Did John Lott Provide Bad Data to the NRC? A Note on Aneja, Donohue, and Zhang
Econ Journal Watch, Volume 10, Number 1, January 2013
7 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2014
Date Written: November 16, 2014
In an "American Law and Economics Review" article published during 2011, Abhay Aneja, John Donohue III, and Alexandria Zhang (hereafter ADZ) examined Chapter 6 of Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review, a 2005 report from the National Research Council (hereafter NRC). The chapter examined by ADZ is concerned with the effect that right-to-carry laws have on crime. The laws are also known as shall-issue laws, and we employ that term. Shall-issue laws require authorities to issue concealed carry permits to all persons who meet certain legislated requirements. Aside from Illinois, states that have not passed shall-issue laws leave it up to the issuing authorities, typically local police or sheriff departments, to determine whether or not to grant the applicant a concealed weapons permit. Such states are known as "may-issue" states. It is usually the case that may-issue states, especially in urban cities and counties, issue very few concealed carry permits, and most of these go to celebrities, wealthy individuals, and politicians (Snyder 1997). An interesting policy question is whether shall-issue laws, which increase the number of concealed carry permits, increase or decrease crime. One theory is that criminals, knowing that some ordinary citizens may be carrying firearms and being unable to tell those who are from those who aren’t, will be more likely to forgo a violent crime for fear of being met with armed resistance. Under this theory, violent crime should go down as a result of the passage of shall-issue laws.
Keywords: right-to-carry, concealed handguns, crime, shall-issue, National Research Council
JEL Classification: K00, K14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation