A 2018, previously unnoticed, review of the impact of “More Guns, Less Crime”

Aug 14, 2022 | Media Coverage

José Niño has a very nice review of More Guns, Less Crime from 2018 that we hadn’t previously noticed.

Lurid images of scenes devastated by psychopathic mass shooters and crime-ridden urban centers like Chicago make us question such an assertion.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, experts argued that more guns in the hands of citizens would lead to blood on the streets, Wild West shootouts, and all sorts of mayhem.

Despite the fearmongering, numerous states went ahead and passed right-to-carry laws. These laws oblige state officials to issue concealed-carry permits to individuals who have met numerous prerequisites­, such as having a nearly spotless criminal record, no history of mental illness, and passing a firearms proficiency test (depending on the state).

Were policymakers in these states onto something?

Enter John Lott’s More Guns, Less Crime (first published in 1998, revised in 2010). An economist by trade, Lott sought to study the effects of gun policy on crime rates.

At the time Lott delved into his research, right-to-carry laws were starting to become the norm across the country. This new trend spurred Lott to analyze the impact of concealed-carry laws had on crime rates.

The result was nothing short of astonishing.

Contrary to popular belief, John Lott’s More Guns, Less Crime demonstrated how states with “shall-issue” concealed-carry laws did not see increases in crime rates. In fact, his findings even showed that these very policies played a pivotal role in reducing crime.

But what makes More Guns, Less Crime special is Lott’s uncanny ability to weave economic concepts with gun policy. . . .

José Niño, “More Guns, Less Crime?” American Institute for Economic Research, February 7, 2018

The rest of the review is available here.