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Does the disclosure of gun ownership affect crime? Evidence from New York

Daniel I. Tannenbaum

Journal of Public Economics, 2020, vol. 181, issue C

Abstract: While the social costs of gun violence are high, opponents of gun restrictions argue that gun ownership deters crime and creates a positive externality by increasing unobserved risk to criminals. This paper investigates the evidence for these two deterrence channels, exploiting the sudden disclosure of all handgun permit holders' names and addresses in two New York counties. Permit holders have more crime incidents at their homes relative to non-permit holders in the baseline, which is not driven by selection into neighborhoods. I find little evidence in favor of direct deterrence, and little evidence of peer deterrence. Instead, I find that victimization is associated with a higher likelihood of future gun ownership.

JEL-codes: K42 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2019.104075

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