The Impact of the Repeal of Missouri’s Handgun Permit Law on Homicide: Comment on Webster et al. (2014)
29 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2017 Last revised: 22 May 2020
Date Written: December 1, 2017
Daniel Webster and his colleagues (2014) tried to estimate the effect of Missouri (MO) repealing its handgun permit-to-purchase (PTP) law in 2007, using an unsuitable research design, misspecified statistical models, and a biased sample of states. They also examined simple trends in homicide rates in MO and in comparison states. They concluded that the repeal caused an immediate (and astounding) increase of 25% in the firearm homicide rate. They attributed this result at least partially to increased “illegal gun diversion” (a term they never defined). Their results cannot be relied upon to indicate whether the repeal actually caused any homicide increase, or increased movement of guns into criminals’ possession. This comment explains why.
Keywords: gun control, permit-to-purchase
JEL Classification: K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation