Background Checks and Murder Rates

Clayton E. Cramer

College of Western Idaho

April 11, 2013

What is the statistical evidence of the effects of state mandatory firearms background check laws on murder rates? For states that adopted or repealed such laws after 1960 (when consistent and high quality murder rate data becomes available), an interrupted time series analysis shows that five out of nine states have statistically significant changes in murder rates, with three having higher murder rates during the background check period, and two having lower murder rates. Of the four states with statistically insignificant changes in murder rates, two had higher murder rates during the background check period, and two had lower murder rates during the background check period. While not conclusive, the evidence does not clearly establish that background checks reduce murder rates; there is a stronger although hardly persuasive case, based on this data, that background checks increase murder rates.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 9

Keywords: firearms, background checks

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Date posted: April 12, 2013 ; Last revised: October 31, 2013

Suggested Citation

Cramer, Clayton E., Background Checks and Murder Rates (April 11, 2013). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2249317 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2249317

Contact Information

Clayton E. Cramer (Contact Author)
College of Western Idaho ( email )
5500 East Opportunity Drive
Nampa, ID 83687
United States
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