Is There a Relationship between Guns and Freedom? Comparative Results from 59 Nations
David B. Kopel
Independence Institute; Denver University - Sturm College of Law
Carlisle E. Moody
College of William and Mary - Department of Economics
Howard Ross Nemerov
December 23, 2008
Texas Review of Law and Politics, Vol. 13
There are 59 nations for which data about per capita gun ownership are available. This Article examines the relationship between gun density and several measures of freedom and prosperity: the Freedom House ratings of political rights and civil liberty, the Transparency International Perceived Corruption Index, the World Bank Purchasing Power Parity ratings, and the Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom. The data suggest that the relationships between gun ownership rates and these other measures are complex. The data show that (although exceptions can be found) the nations with the highest rates of gun ownership tend to have greater political and civil freedom, greater economic freedom and prosperity, and much less corruption than other nations. The relationship only exists for high-ownership countries. Countries with medium rates of gun density generally scored no better or worse than countries with the lowest levels of per capita gun ownership.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 42
Keywords: per capita gun ownership, political freedom, civil liberty, economic freedom, corruption, prosperity
JEL Classification: N40, O57, Z10, P50, A13
Date posted: February 6, 2008 ; Last revised: December 24, 2008
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