We explore the impact of the Stand Your Ground (SYG) law on gun deaths by degree of urbanization. Unlike firearm homicides the definition of firearm deaths does not depend on the broadening of the self-defense provision that the SYG law represents. Using a difference-in-difference design, we find that the SYG law had no impact on gun deaths at the state level. However, once the U.S. states are disaggregated into portions by degree of urbanization—central city, suburb, small urban area and rural area—we find that the law increased gun deaths in the central cities and the suburbs, and had no impact in smaller urban areas and rural areas. These findings are consistent with the fact that there is a great divide between urban and rural areas in terms of ownership and usage of guns, attitudes towards guns, and the implications thereof. The finding of increased violence in the suburbs is of particular interest in the historical backdrop whereby the growth of the suburbs, to a large extent, may have been motivated by a desire to escape crime and violence.
European Journal of Law and Economics – Springer Journals
Published: May 5, 2018
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