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Do U.S. State Firearms Laws Affect Firearms Manufacturing Location?


  • Jurgen Brauer
  • Daniel Montolio
  • Elisa Trujillo


In addition to federal firearms legislation applicable to all firearms manufacturers operating in the United States, each of the 50 U.S. states has its own state, and sometimes additional municipal, firearms laws. Conceivably, the relative strictness or laxity of these laws influences location decisions by firearms manufacturers. We use diverse data sets covering the period 1986 to 2010 to exploit variations in state firearms laws to study the manufacturing location of well over 2,700 federally licensed firearms manufacturers. We find that state laws do matter for location but so do other variables. In a way, our findings are reassuring. The firearm industry is just another industry in that it responds to economic incentives and disincentives, of which relevant state laws are an example: They play but an incremental role at the decision-making margin.

Suggested Citation

  • Jurgen Brauer & Daniel Montolio & Elisa Trujillo, 2014. "Do U.S. State Firearms Laws Affect Firearms Manufacturing Location?," SADO - Working Papers 20, Small Arms Data Observatory.
  • Handle: RePEc:arm:wpaper:20

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rosenberg, Nathan, 1963. "Technological Change in the Machine Tool Industry, 1840–1910," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 23(4), pages 414-443, December.
    2. Topher L. McDougal & David A. Shirk & Robert Muggah & John H. Patterson, 2015. "The Way of the Gun: Estimating Firearms Trafficking across the US–Mexico Border," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(2), pages 297-327.
    3. Brian Knight, 2013. "State Gun Policy and Cross-State Externalities: Evidence from Crime Gun Tracing," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 200-229, November.
    4. Jeffrey DeSimone & Sara Markowitz, 2013. "Child Access Prevention Laws and Nonfatal Gun," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 5-25, July.
    5. Steven P. Lanza, 2013. "Targeting Gun Violence: Can We Reduce Gun Deaths and Lot Lose Jobs?," The Connecticut Economy, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, issue Summer.
    6. Leo H. Kahane, 2013. "Understanding The Interstate Export Of Crime Guns: A Gravity Model Approach," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(3), pages 618-634, July.
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    More about this item


    United States; federal firearms laws; state firearms laws; firearms manufacturing; location analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • K23 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Regulated Industries and Administrative Law
    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
    • L52 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Industrial Policy; Sectoral Planning Methods
    • L64 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Other Machinery; Business Equipment; Armaments
    • H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects

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