Background Checks and Murder Rates

9 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2013 Last revised: 23 Feb 2016

Date Written: 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 For states that adopted or repealed such laws after 1960 (when consistent and high quality murder rate data becomes available), an interrupted time series analysis shows that two out of eight states have statistically significant changes in murder rates. Of the six states with statistically insignificant changes in murder rates, four had higher murder rates during the background check period. This suggests that mandatory background check laws are at best unproven at reducing murder rates.

Keywords: firearms, background checks

Suggested Citation

Cramer, Clayton E., Background Checks and Murder Rates (April 11, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Clayton E. Cramer (Contact Author)

College of Western Idaho ( email )

5500 East Opportunity Drive
Nampa, ID 83687
United States

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