Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

Substance vs. Sideshows in the More Guns, Less Crime Debate: A Comment on Moody, Lott, and Marvell

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Our recent work affirms the basic conclusion of the 2005 National Research Council report that there is no credible statistical support for the claim that right-to-carry (RTC) gun laws reduce crime. This paper shows that whether one looks at the Lott and Mustard set of controls using county data or at our preferred set of controls on state data over the 1977-2006 period, the estimated effects of RTC laws are sensitive to the various models and data used, as well as to the choice to include or omit state trends. The strongest, albeit imperfect, statistical evidence suggests that RTC laws increase both gun-related and total aggravated assaults.

This article is a response to Did John Lott Provide Bad Data to the NRC? A Note on Aneja, Donohue, and Zhang by Carlisle E. Moody, John R. Lott, Jr., and Thomas B. Marvell (EJW, January 2013).