Gun Control: Term Definition

Gun control and whether it reduces crime or crime increases gun control

There are various discussions on Gun control and whether it reduces crime rate or whether crime rate precipitates Gun control. Lawmakers are of the view that gun control laws reduce violent crimes using firearms hence according to them, there would be less crime with few guns in circulation among individuals. High rates of crimes, generates political support for gun control laws, however, mere econometrics cannot simultaneously determine the relationship between gun control and crime rate. There is need to use more states’ data to ascertain this relationship.

Measuring the degree of gun control

In measuring the degree of Gun control, various considerations have to be made, for example, how the gun control law is to be measured, that is, either through index, states or any other relevant method. Secondly, measuring degree of gun control identifying the empirical alternative, in the process of measuring correlation between gun control and crime rate, it is important to consider enforcement of the law through various enforcement agents such as, police and the judicial system. This will ensure full implementation of the said law. Studies have revealed that, most gun laws are formed within states with each state having its own format of the law. However, Federal laws play an important role in providing guidelines to those state laws. Most studies conducted using index have revealed that, upstream measure such as registration of guns are fully enforced while downstream measure such as safe storage of guns by users are normally ignored. In all the above studies, use of index had been employed this is because, index have several statistical advantage. Secondly, index avoids problems of co linearity among given control measures and finally, index covers the spill in effects from states in case they do not have strict laws on guns.

Literature Review of Gun Control Studies Using State Data

In the literature review, various studies have been analyzed using different statistical methods such as time series, correlation and regression analysis. In 1993, Kleck and Patterson reviewed 13 studies on effect of gun control on crime rate. Thirteen studies analyzed revealed that, nine out of the thirteen studies showed that gun control do not reduce crime. Two studies showed that control reduces crime rate and the remaining two showed mixed reaction. These studies failed to include relevant control variables thereby producing the above result. For example, omitting certain important variables a case in point was the correlation between homicide firearms and total homicide suicide which revealed a co-efficient of 0.98 yet other variables had been left out. Despite this, various studies have shown that gun control do not reduce on the crime rate as there is no evidence of such. This is because, access to gun remains the same since the law is some how silent on this.

In another study by Murray (1975:91) revealed that, States with stricter hand gun policy showed less suicide with gun and had high suicide rate using other means. However, he had no enough variables to explain suicide making his study weak. It was found that Gun ownership rather than strictness on Gun had strong correlation with suicide rate. Kwon et al. also attempted to show evidence that gun control laws had positive impact on reducing death associated with guns through his studies but unfortunately, he had weak evidence since his study revealed only 3 deaths out of 100000 deaths are avoided when the law is in place. Therefore, Lott (2000) studies came up and showed that presence of more guns will reduce crime rate especially crime against women and children. This is because, criminal would be very cautious before attacking as they wont know whether their victim has a gun too or not.


In conclusion, it can be asserted that prevalence of high crime rate in the states would precipitate political concern over people’s lives thereby leading to suggestions on adoption of regulations on guns to reduce on the number of crimes committed using firearms. Therefore, gun control does less to reduce on the level of crime in United States and this is due to the fact that most laws are not enforced adequately. A case in point is where more emphasizes are put on upstream measure than downstream measures such as safe storage and usage.

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