Smoking Gun? Linking Gun Ownership to Neighborhood Crime

63 Pages Posted: 19 May 2020 Last revised: 29 Jun 2022

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

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

Billings, Stephen B., Smoking Gun? Linking Gun Ownership to Neighborhood Crime (May 31, 2022). 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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