Sunday, May 25, 2014

Fast and Furious, or Slow and Steady? The Flow of Guns From the United States to Mexico

Jessica A. Eby


This empirical legal study examines Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and
Explosives (ATF) trace data from crime guns seized in Mexico and traced back to their
states of origin in the United States. It uses Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression
to analyze the relationship between U.S. states’ crime gun export rates to Mexico
and state gun control laws. The presence of four state gun control laws—(1) limiting
multiple sales, (2) requiring background checks for secondary transfers, (3) prosecuting
straw purchasers, and (4) restricting the sale of assault weapons—significantly reduces a
state’s export rate of crime guns to Mexico as compared to states that have none of these
laws in place. This relationship persists and is significant even when controlling for the
state’s distance from the border with Mexico.


Jessica A. Eby is a JD candidate, Class of 2014, at UCLA School of Law, enrolled in the
David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy, the Critical Race Studies
specialization, and the UCLA/RAND Empirical Legal Studies program. She prepared
this Comment in conjunction with the UCLA/RAND Empirical Legal Studies
program, under the direction of Professor Joseph Doherty, and in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for UCLA.

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