Using cross-sectional time-series data for U.S. counties from 1974 to 2000, we find that allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons deters violent crimes and it appears to produce no increase in accidental deaths. If those states which did not have right-to-carry concealed gun provisions had adopted them in 2000, approximately 1,570 murders; 4,177 rapes; and over 60,000 aggravate assaults would have been avoided yearly. On the other hand, consistent with the notion of criminals responding to incentives, we find criminals substituting into property crimes involving stealth and where the probabilities of contact between the criminal and the victim are minimal. The largest population counties where the deterrence effect on violent crimes is greatest are where the substitution effect into property crimes is highest. Concealed handguns also have their greatest deterrent effect in the highest crime counties. Higher arrest and conviction rates consistently and dramatically reduce the crime rate. Consistent with other recent work (Lott, 1992b), the results imply that increasing the arrest rate, independent of the probability of eventual conviction, imposes a significant penalty on criminals. The estimated annual gain from allowing concealed handguns is at least $6.214 billion.
Table of Content
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION1
Purpose of study3
Significance of study4
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW5
Ways of Handling Problems8
CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY12
CHAPTER 4: RESULTS15
Using County Data for the United States15
Alabama, North Carolina, and South Carolina18
CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION24
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
Will allowing concealed handguns make it likely that otherwise law abiding citizens will harm each other? Or, will the threat of citizens carrying weapons primarily deter criminals? To some, the logic is fairly straightforward. Philip Cook argues that, "If you introduce a gun into a violent encounter, it increases the chance that someone will die." A large number of murders may arise from unintentional fits of rage that are quickly regretted, and simply keeping guns out of people's reach would prevent deaths. Using the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), Cook (1991, p. 56, fn. 4) further states that each year there are "only" 80,000 to 82,000 defensive uses of guns during assaults, robberies, and household burglaries. By contrast, other surveys imply that private firearms may be used in self-defense up to two and a half million times each year, with 400,000 of these defenders believing that using the gun "almost certainly" saved a life (Kleck and Gertz, 1995, pp. 153, 180, and 182-3). With total deaths from homicides and accidents equaling 19,187 in 1991 (Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1995), the Kleck and Gertz numbers, even if wrong by a very large factor, suggest that defensive gun use on net saved lives.
While cases like the 1992 incident where a student was shot on his way to a Halloween party in Louisiana make international headlines (Japan Economic Newswire, May 23, 1993 and Sharn, USA TODAY, September 9, 1993), they are rare. In another highly publicized case, a Dallas resident recently became the only Texas resident so far charged with using a permitted concealed weapon in a fatal ...