CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Donohue et al. on Right-to-Carry Laws and Violent Crime

John J. DonohueAbhay Aneja and Kyle Weber (Stanford Law School, Stanford University and Columbia Business School - Economics Department) have posted Right‐To‐Carry Laws and Violent Crime: A Comprehensive Assessment Using Panel Data and a State‐Level Synthetic Control Analysis (Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Vol. 16, Issue 2, pp. 198-247, 2019) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
This article uses more complete state panel data (through 2014) and new statistical techniques to estimate the impact on violent crime when states adopt right‐to‐carry (RTC) concealed handgun laws. Our preferred panel data regression specification, unlike the statistical model of Lott and Mustard that had previously been offered as evidence of crime‐reducing RTC laws, both satisfies the parallel trends assumption and generates statistically significant estimates showing RTC laws increase overall violent crime. Our synthetic control approach also finds that RTC laws are associated with 13–15 percent higher aggregate violent crime rates 10 years after adoption. Using a consensus estimate of the elasticity of crime with respect to incarceration of 0.15, the average RTC state would need to roughly double its prison population to offset the increase in violent crime caused by RTC adoption.

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