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Concealed-Gun-Carrying Laws and Violent Crime: Evidence from State Panel Data


  • Jens Otto Ludwig


A recent study concludes that permissive concealed-handgun carrying (or "shall-issue") laws have sharply reduced crime rates, including the rate of homicide. Their method has been critiqued by several authors. In this paper I report a quite different approach, which exploits the minimum age requirements for concealed-carry permits to more effectively control for unobserved variables that may vary over time. Because even permissive concealed-carry states require permit holders to meet minimum age requirements, any deterrent benefits from these laws should be concentrated among adults and therefore reflected in the gap between adult and juvenile victimization rates. My results suggest that shall-issue laws have resulted, if anything, in an increase in adult homicide rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Jens Otto Ludwig, 1998. "Concealed-Gun-Carrying Laws and Violent Crime: Evidence from State Panel Data," JCPR Working Papers 31, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:31

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    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. Charles F. Manski & John V. Pepper, 2015. "How Do Right-To-Carry Laws Affect Crime Rates? Coping With Ambiguity Using Bounded-Variation Assumptions," NBER Working Papers 21701, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Helsley, Robert W. & O'Sullivan, Arthur, 2001. "Stolen Gun Control," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 436-447, November.
    4. Anderson, David A, 1999. "The Aggregate Burden of Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(2), pages 611-642, October.
    5. Mialon, Hugo M. & Wiseman, Thomas, 2005. "The impact of gun laws: A model of crime and self-defense," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 170-175, August.
    6. Durlauf, Steven N. & Navarro, Salvador & Rivers, David A., 2016. "Model uncertainty and the effect of shall-issue right-to-carry laws on crime," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 32-67.
    7. 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).
    8. Mark Duggan, 2001. "More Guns, More Crime," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 1086-1114, October.
    9. Rubin, Paul H. & Dezhbakhsh, Hashem, 2003. "The effect of concealed handgun laws on crime: beyond the dummy variables," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 199-216, June.
    10. Braakmann, Nils, 2012. "How do individuals deal with victimization and victimization risk? Longitudinal evidence from Mexico," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 335-344.
    11. Steve Cook & Duncan Watson, 2013. "Breaks and Convergence in U.S. Regional Crime Rates: Analysis of Their Presence and Implications," Social Sciences, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(3), pages 1-11, August.
    12. Marvell, Thomas B, 2001. "The Impact of Banning Juvenile Gun Possession," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(2), pages 691-713, October.
    13. Daniel Cerqueira & João Manoel Pinho de Mello, 2013. "Evaluating a National Anti-Firearm Law and Estimating the Causal Effect of Guns on Crime," Textos para discussão 607, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
    14. Gil, Ricard & Macis, Mario, 2015. ""Ain't No Rest for the Wicked": Population, Crime, and the 2013 Government Shutdown," IZA Discussion Papers 8864, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Mullin, Wallace P., 2001. "Will gun buyback programs increase the quantity of guns?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 87-102, March.
    16. Cheng Cheng & Mark Hoekstra, 2012. "Does Strengthening Self-Defense Law Deter Crime or Escalate Violence? Evidence from Castle Doctrine," NBER Working Papers 18134, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Barati, Mehdi, 2016. "New evidence on the impact of concealed carry weapon laws on crime," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 76-83.
    18. Richard S. Grossman & Stephen A. Lee, 2008. "May Issue Versus Shall Issue: Explaining The Pattern Of Concealed-Carry Handgun Laws, 1960-2001," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(2), pages 198-206, April.
    19. Philip J. Cook & Jens Ludwig, 2006. "Aiming for evidence-based gun policy," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(3), pages 691-735.
    20. Depew, Briggs & Swensen, Isaac D., 2016. "The Decision to Carry: The Effect of Crime on Concealed-Carry Applications," IZA Discussion Papers 10236, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    21. Cheng Cheng & Mark Hoekstra, 2013. "Does Strengthening Self-Defense Law Deter Crime or Escalate Violence?:Evidence from Expansions to Castle Doctrine," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(3), pages 821-854.

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