"The Supreme Court's ruling on Thursday that a District of Columbia ban on handgun ownership is unconstitutional appears to be solidly in step with public opinion. A clear majority of the U.S. public -- 73% -- believes the Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the rights of Americans to own guns. And almost 7 out of 10 Americans are opposed to a law that...
The Debate on Shall-Issue Laws
"'Shall issue' right-to-carry concealed weapons laws require authorities to issue concealed-weapons permits, allowing the permit holder to carry a concealed handgun, to anyone who applies, unless the applicant has a criminal record or a history of mental illness. The shall-issue laws are state laws, applicable to all counties within the state. In contrast, states with 'may issue' laws allow considerable discretion to the authorities. In may-issue states, authorities typically require that the applicant demonstrate a particular need for a concealed weapons permit, and self-defense usually is not deemed sufficient. Consequently, shall-issue states are much more permissive of individual freedom to carry concealed handguns.
In 1997 John Lott and David Mustard published, 'Crime, Deterrence and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns' in the Journal of Legal Studies. They found that shall-issue states had lower violent crime rates, presumably because the laws result in more people carrying concealed weapons. Criminals might be deterred by the greater likelihood of others being armed, and of arms being concealed. Lott and Mustard's article created a furor and the debate continues. Much of this debate takes place in op-ed columns, letters to editors, internet chat rooms, and web logs. In this article we concentrate on the academic debate. We review the main threads of the discussion in the literature and extend the debate with our own statistical analyses."
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