Determinants of Variation in State Concealed Carry Laws, 1970–2017

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Concealed carry laws, Guns, Gun control, Gun rights, Politics, Racial threat

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College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Sociology and Criminology


Why do some U.S. states have more permissive concealed carry weapons (CCW) laws than other states? To answer this question, this study tests several plausible social, political, and economic factors thought to affect the likelihood of this outcome over several decades. Models estimated using random‐effects ordered logistic regression reveal that theoretical accounts based on partisan politics, gendered politics, economic threat, and racial threat largely explain variation in CCW laws over time. Tests for interactions, however, reveal that the influence of gubernatorial politics varies according to Republican strength in the legislature and by region. Also, the impact of racial threat on CCW laws is dependent on the crime rate. Overall, this research advances the literature by simultaneously assessing all plausible state‐level CCW policies, incorporating novel threat and political predictors, and utilizing a larger sample size than prior studies.

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