Looking Down the Barrel of a Loaded Gun: The Effect of Mandatory Handgun Purchase Delays on Homicide and Suicide


  • This article has been accepted for publication and undergone full peer review but has not been through the copyediting, typesetting, pagination and proofreading process, which may lead to differences between this version and the Version of Record. Please cite this article as doi: 10.1111/ecoj.12567


We exploit within-state variation across time in both the existence and length of statutory delays—both explicit wait periods and delays created by licensing requirements—between the purchase and delivery of a firearm to examine the effect of purchase delays on homicides and suicides. We find that the existence of a purchase delay reduces firearm related suicides by between 2 to 5 percent with no statistically significant increase in non-firearm suicides. Purchase delays are not associated with statistically significant changes in homicide rates.

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