Do Concealed Carry Laws Affect Police Shootings?
AbstractSince the late ’80s, concealed carry laws have sparked an ongoing conversation regarding their effect on crime and homicides. However, up to now no attention has been paid to the way these laws could affect the police, and they are the ones that have to deal with these concealed-carriers. This paper attempts to shed light on the consequences more lenient concealed-carry requirements have on fatal police shootings.
Lenient concealed carry laws translate into more guns on the street, which in turn increases the likelihood of any given person being armed and may lead police officers to change their behavior. This effect is complicated by the fact that as the laws become more lenient, the marginal gun-carrying civilian becomes less qualified.
Using data on fatal police shootings from two different sources and a difference-in- differences approach, this paper finds that: when a state adopts Right-to-Carry (RTC) laws, which allow citizens who meet state requirements to carry concealed weapons, the rate of people fatally shot by police officers decreases by 3.6%, which is attributed to a decrease in police interactions with the public, measured by the rate of arrests. Switching from RTC to Permitless Carry (PC), which does not require a permit to carry a concealed gun, increases the rate of people fatally shot by police by 5.2%. This effect is due to the fact that citizens considered unqualified under RTC can carry concealed weapons under PC, increasing the risk that police officers face when interacting with the public.