Would “concealed carry” have stopped Dylann Roof’s church shooting spree? - The Washington Post
by David Fortunato (University of California, Merced)
On its face, the claim that increasing the number of gun carriers would reduce crime seems logical (at least to an economist). If more people carry guns, then criminals would understand that the likelihood of their victims defending themselves with a gun is higher and would therefore be less likely to commit crime. In simple economic terms, easing concealed carry seeks to increase the cost assailants pay to commit a crime, so they choose not to, we hope.
But scientific research on the ability of concealed carry to reduce crime has yielded mixed results. A few studies suggest these policies are effective, buteven more suggest that making concealed carry easier does not reduce crime and may even increase instances of firearm injury. Why is this the case? My research (gated final, ungated draft) suggests an explanation.
The ability of concealed carry to reduce crime is dependent on almost perfect information. This is how the policy should work:
- A new law makes it easier to legally carry a concealed firearm
- More people choose to carry firearms
- Criminals observe (or infer) that more people are carrying firearms
- Criminals choose not to commit crime, because they understand that the price of crime has increased because there are more firearm carriers
But if people do not believe that there are more firearm carriers because concealed carry laws have gotten more permissive, then they do not register that the price of crime has increased, and therefore crime rates will not fall.
My article presents evidence that this second result is likely the case. I surveyed 1,000 Americans and asked them how many people they believe are carrying firearms....