More Guns, More Unintended Consequences: The Effects of Right-to-Carry on Criminal Behavior and Policing in US Cities
We analyze a sample of 47 major US cities to illuminate the mechanisms that lead Right-to-Carry concealed handgun laws to increase crime. The altered behavior of permit holders, career criminals, and the police combine to generate 29 and 32 percent increases in firearm violent crime and firearm robbery respectively. The increasing firearm violence is facilitated by a massive 35 percent increase in gun theft (p=0.06), with further crime stimulus flowing from diminished police effectiveness, as reflected in a 13 percent decline in violent crime clearance rates (p=0.03). Any crime-inhibiting benefits from increased gun carrying are swamped by the crime-stimulating impacts.
We are grateful to Richard Sweeney as well as participants at the ETH Zürich Workshop and Lecture Series in Law and Economics and Tel Aviv University for comments on the paper. Theodora Boulouta, Ammar Inayatali, and Nicolas Peña Tenjo provided outstanding research assistance. John Donohue has at various times served as an expert witness in litigation involving firearm regulation. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.