Study: Tighter Gun Laws May Drive Gun Homicides Up

Jan 6, 2014

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Quinnipiac Economics Professor Mark Gius.
Credit Quinnipiac University

In the wake of the Newtown shootings, there's been a lot of debate about whether tighter gun laws save lives. A new Quinnipiac University study says two such laws don't, and one may even cause gun deaths to rise.

Mark Gius, an economics professor at Quinnipiac, studied the effect of laws that restrict a person's ability to carry a concealed weapon. Here's what he found: "States with more restrictive concealed carry laws had higher murder rates by about ten percent," he said. 

Gius also found that state assault weapons bans had no real effect on the gun murder rate.

"The premise was, obviously, we'll get rid of concealed weapons or restrict them and that should mean that there will be fewer murders," Gius said. "I just wanted to see if [those laws] actually worked. And, interestingly, they don't."

Gius said other academic studies on the effect of concealed weapons laws on gun deaths are split. He added that while his study can't conclusively prove that the tighter laws on concealed weapons drive the murder rate up, he believes that it comes pretty close. That's because he attempted to control his study for other factors like demographics and socioeconomics.

Still, Gius said there are some things you can't account for. Some states may just be more violent than others. Others may have higher murder rates for reason that can't be quantified, which is why Gius said more studies are needed.

"We need more research in this area," he said. "Obviously, it's a hot-button area but it's also a very important area."

Gius's study was published in the journal Applied Economics Letters.