UPDATE: Do Right-to-carry laws reduce violent crime?

Nov 29, 2020 | Featured, Original Research

Original Post November 2, 2014: A 2012 survey of the literature in the University of Maryland Law Review is available here.  Some of the peer-reviewed research showing that concealed carry laws reduce violent crime is listed here.  This list includes papers using US data (whether broken down at the city, county or state level), which is preferable over arbitrarily picking some small portion of the country. A later review from July 2021 is available here.

UPDATED List:

Crime, Deterrence, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns, John R. Lott, Jr. and David B. Mustard, Journal of Legal Studies, 1997

The Effect of Concealed Weapons Laws: An Extreme Bound Analysis by William Alan Bartley and Mark A Cohen, published in Economic Inquiry, April 1998 (Copy available here)

The Concealed‐Handgun Debate, John R. Lott, Jr., Journal of Legal Studies, January 1998

Criminal Deterrence, Geographic Spillovers, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns by Stephen Bronars and John R. Lott, Jr., American Economic Review, May 1998

The Impact of Gun Laws on Police Deaths by David Mustard, published in the Journal of Law and Economics, October 2001

Privately Produced General Deterrence By BRUCE L. BENSON AND BRENT D. MAST, Journal of Law and Economics, October 2001

Does the Right to Carry Concealed Handguns Deter Countable Crimes? Only a Count Analysis Can Say By FLORENZ PLASSMANN AND T. NICOLAUS TIDEMAN,  Journal of Law and Economics, October 2001

Testing for the Effects of Concealed Weapons Laws: Specification Errors and Robustness By CARLISLE E. MOODY,  Journal of Law and Economics, October 2001

Right-to-Carry Concealed Weapon Laws and Homicide in Large U.S. Counties: The Effect on Weapon Types, Victim Characteristics, and Victim-Offender Relationships By DAVID E. OLSON AND MICHAEL D. MALTZ,  Journal of Law and Economics, October 2001

Safe-Storage Gun Laws: Accidental Deaths, Suicides, and Crime By JOHN R. LOTT, JR., AND JOHN E. WHITLEY, Journal of Law and Economics, October 2001 — see Table 3 on page 679

Confirming More Guns, Less Crime by Florenz Plassmann and John Whitley, published in the Stanford Law Review, 2003

Measurement Error in County-Level UCR Data by John R. Lott, Jr. and John Whitley, published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology, June 2003, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 185-198 

Using Placebo Laws to Test “More Guns, Less Crime” by Eric Helland and Alexander Tabarrok, published in Advances in Economic Analysis and Policy, 4 (1): Article 1, 2004

Abortion and Crime: Unwanted children and out-of-wedlock births, John R. Lott, Jr and John Whitley, October 2006.– page 14, Table 2.

The Impact of Banning Juvenile Gun Possession By Thomas B. Marvell,  Journal of Law and Economics, October 2001 — page 707, fn. 29

Multiple Victim Public Shootings, Bombings, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handgun Laws: Contrasting Private and Public Law Enforcement By John R. Lott, Jr. and William Landes, published in The Bias Against Guns

More Readers of Gun Magazines, But Not More Crimes by Florenz Plassmann and John R. Lott, Jr. — many places in the text.

“More Guns, Less Crime” by John R Lott, Jr. (University of Chicago Press, 2010, 3rd edition).

“Guns, Privacy, and Crime,” Alessandro Acquisti and Catherine Tucker, NBER, January 2, 2011.

“The Debate on Shall-Issue Laws” by Carlisle e. Moody, Thomas B. Marvell, Paul R Zimmerman, and Fasil Alemante published in Review of Economics & Finance, 2014

“An examination of the effects of concealed weapons laws and assault weapons bans on state-level murder rates” by Mark Giusa published in Applied Economics Letters, Volume 21, Issue 4, 2014

“The Debate on Shall-Issue Laws” by Carlisle e. Moody and Thomas B. Marvell, published in Econ Journal Watch, volume 5, number 3, September 2008 It is also available here..

“The Debate on Shall Issue Laws, Continued” by Carlisle e. Moody and Thomas B. Marvell, published in Econ Journal Watch, Volume 6, Number 2 May 2009 

“Did John Lott Provide Bad Data to the NRC? A Note on Aneja, Donohue, and Zhang” by Carlisle e. Moody, John R Lott, Jr, and Thomas B. Marvell, published in Econ Journal Watch, Volume 10, Number 1, January 2013

“On the Choice of Control Variables in the Crime Equation” by Carlisle E. Moody and Thomas B. Marvell, Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Volume 72, Issue 5, pages 696–715, October 2010.

“The Impact of Right-to-Carry Laws: A Critique of the 2014 Version of Aneja, Donohue, and Zhang,”  Carlisle E. Moody and Thomas B. Marvell, Econ Journal Watch, January 2018: 51-66.

“Do Right to Carry Laws Increase Violent Crime? A Comment on Donohue, Aneja, and Weber,” Carlisle E. Moody and Thomas B. Marvell, Econ Journal Watch, Volume 16, Number 1, March 2019: 84-96.

“Do Right-to-Carry Concealed Weapons Laws Still Reduce Crime?” Carlisle Moody and John R. Lott, Jr., Academia Letters, February 2022.

More Guns, Less Crime: A Response to Ayres and Donohue’s 1999 book review in the American Law and Economics Review by John R. Lott, Jr.

Right-to-Carry Laws and Violent Crime Revisited: Clustering, Measurement Error, and State-by-State Break downs by John R. Lott, Jr.

A detailed discussion of the National Research Council report is available here. We have reservations for many research papers on both sides of this debate, so inclusion here doesn’t mean that we think that the estimates were done correctly, but to give you information on the number of peer-reviewed academic papers that find a benefit from right-to-carry laws.

For the data errors in the one published paper by Aneja, Donohue, and Zhang that claims to find a bad effect from right-to-carry laws on aggravated assaults see this paper (the authors published an Erratum acknowledging errors in their piece here).

In addition, Aneja, Donohue, and Zhang have retracted their original claim that the my research could not be replicated. Their argument was that Aneja, Donohue, and Zhang could not replicate the replication work done by the National Research Council that had replicated my research. In an Erratum note published in October 2012 they concede: “Subsequent to the publication of this article, members of the NRC panel demonstrated to the authors that the results in question were replicable if the authors used the data and statistical models described in Chapter 6 of the NRC (2004) report.”

UPDATED: Another recent paper by Charles D. Phillips, Obioma Nwaiwu, Szu-hsuan Lin, Rachel Edwards, Sara Imanpour, and Robert Ohsfeldt in the Journal of Criminology is discussed here.

The Siegel et al paper in the American Journal of Public Health, “Easiness of Legal Access to Concealed Firearm Permits and Homicide Rates in the United States” is discussed here.

Another unpublished paper by Donohue is discussed here and here.

For those interested in seeing our debate with Scientific American over whether some of the studies listed below should be included in our list, please see the discussion available here.
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1 Comment

  1. Robert Dugger

    This shows why those who support civilian disarmament tell their cattle not to pay attention to John Lott. Gun control is all based in lies, so those who make the truth known are a danger to their agenda. They do not have the power to silence him, yet, so they tell those they control not to listen to him.

    Under a president Biden, or worse, under the rule of a Biden/Schumer/Pelosi triad, a time could come when the liberal thought police have real police power. In a time like that, all who dare to speak truth to the lies liberalism is based in will be hunted down and silenced.

    Unless patriots organize and fight back.

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