Selected Publications & Commentary

Banning Assault Weapons: A Politically Popular Policy That Will Not Reduce Gun Violence by Tomislav Kovandzic and Gary Kleck (Unpublished Op-Ed)


Banning Large Capacity Magazines: A Solution to a Nonexistent Problem by Tomislav Kovandzic and Gary Kleck (Unpublished Op-Ed)


Why Gun Trafficking is a Nonprofitable Business


Estimating the Causal Effect of Gun Prevalence on Homicide Rates: A Local Average Treatment Effect Approach

This paper uses a "local average treatment effect" (LATE) framework in an attempt to disentangle the separate effects of criminal and noncriminal gun prevalence on violence rates. We first show that a number of previous studies have failed to properly address the problems of endogeneity, proxy validity, or heterogeneity in criminality. We demonstrate that the time series proxy problem is severe; previous panel data studies have used proxies that are essentially uncorrelated in time series with direct measures of gun relevance. We adopt instead a cross-section approach: we use U.S. county-level data for 1990, and we proxy gun prevalence levels by the percent of suicides committed with guns. We instrument gun levels with three plausibly exogenous instruments. In our LATE framework, the estimated impact of gun prevalence is a weighted average of a possibly negative impact of noncriminal gun prevalence on homicide and a presumed positive impact of criminal gun prevalence. We find evidence of a significant negative impact, and interpret it as primarily “local to noncriminals”, i.e., primarily determined by a negative deterrent effect of noncriminal gun prevalence. [PDF]

Right-to-Carry Concealed Handgun Laws and Violent Crime Rates

This study evaluates Florida’s 1987 RTC law, which prior research suggests plays a key role in the RTC debate. Specifically, we use panel data for 58 Florida counties from 1980 to 2000 to examine the effects on violent crime from increases in the number of people with concealed- carry permits, rather than before-after dummy and time-trend variables used in prior research. problems encountered in earlier RTC studies. We present numerous model specifications, and we find little evidence that increases in the number of citizens with concealed-handgun permits reduce or increase rates of violent crime. [PDF]

Prison Population Growth and Crime Rates

This study uses panel data for 58 Florida counties for 1980 to 2000 to reexamine the link between prison population growth and crime. Unlike previous studies, we find no evidence that increases in prison population growth covary with decreases in crime rates. [PDF]

Death Penalty and Homicide

This study revisits the "capital punishment reduces homicide" thesis using annual state panel data from 1977 to 2006. Employing well-known econometric procedures for panel data analysis, our results provide no empirical support for the argument that the existence or application of the death penalty deters prospective offenders from committing homicide. [PDF]