IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Greater US Gun Ownership, Lethality and Murder Rates: Analysis and Policy Proposals


  • Schiff, Maurice


This paper examines the US gun-related murder (GM) rate and places it in an international perspective. The data show that the US GM rate is 27 times the average rate for 22 other developed countries (ODC). Its gun ownership rate is 5.4 times that of ODC and the murder rate per gun is 5 times that of ODC. Thus, as is done in the paper, an effective reduction of the US GM rate requires an analysis of both the high gun ownership rate and the high murder rate per gun. The paper examines about fifteen gun-policy reforms – including their impact, cost, structure for maximum benefit – and other reforms affecting the GM rate. It also looks at the GM impact of immigration and of programs that provide alternative life pursuits for young men at risk. It further presents a number of policy implications and some new proposals designed to reduce the GM rate. Four appendices provide 1) results from two recent opinion polls on gun-policy reforms, 2) a detailed analysis of the relationship between gun ownership and the GM rate, 3) calculations of gun buyback costs, and 4) a correction of existing results on the Brady Bill’s impact on gun ownership.

Suggested Citation

  • Schiff, Maurice, 2019. "Greater US Gun Ownership, Lethality and Murder Rates: Analysis and Policy Proposals," GLO Discussion Paper Series 421, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:421

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ludwig, Jens, 1998. "Concealed-gun-carrying laws and violent crime: evidence from state panel data," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 239-254, September.
    2. Maurice Schiff, 2017. "Habit, prisoner's dilemma and Americans’ welfare cost of working much more than Europeans," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(9), pages 1708-1717, September.
    3. Hines, Annie Laurie & Peri, Giovanni, 2019. "Immigrants' Deportations, Local Crime and Police Effectiveness," IZA Discussion Papers 12413, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Ackermann, Nicole & Goodman, Melody S. & Gilbert, Keon & Arroyo-Johnson, Cassandra & Pagano, Marcello, 2015. "Race, law, and health: Examination of ‘Stand Your Ground’ and defendant convictions in Florida," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 194-201.
    5. Rudolph, K.E. & Stuart, E.A. & Vernick, J.S. & Webster, D.W., 2015. "Association between Connecticut's permit-to-purchase handgun law and homicides," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 105(8), pages 49-54.
    6. 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.
    7. Aaron Chalfin, 2015. "The Long-Run Effect of Mexican Immigration on Crime in US Cities: Evidence from Variation in Mexican Fertility Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 220-225, May.
    8. Vernick, J.S. & Rutkow, L. & Salmon, D.A., 2007. "Availability of litigation as a public health tool for firearm injury prevention: Comparison of guns, vaccines, and motor vehicles," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 97(11), pages 1991-1997.
    9. Kleck, Gary, 2015. "The Impact of Gun Ownership Rates on Crime Rates: A Methodological Review of the Evidence," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 40-48.
    10. Chandler McClellan & Erdal Tekin, 2017. "Stand Your Ground Laws, Homicides, and Injuries," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 52(3), pages 621-653.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Matthew Lang, 2016. "State Firearm Sales and Criminal Activity: Evidence from Firearm Background Checks," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 83(1), pages 45-68, July.
    2. Abdul Munasib & Genti Kostandini & Jeffrey L. Jordan, 2018. "Impact of the Stand Your Ground law on gun deaths: evidence of a rural urban dichotomy," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 527-554, June.
    3. Mark Anderson, D. & Sabia, Joseph J. & Tekin, Erdal, 2021. "Child access prevention laws and juvenile firearm-related homicides," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C).
    4. Daniel Cerqueira & Danilo Coelho & Marcelo Fernandes & Jony Pinto Junior, 2018. "Guns and Suicides," The American Statistician, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 72(3), pages 289-294, July.
    5. Anderson, D. Mark & Sabia, Joseph J., 2016. "Child Access Prevention Laws, Youth Gun Carrying, and School Shootings," IZA Discussion Papers 9830, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    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. Steven D. Levitt, 2004. "Understanding Why Crime Fell in the 1990s: Four Factors that Explain the Decline and Six that Do Not," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 163-190, Winter.
    8. Kayaoglu, Aysegul, 2022. "Do refugees cause crime?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 154(C).
    9. 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.
    10. Gabriel Costeira Machado & Cristiano Aguiar De Oliveira, 2018. "The Deterrent Effects Of Brazillian Child Labor Law," Anais do XLIV Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 44th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 237, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    11. Matti Viren, 2012. "Gun Laws and Crime: An Empirical Assessment," Discussion Papers 78, Aboa Centre for Economics.
    12. 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.
    13. Briggs Depew & Isaac D. Swensen, 2019. "The Decision to Carry: The Effect of Crime on Concealed-Carry Applications," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 54(4), pages 1121-1153.
    14. Badi H. Baltagi & Pallab K. Ghosh, 2019. "Partial Distributional Policy Effects Under Endogeneity," Sankhya B: The Indian Journal of Statistics, Springer;Indian Statistical Institute, vol. 81(1), pages 123-145, September.
    15. Ted Joyce, 2001. "Did Legalized Abortion Lower Crime?," NBER Working Papers 8319, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. 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.
    17. Gius, Mark, 2019. "Using the synthetic control method to determine the effects of concealed carry laws on state-level murder rates," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 1-11.
    18. Joshi, Swarup, 2022. "How effective are Governor's party affiliated campaign promises on crime? Evidence from U.S. states," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 113(C).
    19. Pallab K. Ghosh & Gary A. Hoover & Zexuan Liu, 2020. "Do State Minimum Wages Affect the Incarceration Rate?," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 86(3), pages 845-872, January.
    20. 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.

    More about this item


    US vs. Other developed countries; gun-related murder rate; gun-ownership rate; murder rate per gun; gun policy reforms; new policy proposals;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:421. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.