Were there more guns?

Lott's main analysis was of a data set of crime, arrest, income and demographics for each county in the US for the period 1977 to 1992. During that period, several states passed ``right-to-carry'' laws that made it easier for citizens to obtain permits to carry a concealed weapon. He performed a multivariate regression and concluded that the laws had caused an 8% reduction in murder, a 5% reduction in rape, and a 7% reduction in aggravated assault. He argues that criminals were deterred from committing crimes by the additional risk they faced in facing permit holders carrying concealed weapons. The ``more guns'' in the title of Lott's book mostly refers to more guns being carried in public by permit holders.

However, as the next sections will show, it does not seem that these laws caused there to be significantly more guns, whether you use Lott's meaning for ``more guns'', or some other one.


Tim Lambert