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Crime, Deterrence, and Right‐to‐Carry Concealed Handguns

John R. Lott, Jr. and David B. Mustard
The Journal of Legal Studies
Vol. 26, No. 1 (January 1997), pp. 1-68
DOI: 10.1086/467988
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/467988
Page Count: 68
Subjects: Law Economics Business
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Crime, Deterrence, and Right‐to‐Carry Concealed Handguns
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Abstract

Abstract Using cross‐sectional time‐series data for U.S. counties from 1977 to 1992, we find that allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons deters violent crimes, without increasing accidental deaths. If those states without right‐to‐carry concealed gun provisions had adopted them in 1992, county‐ and state‐level data indicate that approximately 1,500 murders would have been avoided yearly. Similarly, we predict that rapes would have declined by over 4,000, robbery by over 11,000, and aggravated assaults by over 60,000. We also find criminals substituting into property crimes involving stealth, where the probability of contact between the criminal and the victim is minimal. Further, higher arrest and conviction rates consistently reduce crime. The estimated annual gain from all remaining states adopting these laws was at least $5.74 billion in 1992. The annual social benefit from an additional concealed handgun permit is as high as $5,000.