.
    4. Viscusi, W Kip, 1984. "The Lulling Effect: The Impact of Child-Resistant Packaging on Aspirin and Analgesic Ingestions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 324-327, May.
    5. Lott, John R, Jr, 1998. "The Concealed-Handgun Debate," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 221-243, January.
    6. Peltzman, Sam, 1975. "The Effects of Automobile Safety Regulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(4), pages 677-725, August.
    7. Bartley, William Alan & Cohen, Mark A, 1998. "The Effect of Concealed Weapons Laws: An Extreme Bound Analysis," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(2), pages 258-265, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anderson, D. Mark & Sabia, Joseph J., 2016. "Child Access Prevention Laws, Youth Gun Carrying, and School Shootings," IZA Discussion Papers 9830, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. H. Naci Mocan & Erdal Tekin, 2003. "Guns, Drugs and Juvenile Crime: Evidence from a Panel of Siblings and Twins," NBER Working Papers 9824, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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