Date of Completion


Degree Type

Honors Thesis - Campus Access


Economics (ECON)

First Advisor

Dorothea Herreiner

Second Advisor

Michelle Miller


Gun control in the United States has aimed at enhancing safety for the public after countless tragedies have brought up conversations about reducing the deaths cause by gun violence. More states have been adopting restrictions on the open and concealed carry of guns to protect the public from gun violence. However, gun control has been a polarizing topic as people in the US debate the tradeoff between second amendment rights and safety. In order to evaluate the implications of this tradeoff, the effectiveness of certain gun laws must be investigated. This study analyzes how gun laws impact homicide rates in the United States. The study hypothesizes that the use of stricter gun laws limiting or prohibiting the open and concealed carry of guns will result in lower homicides rates. Time-panel data on the homicide-by-gun rates, the overall homicide rate, and homicide-by-other-weapon rate on a state level is used to examine the relationship between stricter gun carrying laws and homicide rates. The data analysis also determines whether stricter gun laws lead to more homicides by other methods and a change in the overall homicide rate. The results of the data analysis provide great insight into how the development of policy on gun laws impacts violence and how to shape policy moving forward to maximize public safety.