Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

More Gun Carrying, More Violent Crime


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Carlisle Moody and Thomas Marvell (2018) have offered a number of criticisms of some older work on the impact of RTC laws on crime, while ignoring the recent literature that has found a strong connection between such laws and violent crime and/or murder (Siegel et al. 2017; Donohue 2017; Donohue, Aneja, and Weber 2018; Cook and Donohue 2017), which even includes work by their own former co-author Paul Zimmerman (2014). Their criticisms include preposterous claims such as that the crack epidemic “has had no effect on murder” and that the statistically significant finding that RTC laws increase the murder rate in the post-crack period should be disregarded because the analysis over a shorter period lacks the power to discern an effect (since it clearly did discern an effect). They also attempt to undermine the showing that RTC laws increase murder by providing an alternative calculation of the standard error that reduces the p-value to .056, without appearing to realize that this would still be strong evidence that RTC laws are harmful. Finally, they raise the challenging econometric question of whether state-specific trends should be included in panel data models, but a synthetic controls analysis would be a better approach and it strongly confirms that RTC laws increase violent crime (Donohue, Aneja, and Weber 2018).

This article is a response to The Impact of Right-to-Carry Laws: A Critique of the 2014 Version of Aneja, Donohue, and Zhang by Carlisle E. Moody and Thomas B. Marvell (EJW, January 2018).