The Decision to Carry: The Effect of Crime on Concealed-Carry Applications

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The Decision to Carry: The Effect of Crime on Concealed-Carry Applications

Category: Behavior, Concealed Carry, Homicide|Journal: The Journal of Human Resources (full text)|Author: B Depew, I Swensen|Year: 2019

Despite persistent debate on the role of concealed-carry legislation, decisions to legally carry concealed handguns are not well understood. Using detailed data on concealed-carry permit applications, we explore whether individuals apply for concealed-carry permits in response to crime. We find that recent homicides increase applications in areas relatively near to the incident. The effects are driven by gun-related homicides and are more pronounced for white, male, and Republican applicants. We also find suggestive evidence that applicants are more responsive when they share a demographic characteristic with the homicide victim. The results further indicate that applications after recent homicides are more likely to be renewed, consistent with persistent precautionary behaviors. Our findings provide causal evidence that crime risk influences individual decisions regarding legal gun use.

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