Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gun traffickers exploit differences in state laws, economist says

Date:
October 24, 2011
Source:
Brown University
Summary:
A new study by economist Brian Knight explores the state-to-state flow of illegal firearms in America and examines the role of state gun regulations. He presents evidence of spillover effects associated with gun regulations, as with guns originating in Indiana and recovered during crime investigations in Illinois.

Every state in America legislates its own gun laws, but not without significant spillover effects on nearby states, according to a new study by Brown University economist Brian Knight. In a National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) working paper, Knight presents the first state-by-state gun flow analysis. The results indicate that illegal firearms flow from states with weak gun laws to states with strong gun laws, suggesting that traffickers are responding to differences in gun laws across the states.

Using gun tracing data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which identify the source state for crime guns recovered in each of the 50 states, Knight constructed an import-export matrix to measure the state-to-state gun trafficking flow. Knight then classified each state on a scale of weak-to-stringent gun regulation using 10 laws deemed significant in terms of reducing trafficking by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, including legislation on straw purchasing, background checks, and required reporting of lost or stolen guns.

Knight's main findings:

  • Trafficking flows respond to gun regulations, with guns flowing from states with weak gun laws into nearby states with strict laws.
  • Proximity matters: Trafficking flows are more significant between two nearby states than between two distant states. Thus, a weakening of gun laws has a more significant effect in nearby states.
  • The fraction of crimes involving a gun tends to be higher in states exposed to weak gun laws.

A specific example of these spillover effects, or externalities, demonstrated in Knight's analysis is the illegal gun flow into New York, a state with stringent gun laws. The largest firearm importers to New York are Florida, Georgia, and Virginia -- three states in relatively close proximity and with relatively weak gun laws. Knight says the greatest flow of guns is from Indiana to Illinois, with more than 1,000 guns recovered in Illinois in 2009 that originated in Indiana. "Presumably, that's because Indiana has relatively weak gun laws and is right on the border of Chicago," he said.

"This analysis suggests there would be benefits associated with having more federal control over gun policy, particularly because the federal government is going to better internalize these types of cross-state spillovers," said Knight. "On the other hand, there would be a cost of further federal interventions, as a key advantage of decentralization involves the ability of states to tailor policies according to local preferences."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brown University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Brown University. "Gun traffickers exploit differences in state laws, economist says." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111024123006.htm>.
Brown University. (2011, October 24). Gun traffickers exploit differences in state laws, economist says. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111024123006.htm
Brown University. "Gun traffickers exploit differences in state laws, economist says." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111024123006.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

What Self-Made Women Need to Know Financially Before Getting Hitched

What Self-Made Women Need to Know Financially Before Getting Hitched

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) Halle Berry was recently ordered to pay her ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry $16,000 a month in child support by a California judge for their daughter Nahla. As women make strides in the workforce, they are increasingly left holding the bag when relationships end regardless of marital status. 'What Monied Women Need to Know Before Getting Married or Cohabitating' discusses information such as debt incurred during the marriage is both spouse's responsibility at divorce, whether after ten years of marriage spouses are entitled to half of everything and why property acquired within the marriage is fair game without a pre-nup. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Clock Ticks Down on Internet Speed Debate

Clock Ticks Down on Internet Speed Debate

Reuters - US Online Video (July 18, 2014) The FCC received more than 800,000 comments on whether and how internet speeds should be regulated, even crashing its system. Lily Jamali reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Wildfire Tears Through Washington

Raw: Wildfire Tears Through Washington

AP (July 18, 2014) A large wildfire continued to gain steam through north-central Washington Friday. The blaze is already responsible for the destruction of at least 100 homes. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins