Journal Article

The Way of the Gun: Estimating Firearms Trafficking across the US–Mexico Border

Topher L. McDougal, David A. Shirk, Robert Muggah and John H. Patterson

in Journal of Economic Geography

Volume 15, issue 2, pages 297-327
Published in print March 2015 | ISSN: 1468-2702
Published online June 2014 | e-ISSN: 1468-2710 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jeg/lbu021
The Way of the Gun: Estimating Firearms Trafficking across the US–Mexico Border

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The volume of firearms sold in USA and trafficked across the US–Mexico border is notoriously difficult to estimate. We consider a unique approach using GIS-generated county-level panel data (1993–1999 and 2010–2012) of Federal Firearms Licenses to sell small arms (FFLs) to estimate the realized demand for firearms based on the distance by road from the nearest point on the US–Mexico border. We use a time-series negative binomial model paired with a post-estimation population attributable fraction (PAF) estimator. We do so to control determinants of domestic demand. We are able to estimate a total demand for trafficking, both in terms of firearms and dollar sales for the firearms industry. We find that nearly 2.2% (between 0.9% and 3.7%) of US domestic arms sales are attributable to the US–Mexico traffic in the period 2010–2012, representing 212,887 firearms (between 89,816 and 359,205) purchased annually to be trafficked.

Keywords: Firearms; trafficking; demand; North America; US–Mexico; D74; F14; F52; K14; K42

Journal Article.  11736 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Law and Economics ; Criminal Law ; International Trade ; International Relations and International Political Economy ; Analysis of Collective Decision-making

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