Smoking Gun? Linking Gun Ownership to Neighborhood Crime

64 Pages Posted: 19 May 2020 Last revised: 16 Mar 2021

Date Written: April 29, 2020


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 estimate the impact of guns on 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 5.9% increase in neighborhood crime for each additional CHP issued with gun-related crimes suggesting a role for guns stolen and moved to the illegal gun market, and increased use of guns for violent crimes.

Keywords: Guns; Neighborhood Crime; Concealed Handgun Permits

JEL Classification: K42; R23

Suggested Citation

Billings, Stephen B., Smoking Gun? Linking Gun Ownership to Neighborhood Crime (April 29, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Stephen B. Billings (Contact Author)

University of Colorado - Boulder ( email )

Leeds School of Business
Koelbel Building
Boulder, CO US 80309
United States

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