The Value of Civilian Arms Possession as a Deterrent to Crime or Defense Against Crime

55 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2017

Date Written: March 25, 1991

Abstract

This article presents evidence that affirms the utility of guns against crime. Widespread defensive gun ownership benefits society as a whole by deterring burglars from entering occupied premises and by deterring confrontation offenses altogether by an unknown proportion of criminals who might otherwise be attracted by the immediate profitability of robbery. Even when criminals are not so deterred, widespread gun ownership may frighten them sufficiently to reduce the overall number of such offenses. This evidence disposes of the claim that banning handguns produces few social benefits, though it does not undercut the case for controls tailored to denying firearms to felons, juveniles and the mentally impaired.

Keywords: guns, Second Amendment, crime, gun control, gun ownership

JEL Classification: k14

Suggested Citation

Kates, Don B., The Value of Civilian Arms Possession as a Deterrent to Crime or Defense Against Crime (March 25, 1991). American Journal of Criminal Law, 1991. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2940813

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