Impulse Purchases, Gun Ownership and Homicides: Evidence from a Firearm Demand Shock

103 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2019

See all articles by Christoph Koenig

Christoph Koenig

University of Bristol; CAGE

David Schindler

Tilburg University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2019


Do firearm purchase delay laws reduce aggregate homicide levels? Using quasi-experimental evidence from a 6-month countrywide gun demand shock starting in late 2012, we show that U.S. states with legislation preventing immediate handgun purchases experienced smaller increases in handgun sales. Our findings are hard to reconcile with entirely rational consumers, but suggest that gun buyers behave time-inconsistently. In a second step, we demonstrate that states with purchase delays also witnessed 2% lower homicide rates during the same period compared to states allowing instant handgun access. We report suggestive evidence that lower handgun sales primarily reduced impulsive assaults and domestic violence.

Keywords: guns, murder, Sandy Hook, gun control, impulsiveness

JEL Classification: K420, H760, H100, K140

Suggested Citation

Koenig, Christoph and Schindler, David, Impulse Purchases, Gun Ownership and Homicides: Evidence from a Firearm Demand Shock (2019). CESifo Working Paper No. 7833, Available at SSRN:

Christoph Koenig (Contact Author)

University of Bristol ( email )

University of Bristol,
Senate House, Tyndall Avenue
Bristol, BS8 ITH
United Kingdom

CAGE ( email )

Premier Business Centre
47-49 Park Royal Road
London, NW10 7LQ
United Kingdom

David Schindler

Tilburg University ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE

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