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Concealed-Gun-Carrying Laws and Violent Crime: Evidence from State Panel Data

Jens Otto Ludwig

JCPR Working Papers from Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research

Abstract: A recent study concludes that permissive concealed-handgun carrying (or "shall-issue") laws have sharply reduced crime rates, including the rate of homicide. Their method has been critiqued by several authors. In this paper I report a quite different approach, which exploits the minimum age requirements for concealed-carry permits to more effectively control for unobserved variables that may vary over time. Because even permissive concealed-carry states require permit holders to meet minimum age requirements, any deterrent benefits from these laws should be concentrated among adults and therefore reflected in the gap between adult and juvenile victimization rates. My results suggest that shall-issue laws have resulted, if anything, in an increase in adult homicide rates.

Date: 1998-05-01
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