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Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review
bUsing the revised new data set, for the full available time period (1977-2000).
NOTES: All samples start in 1977. All estimates use the trend model. Rows 2 through 4 of this table restrict the sample to include only years falling fixed numbers of years past the law change. For example, row 2 includes all the prelaw-change years, the year of the law change (year 0), plus 5 additional years, for a total of 6 years after the prelaw-change period. SE = standard error. Standard errors are in parentheses, where * = significant at 5% and ** = significant at 1%.
It is also the committee’s view that additional analysis along the lines of the current literature is unlikely to yield results that will persuasively demonstrate a causal link between right-to-carry laws and crime rates (unless substantial numbers of states were to adopt or repeal right-to-carry laws), because of the sensitivity of the results to model specification. Furthermore, the usefulness of future crime data for studying the effects of right-to-carry laws will decrease as the time elapsed since enactment of the laws increases.
If further headway is to be made on this question, new analytical approaches and data sets will need to be used. For example, studies that more carefully analyze changes in actual gun-carrying behavior at the county or even the local level in response to these laws may have greater power in identifying the impact of such laws. Surveys of criminals or quantitative measures of criminal behavior might also shed light on the extent to which crime is affected by such laws.