Smoking Gun? Linking Gun Ownership to Neighborhood Crime
63 Pages Posted: 19 May 2020 Last revised: 1 Jun 2022
Date Written: May 31, 2022
Using linked individual data on concealed handgun permits (CHP), reported crimes and
arrests, I examine the dynamics of gun-ownership, victimization and neighborhood crime.
I initially show that new CHP holders are 68% more likely to be crime victims with the
largest increase due to having a firearm stolen. I then estimate the impact of guns on
neighborhood crime through a shift-share instrument based on spikes in gun sales after
high-profile events that impact beliefs about future gun rights and existing variation in
a neighborhood’s share of likely future gun-owners (Republicans). Results show a 5.3%
increase in neighborhood crime for the new guns associated with each additional CHP
issued. Gun-related crimes suggest a role for guns stolen and moved to the illegal gun
market as well as increased use of guns for violent crimes.
Keywords: Guns; Neighborhood Crime; Concealed Handgun Permits
JEL Classification: K42; R23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation