Researcher Perceptions of Lawful, Concealed Carry of Handguns

The vast majority of researchers who have published refereed articles in economics journals think that gun ownership makes people safer. With the exception of the effect of guns on suicide, a plurality of criminologists agrees with them, but the differences in the criminologist group are smaller and often not statistically significant. The only two answers where economists and criminologists generally agree and the results are statistically significant are that permit holder s are “much more law-abiding than the typical American” and that concealed handgun permits are more likely to decrease murders than to increase them.

There has been a dramatic change in the views of Americans generally on legal gun accessibility, with their views becoming much closer to those of academics. While we don’t have similar surveys of academics in previous years, the literature reviews have consistently pointed to similar results. It thus appear s that the views of American adults on gun ownership are approaching those of economists.

American economists feel strongest about two issues: that gun-free zones attract rather than deter criminals, and that concealed handgun permit holder s are much more law-abiding than the typical American. For criminologists, they feel strongest that permit holders are more law-abiding.

Combining the responses of economists and criminologists shows that by more than a 2:1 margin researchers view gun-free zones as a magnet for criminals and believe that permit holder s are more law-abiding than the average American. These researchers believe by about a 5:1 margin that permitted concealed handguns are more likely to reduce than increase murder rates.

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