Summary Post

Hi everyone,

I incorporated suggestions from my advisor and am now officially done with my summer project. It has been a very rewarding experience!

I began my project hoping to understand what the economic research community has contributed towards the effort to understand the gun violence problem in our country. Almost 40,000 people died from gun-related injuries in the US in the year of 2017, and mass shootings have become increasingly prevalent in national headlines. Gun violence is one of the biggest problems faced by our country, and the discipline of economics provides many tools to empirically analyze the causes of gun violence and the effects of certain types of gun laws.

To narrow the scope of my project, I sought to understand the effects of right-to-carry, shall-issue, and concealed carry gun law on crime rates in the United States by reading and evaluating economic and statistical studies. I found a surprising lack of consensus among the research community for a number of reasons. The findings of researchers were highly sensitive to assumptions, model specifications, choices of variables, periods of analysis, and other decisions made by the researchers. After doing all of this research, my final conclusion is that while the effect of right-to-carry, shall-issue, and concealed carry gun laws on crime rates in the United States is not definitive by any means, it seems that these laws cause increases in violent crime and have a negative long-run impact on the states/counties in which they were enacted, especially with modern advancements in gun technology and a more widespread availability of semi-automatic weapons.

Overall, I have gained lots of valuable experience by doing this project. This was by far the longest paper that I have every written, and I definitely learned some valuable lessons about the trials and tribulations of academic research. I feel that I have improved as a writer, and I have learned how to read economic studies critically and efficiently. I have also gained a broad understanding of many different types of statistical and economic models, methods, and terminology. In the future, I hope to expand on the work that I have done in this project and hopefully contribute relevant research of my own to modern discussions of gun violence.