TABLE 6-7 Trend Model with Varying Postlaw Change Durations




Violent Crime



1. Baseline comm estimateb from row 1 of Table 6-6 SE









2. 6 years SE









3. 5 years SE









4. 4 years SE









aThe regressions use the covariates and specification from the original Lott and Mustard (1997) models that do not control for state poverty, unemployment, death penalty execution rates, or regional time trends. The controls include the arrest rate for the crime category in question (AOVIOICP), population density in the county, real per capita income variables (RPCPI RPCUI RPCIM RPCRPO), county population (POPC), and variables for the percentage of the population that is in each of many race × age × gender categories (e.g., PBM1019 is the percentage of the population that is black, male, and between ages 10 and 19).


The literature on right-to-carry laws summarized in this chapter has obtained conflicting estimates of their effects on crime. Estimation results have proven to be very sensitive to the precise specification used and time period examined. The initial model specification, when extended to new data, does not show evidence that passage of right-to-carry laws reduces crime. The estimated effects are highly sensitive to seemingly minor changes in the model specification and control variables. No link between right-to-carry laws and changes in crime is apparent in the raw data, even in the initial sample; it is only once numerous covariates are included that the negative results in the early data emerge. While the trend models show a reduction in the crime growth rate following the adoption of right-to-carry laws, these trend reductions occur long after law adoption, casting serious doubt on the proposition that the trend models estimated in the literature reflect effects of the law change. Finally, some of the point estimates are imprecise. Thus, the committee concludes that with the current evidence it is not possible to determine that there is a causal link between the passage of right-to-carry laws and crime rates.

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