The Impact of Banning Juvenile Gun Possession
A 1994 federal law bans possession of handguns by persons under 18 years of age. Also in 1994, 11 states passed their own juvenile gun possession bans. Eighteen states had previously passed bans, 15 of them between 1975 and 1993. These laws were intended to reduce homicides, but arguments can be made that they have no effect on or that they even increase the homicide rate. This paper estimates the laws' impacts on various crime measures, primarily juvenile gun homicide victimizations and suicide, using a fixed-effects research design with state-level data for at least 19 years. The analysis compares impacts on gun versus nongun homicides and gun versus nongun suicides. Even with many different crime measures and regression specifications, there is scant evidence that the laws have the intended effect of reducing gun homicides. Copyright 2001 by the University of Chicago.
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