State Firearm Sales and Criminal Activity: Evidence from Firearm Background Checks

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State Firearm Sales and Criminal Activity: Evidence from Firearm Background Checks

Category: Crime, Firearm Policies|Journal: Southern Economic Association (full text)|Author: M Lang|Year: 2016

The FBI has reported the number of monthly firearm background checks in every state since November 1998. This article uses data on background checks at the state level to explore the relationship between guns and crime. The background checks capture an individual’s intention to purchase a firearm and explain 96% of the variation in gun manufacturing at a national level. Fixed effect negative binomial regressions show a positive, but insignificant, relationship between background checks and violent crimes. Property crimes are negatively related to background checks and statistically significant at the 10% level. The results suggest that gun control policies should be coupled with other initiatives if policy makers intend to reduce gun-related crime.

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