Do high fees help prevent poor people from getting guns for protection?

High fees to obtain a gun prevent poor people from getting guns. I have pointed to panel evidence of this not only in my book, More Guns, Less Crime, but in cross-sectional data (see for example this data from Texas). Here is some new evidence for Chicago from the Chicago Reader. The panel data allows for better controls for the different reasons that people own guns, but, at least in this case, the cross-sectional data is still consistent.

John Lott, an economist who argues that gun control laws like Chicago's actually lead to higher crime, says the cost of meeting the gun application's training and registration requirements essentially discriminates against low-income black communities. In Chicago, the training and permit fees cost about $250 on top of the price of the gun.

"Those who are most likely to be victims of crime benefit the most from owning guns, and unfortunately, that is one very well defined group in our country, poor blacks who live in high crime urban areas such as Chicago," Lott wrote in an e-mail. "But these white, middle class areas can much more easily afford the fees to register their guns and to go through the training requirements."

Roderick Sawyer, alderman of the Sixth Ward, is skeptical of that theory. "It's like buying a car," he says. "If you want one you'll find a way to do it."

A surveys of readers on the question "Does the city's gun registration law discriminate against low-income residents?" is available at ChicagoNow.

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Blogger Chas said...

"Do high fees help prevent poor people from getting guns for protection?"

Markie Marxist sez: "Hopefully, but of course we'd like to do more, like literacy tests and tatooing numbers on gun owners, but we can't do those things because of the unpleasant historical connotations associated with them. However, we get away with the "poll tax" thing by calling it a "fee", and we have a sort of literacy test when people have to take a test at the end of a training class, and we have serial numbers put on their guns instead of on the gun owners directly, but we record the serial number along with the gun owner's name, so it might as well be tatooed on them. We've been very effective at developing ways of getting around issues when it comes to pressuring people out of their gun rights."

6/21/2011 7:56 AM  
Blogger Harry Schell said...

Difference in approach to 2A and self-defense: If you get a TX carry permit, there is a fee (IIRC $140) and you have to take a course ($85 for mine). I dunno about the course, but if you qualify as "indigent", half the fee is waived, so you pay $70. It has been this way, with a half-cost option for thowe without means, since I got my permit 11 years ago. The ones most on the sharp end of violent crime are usually those of lesser means. The TX law tries to address this, unlike law in CA and such other "liberal" bastions who are so caring of the poor they only want criminals and cops to be armed, much less carry arms for when the police are just minutes away and seconds count. No nice words can describe such "caring".

6/21/2011 11:42 AM  

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