Gun Dealer Density and its Effect on Homicide

48 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2021 Last revised: 18 Nov 2021

See all articles by David Blake Johnson

David Blake Johnson

University of Central Missouri - Economics & Finance

Joshua J. Robinson

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Date Written: November 17, 2021

Abstract

We explore the relationship between gun prevalence and homicides in the United States from 2003–2019. Unlike previous research, which typically uses an indirect, state-level measure of gun prevalence, we use a direct measure of guns in a narrow geographic area: gun dealers. We find an increase in gun dealer density is significantly and positively associated with increased homicides in subsequent years. We compare estimates from our preferred measure, the number of dealers per 100 square miles in a local area, to those found using other gun prevalence measures. We find our preferred measure to be more consistent in magnitude across three different estimation methods and two different data sources. We additionally show the effect of gun dealer density is limited mostly to counties that have a high percent of Black residents. We propose that the so-called “Ferguson Effect”—a sharp increase in violent crime in urban and Black communities after 2014—might be partially explained by an influx of gun dealers in and near Black communities, rather than just a change in the propensity of Black residents to call the police or changes in police behavior.

Keywords: guns, firearms, homicide, crime

JEL Classification: I10

Suggested Citation

Johnson, David Blake and Robinson, Joshua J., Gun Dealer Density and its Effect on Homicide (November 17, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3867782 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3867782

David Blake Johnson (Contact Author)

University of Central Missouri - Economics & Finance ( email )

United States

Joshua J. Robinson

University of Alabama at Birmingham ( email )

BEC 209-A
1720 2nd Ave S
Birmingham, AL 35294
United States
205-975-1987 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.business.uab.edu/joshrobinson/

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