Post #3

Hi everyone,

After working on my paper over the past month, I finally finished it up this weekend and sent it in to my advisor. To recap, I wrote about economic studies from the past two decades that evaluated the impact of right-to-carry, shall-issue, and concealed carry gun laws on crime rates in the United States. Sadly for our country, my topic became increasingly relevant earlier this month, as two tragic mass shootings occurred a day apart from each other. In the El Paso shooting (August 3rd) and the Dayton shooting (August 4th) combined, 31 people were killed. These shootings spurred protests around the country, and many people are now reconsidering their views on gun control. Even conservative political leaders are recognizing the need to reform our nation’s gun laws and create more effective policies. Reading about these two tragedies and some of the personal stories of victims was devastating, and I’m glad there finally seems to be some national urgency for reform.

I decided not to include any analysis of these two tragedies in my paper since they were so recent and since I had already finished the research stage of my project weeks ago. Also, the vast majority of the economic and statistical studies that I focused on in my paper incorporated data sets on crime that started after 1970 and ended before 2010, so the many mass shootings from the past decade fall outside my period of analysis.

In my last post, I highlighted some of the complicating factors that make empirical research on the effects of gun control laws so difficult. There is a lack of consensus among the research community on the effects that these laws have on crime rates, and in my paper, I find that current academic research in this area is ambiguous, inconclusive, contradictory. Furthermore, I have come to realize that any research on the effects of a particular law becomes increasingly useless as more and more time passes since the enactment of a law. A large number of right-to-carry/shall-issue laws were adopted in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, which now seems very far away from the present day. While I gained valuable knowledge from this project about empirical research, statistical methodologies, and the history of national gun research, I hope to focus my future research efforts on policies and laws that were enacted in more recent times, as I believe that objective research should be the driving force behind national decisions on gun policy, not wealthy organizations like the NRA.