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The Decision to Carry: The Effect of Crime on Concealed-Carry Applications

Author

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  • Depew, Briggs

    (Utah State University)

  • Swensen, Isaac D.

    (Montana State University)

Abstract

Despite contentious debate on the role of concealed-carry legislation in the U.S., little is known about individual decisions to legally carry concealed handguns in public. Using data on concealed-carry permit applications from 1998 to 2012, we explore the degree to which individuals respond to crime by applying for permits to legally carry concealed firearms. We find that recent homicide incidents increase concealed-carry applications in areas relatively near to the event. Our main results suggest that an additional homicide in relatively small cities increases applications by 26 percent over the following two months. We also find effects in larger cities when using neighborhood-level data. Our data allow us to explore specific circumstances of crime incidents and the characteristics of responsive applicants. Our results show that gun-related homicides are particularly relevant and that whites and males are most responsive to homicide incidents. We also find evidence that individuals are more responsive to homicide incidents when they share a common characteristic with the victim, particularly for female applicants.

Suggested Citation

  • Depew, Briggs & Swensen, Isaac D., 2016. "The Decision to Carry: The Effect of Crime on Concealed-Carry Applications," IZA Discussion Papers 10236, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10236
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    Cited by:

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    concealed carry; right to carry; crime; precautionary behavior; gun control; demand for guns;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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