Looking Down the Barrel of a Loaded Gun: The Effect of Mandatory Handgun Purchase Delays on Homicide and Suicide

45 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2015 Last revised: 15 Oct 2016

See all articles by Griffin Sims Edwards

Griffin Sims Edwards

University of Alabama at Birmingham - Department of Marketing, Industrial Distribution & Economics

Erik Nesson

Ball State University - Department of Economics

Joshua J. Robinson

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Fredrick E. Vars

University of Alabama - School of Law

Date Written: March 31, 2016

Abstract

The effects of policies aimed to restrict firearm ownership and usage is a heavily debated topic in modern social science research. While much of the debate has focused on right-to-carry laws, less research has focused on other policies which affect firearm ownership and use, in particular statutory delays between the purchase and delivery of a firearm. In addition to the 1994 Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which placed a mandatory five-day wait period between the purchase and delivery of a handgun, many states enacted similar policies before and after Brady’s effective years. We exploit within-state variation across time in both the existence of a purchase delay and length of the delay to examine the effect of purchase delays on firearm-related homicides and suicides. We find that the existence of a purchase delay reduces firearm related suicides by around 3 percent, with no statistical evidence of a substitution towards non-firearm suicides. We find no evidence that purchase delays are associated with statistically significant changes in homicide rates.

Keywords: gun control, suicide, Brady

JEL Classification: I18, K32

Suggested Citation

Edwards, Griffin Sims and Nesson, Erik and Robinson, Joshua J. and Vars, Fredrick E., Looking Down the Barrel of a Loaded Gun: The Effect of Mandatory Handgun Purchase Delays on Homicide and Suicide (March 31, 2016). U of Alabama Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2629397. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2629397 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2629397

Griffin Sims Edwards (Contact Author)

University of Alabama at Birmingham - Department of Marketing, Industrial Distribution & Economics ( email )

The University of Alabama at Birmingham
1720 2nd Ave South
Birmingham, AL 35294
United States

Erik Nesson

Ball State University - Department of Economics ( email )

Muncie, IN 47306-0340
United States

Joshua J. Robinson

University of Alabama at Birmingham ( email )

BEC 209-A
1720 2nd Ave S
Birmingham, AL 35294
United States
205-975-1987 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.business.uab.edu/joshrobinson/

Fredrick E. Vars

University of Alabama - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 870382
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
United States

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