No Smoking Gun: The Brady Act, Medical Cannabis, and Violent Gun Crime

21 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2023

See all articles by Cameron Ellis

Cameron Ellis

University of Iowa - Department of Finance

J. Bradley Karl

Florida State University

Rhet A. Smith

University of Texas at El Paso - College of Business Administration

Date Written: October 30, 2023

Abstract

Under the federal regulations of the Brady Act, individuals using medical cannabis are prohibited from legally purchasing firearms. However, 36 states permit medical cannabis use, compelling individuals to choose between legally possessing cannabis or guns, but not both. This backdoor ban allows us to utilize the differential timing of cannabis legalization to identify the impact of gun purchase restrictions on gun crime. Using difference-in-differences and triple difference-in-difference models on FBI Uniform Crime Reports data, we find medical cannabis reduces assaults and robberies with firearms by 5\%, relative to knife crimes. We find no impact on knife crimes alone, suggesting substitution away from crime instead of towards other weapons. Further analysis shows the effect is concentrated near cannabis dispensaries, supporting our mechanism.

Keywords: Gun Safety, Gun Control, Medical Cannabis, Dispensaries, Violent Crime, Substance Use

JEL Classification: K42, K14, K23, I18, P37

Suggested Citation

Ellis, Cameron and Karl, J. Bradley and Smith, Rhet, No Smoking Gun: The Brady Act, Medical Cannabis, and Violent Gun Crime (October 30, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4617701 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4617701

Cameron Ellis (Contact Author)

University of Iowa - Department of Finance ( email )

Iowa City, IA 52242-1000
United States

J. Bradley Karl

Florida State University ( email )

College of Business
Tallahassee, FL 32306
United States

Rhet Smith

University of Texas at El Paso - College of Business Administration ( email )

University Library - Acquisitions Department
500 West University Avenue
El Paso, TX 79968
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/view/rhetsmith/

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