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Preface to the Second Edition vii Preface to the First Edition ix

One Introduction1

Two How to Test the Effects of Gun Control21

Three Gun Ownership, Gun Laws, and the Data on Crime36

Four Concealed-Handgun Laws and Crime Rates: The Empirical Evidence50

Five The Victims and the Benefits from Protection97

Six What Determines Arrest Rates and the Passage of

Concealed-Handgun Laws?117

Seven The Political and Academic Debate122

Eight Some Final Thoughts159

Nine Epilogue167

Appendixes 245 Notes 263 Bibliography 311 Index 317

Preface t othe Second Edition

The debate set off by this book was quite astonishing to me. Despite attacks early on when my paper was published in the Journal of Legal Studies, I was still rather unprepared for the publicity generated by the book in 1998. This expanded edition not only discusses the ensuing political debate and responds to the various criticisms, but also extends the data set to cover additional years. Replicating the results over additional years is important, so as to verify the original research. The new extended and broadened data set has also allowed me to study new gun laws, ranging from safe-storage provisions to one-gun-a-month purchase rules. It has also allowed me to extend my study of the Brady law and its impact to its first three years. Other extensions of the data set include entirely new city-level statistics, which made it possible to account more fully for policing policies.

Since I finished writing the first edition of this book in 1997, I have continued working on many related gun and crime issues. A new section of the book draws on continued research that I am conducting with numerous talented coauthors: William Landes on multiple-victim public shootings, John Whitley on safe-storage gun laws, and Kevin Cremin on police policies. Other work was published in the May 1998 American Economic Review under the title "Criminal Deterrence, Geographic Spillovers, and the Right to Carry Concealed Handguns," coauthored with Stephen Bronars. Also, an article of mine, "The Concealed Handgun Debate," was published in the January 1998 issue of the Journal of Legal Studies.

I am grateful for the many opportunities to present my new research in a variety of academic forums and for the many useful comments that I have received. The research on guns and crime has been presented at (a partial listing) Arizona State University, Auburn University, the University of Chicago, Claremont Graduate School, the University of Houston, the University of Illinois, the University of Kansas, the University of Miami, New York University, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Southern California, Rice University, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Texas at Dallas, the University of Virginia, the College of William and Mary, and Yeshiva University School of Law, as well as at


the "Economics of Law Enforcement" Conference at Harvard Law School, the Association of American Law Schools meetings, the American Economic Association meetings, the American Society of Criminology meetings, the Midwestern Economic Association meetings, the National Lawyers Conference, the Southern Economic Association meetings, and the Western Economic Association meetings. Other presentations have been made at such places as the Chicago Crime Commission, the Kansas Koch Crime Commission, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Heritage Foundation.

Finally, I must thank the Yale Law School, where I am a senior research scholar, for providing me with the opportunity to write the new material that has been added to the book. I must also especially thank George Priest, who made this opportunity possible. The input of my wife and sons has been extremely important, and its importance has only been exceeded by their tolerance in putting up with the long working hours required to finish this revision.

Prefacet o theFirst Edition

Does allowing people to own or carry guns deter violent crime? Or does it simply cause more citizens to harm each other? Using the most comprehensive data set on crime yet assembled, this book examines the relationship between gun laws, arrest and conviction rates, the socioeconomic and demographic compositions of counties and states, and different rates of violent crime and property crime. The efficacy of the Brady Law, concealed-handgun laws, waiting periods, and background checks is evaluated for the first time using nationwide, county-level data.

The book begins with a description of the arguments for and against gun control and of how the claims should be tested. A large portion of the existing research is critically reviewed. Several chapters then empirically examine what facts influence the crime rate and answer the questions posed above. Finally, I respond to the political and academic attacks leveled against the original version of my work, which was published in the January 1997 issue of the Journal of Legal Studies.

I would like to thank my wife, Gertrud Fremling, for patiently reading and commenting on many early drafts of this book, and my four children for sitting through more dinnertime conversations on the topics covered here than anyone should be forced to endure. David Mustard also assisted me in collecting the data for the original article, which serves as the basis for some of the discussions in chapters 4 and 5. Ongoing research with Steve Bronars and William Landes has contributed to this book. Maxim Lott provided valuable research assistance with the polling data.

For their comments on different portions of the work included in this book, I would like to thank Gary Becker, Steve Bronars, Clayton Cramer, Ed Glaeser, Hide Ichimura, Jon Karpoff, C. B. Kates, Gary Kleck, David Kopel, William Landes, Wally Mullin, Derek Neal, Dan Polsby, Robert Reed, Tom Smith, seminar participants at the University of Chicago (the Economics and Legal Organization, the Rational Choice, and Divinity School workshops), Harvard University, Yale University, Stanford University, Northwestern University, Emory University, Fordham University, Valparaiso University, the American Law

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