Guns, Crime, and Academics: Some Reflections on the Gun Control Debate


This comment on Thomas Marvell's "The Impact of Banning Juvenile Gun Possession" analyzes Marvell's empirical findings and their policy implications for gun control legislation. While Marvell's article stresses the absence of any finding favorable to juvenile gun bans, this comment points out that the statistical results actually support the stronger finding that some of the juvenile gun bans are associated with a statistically significant increase in homicides nationwide. Under either finding, the juvenile gun bans are welfare reducing because of the inherently costly nature of conventional gun control legislation. The concluding discussion argues that the failure to draw appropriate policy conclusions from methodologically sound findings on controversial subjects such as gun control undercuts the value of academic research as compared with competing influences in the public debate.