The question:Do more guns cause more violence?The experiment:We exploit a natural experiment induced by the 2004 expiration of the U.S. federal assault weapons ban to examine how the subsequent exogenous increase in gun supply affected violence in Mexico. The expiration relaxed the permissiveness of gun sales in border states such as Texas and Arizona, but not California, which retained a pre-existing state-level ban.The results:Using data from mortality statistics and criminal prosecutions over 2002-2006, we show that homicides, gun-related homicides and gun-related crimes increased differentially in Mexican municipios located closer to Texas and Arizona ports of entry, relative to those nearer California ports.Gun-related Homicides in Municipalities Bordering California versus Other Border StatesOur estimates suggest that the U.S. policy change caused at least 158 additional deaths each year in the post-2004 period. Gun seizures also increase differentially, and solely for the gun category that includes assault weapons.
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Are Lax US Gun Laws Spilling Violence into Mexico?