Firearms and Lynching

36 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2020 Last revised: 2 Sep 2022

See all articles by Michael D. Makowsky

Michael D. Makowsky

Clemson University - John E. Walker Department of Economics

Patrick L. Warren

Clemson University - John E. Walker Department of Economics

Date Written: August 7, 2022

Abstract

We assess firearms as a means of Black self-defense in the Jim Crow South. We infer firearm access by race and place by measuring the fraction of suicides committed with a firearm. Corroborating anecdotal accounts and historical claims, state bans on pistols and increases in White law enforcement personnel served as mechanisms to disarm the Black community, while having no comparable effect on White firearms. The interaction of these mechanisms with changing national market prices for firearms provides us with a credible identification strategy for Black firearm access. Rates of Black lynching decreased with greater Black firearm access.

Keywords: firearms, lynching, law enforcement, Jim Crow

JEL Classification: N92, J15, K42

Suggested Citation

Makowsky, Michael D. and Warren, Patrick L., Firearms and Lynching (August 7, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3727462 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3727462

Michael D. Makowsky (Contact Author)

Clemson University - John E. Walker Department of Economics ( email )

Clemson, SC 29634
United States

HOME PAGE: http://michaelmakowsky.com

Patrick L. Warren

Clemson University - John E. Walker Department of Economics ( email )

Clemson, SC 29634
United States

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