Smoking Gun? Linking Gun Ownership to Crime Victimization

47 Pages Posted: 5 May 2022 Last revised: 21 May 2023

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 6, 2023


Using linked individual data on concealed handgun permits (CHP), reported crimes and arrests, I examine the dynamics of gun-ownership and criminal victimization. I initially show that being male, Republican, older, born in-state and a recent crime victim increases the probability that an adult obtains a CHP. Getting a CHP increases property crime victimization by 46% with the largest impact on having a firearm stolen. Individual CHP holders see no change in violent crime victimization thus dispelling any benefits in terms of protection. Obtaining a CHP has a small (2%) effect on total crime and a larger effect on violent crime using a gun (8%) within the CHP holders neighborhood. Results suggest stolen guns spillover to neighborhood crime which is an important component of the larger social costs of gun ownership.

Keywords: Neighborhood Crime, Victimization, Gun Ownership

Suggested Citation

Billings, Stephen B., Smoking Gun? Linking Gun Ownership to Crime Victimization (January 6, 2023). 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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