Do Right-to-Carry Concealed Weapons Laws Still Reduce Crime?

Academia Letters, February 2022

6 Pages Posted: 24 May 2021 Last revised: 7 Mar 2022

See all articles by Carlisle E. Moody

Carlisle E. Moody

College of William and Mary - Department of Economics; Crime Prevention Research Center

John R. Lott

Crime Prevention Research Center

Date Written: May 20, 2021


A review of the literature studying the effect of right-to-carry laws shows that the weight of evidence indicates that such laws reduced violent crime. However, more recent studies, using more recent data, tend to find that these laws cause increases in various kinds of violent crime, raising the possibility that circumstances have changed since 2000, causing these laws to become detrimental. We suggest that these recent studies, which do not use all the available data, are seriously compromised because they compare states that only recently have adopted right-to-carry laws with states that have had these laws for many years, instead of comparing against states with more restrictive laws. Early adopting states experienced relatively large reductions in crime corresponding to large increases in the number of right-to-carry permits. Late adopting states passed rules making it difficult to obtain permits and exercise the right to carry concealed weapons. Ignoring the fact that these late adopting states with stricter rules on obtaining permits issue relatively few permits can produce perverse results where coefficients imply an increase in crime even though the opposite is true. We demonstrate this effect with a simple statistical test.

Academia Letters, February 2022

Keywords: gun laws, conceal-carry, right-to-carry, shall-issue, may-issue, crime

JEL Classification: K42

Suggested Citation

Moody, Carlisle E. and Lott, John R., Do Right-to-Carry Concealed Weapons Laws Still Reduce Crime? (May 20, 2021). Academia Letters, February 2022, Available at SSRN: or

Carlisle E. Moody (Contact Author)

College of William and Mary - Department of Economics ( email )

Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795
United States
757-221-2373 (Phone)
757-221-1175 (Fax)

Crime Prevention Research Center ( email )

Missoula, MT
United States

John R. Lott

Crime Prevention Research Center ( email )

PO Box 2293
1100 W Kent Ave
Missoula, MT 59801
United States

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