Unregulated Gun Shows Save Lives (Peer Reviewed Study)

Courtesy Dean Weingarten

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- In a paper published in 2008, comparing highly regulated Californian gun shows with relatively unregulated Texas gun shows, there was no statistical difference in suicide rates, or in homicide rates in California. The Texas gun shows, with far less regulation, showed a statistically significant drop in the homicide rate. From the study, on page 4:

“But our results provide little evidence of a gun show-induced increase in mortality in Texas. In fact, we find that in the two weeks following a gun show, the average number of gun homicides declines in the area surrounding the gun show. Aggregating across all gun shows in the state, we find that there are approximately 16 fewer gun homicides resulting from the 200 gun shows in the average year. In the sections below, we discuss several possible explanations for this counter intuitive finding. However, it is important to keep in mind that while these results are statistically significant, they are quite small – representing just one percent of all homicides in Texas in the average year.”

The authors downplay this result. It is not mentioned in the abstract. From the study:


Thousands of gun shows take place in the U.S. each year. Gun control advocates argue that because sales at gun shows are much less regulated than other sales, such shows make it easier for potential criminals to obtain a gun. Similarly, one might be concerned that gun shows would exacerbate suicide rates by providing individuals considering suicide with a more lethal means of ending their lives. On the other hand, proponents argue that gun shows are innocuous since potential criminals can acquire guns quite easily through other black market sales or theft. In this paper, we use data from Gun and Knife Show Calendar combined with vital statistics data to examine the effect of gun shows. We find no evidence that gun shows lead to substantial increases in either gun homicides or suicides. In addition, tighter regulation of gun shows does not appear to reduce the number of firearms-related deaths.

This was not a small study. It included data for 10 years and 3,300 gun shows. The two states chosen were California and Texas, contain 20 percent of the population of the United States. It was not conducted by firearm freedom advocates or the NRA.

The authors suggest two untested hypothetical reasons for the measured decrease in homicide:

  1. The possibility that police are somehow more vigilant after a gun show and are preventing homicides… or
  2. That criminals are using unregulated gun shows to sell their guns, thus depriving themselves of weapons to commit homicide with…

Both of those hypothetical reasons fail to overcome Occam’s razor. There are simpler, direct, obvious possibilities.

First, gun shows could make criminals more aware of the possibility of their victims being armed, thus causing them to delay their homicidal attempts.

When criminals notice that a gun show is being held in an area, and people can more easily buy and sell guns, it is reasonable to believe they would understand potential victims could be armed. This belief would result in fewer homicide attempts and fewer homicides.

Second, victims may be more likely to arm themselves at a gun show, thus increasing the potential for homicidal criminals to be deterred by an armed victim.

The authors of the study chose to ignore these obvious, direct possibilities.

In the study, the authors tell us the statistically significant difference could reduce homicides in Texas by 1%. They minimize that effect. If a restriction on private ownership of guns was shown to reduce homicide by 1%, it would be shouted to the heavens.

The evidence is clear: stopping private sales at gun shows costs lives.

It follows that so-called universal background checks may cost lives.

The demand that all private sales be approved of by state agents before they can be made, is counterproductive and will cost innocent lives.

If this seems counter-intuitive, there is considerable evidence more guns result in less crime. The logic to support this is not unreasonable.

Criminals often make rational decisions based on their understanding of the environment that they are in. If criminals believe their intended victim may be armed, they often chose another target, decide not to commit the crime, or decide to commit a non-confrontational crime such as theft from an unoccupied vehicle.

The statistical significance in the study shows this is not a random artifact of the data gathering process.


About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Courageous Lion - Hear Me Roar - Jus Meum Tuebor

Wouldn’t ending gun shows and universal back ground checks violate four words? SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED??

Arizona Don

Well personally I think it would but I’m just a citizen. These socialist gun grabbers are not really directly after guns it is those of us who own guns they are out to control. Make no mistake they are after confiscation of the guns not just control. They know in order to CONTROL WE THE PEOPLE they must get the guns. However, they of course cannot say that publicly. Directly it is us the gun owner they are out to control they guns are just in the way. Think about something. These so called democrats want to get rid of… Read more »

The Feds and all gun laws passed by them are UNCONSTITUTIONAL even the SCOTUS RULINGS are.


Add this study to the huge heap of other studies showing that gun control doesn’t work or even have any correlation to ‘gun violence’. It will all be ignored by the gun control crowd ignoring facts to achieve utopia.


Thanks for the reminder. Weather will be awesome this weekend too.

Crossroads Of The West Gun Show
March 7
March 8
Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Pima County Fairgrounds – Tucson, Arizona
11300 S Houghton Road
Tucson, AZ 85747 United States


Arizona Don

Why is it so difficult to make people (mostly socialists democrats) understand restrictive gun control laws do not effect the criminals. Outlaws do not obey laws any laws. That is why they are referred to as OUTLAWS. Restrictive gun laws only effect those who are most often the victims making them even more vulnerable. Smart real smart these politicians who are passing more and more restrictive gun laws. But there is a reason. Constitutional carry makes the average citizen MORE safe not less. Open carry does not have the same effect. Because criminals know who is carrying and who is… Read more »


@Arizona Don Because it is not about crime, it’s about control. The people who want to control every little aspect of your life do not care about evidence, facts, or rights. They do not care about people who are victims, both of criminals and victims of the laws they burden them with, and crime becomes nothing more than a means to an end for them. The excuse of “Safety” is given as a result, pleading with people to ignore facts and give up their rights for laws which no criminal would follow anyway. Their target are the law abiding, those… Read more »


I don’t know about rates if sociopathic behavior with regard to attending gun shows, but the Oaks Gun Shows, held at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, in Oaks, PA, sure draws crowd from PA, DE, NJ and local. This coming March 13-15 will be the “extravaganza” with 2000 tables. Eagle Arms Productions, which runs these shows, has never been indicted for promoting crime. Wear good shoes.


Gun show attendees are the most well behaved nicest folks you will ever meet.Contrary to popular beliefs,less than 1% of all guns sold at gun shows are private sales.( NO ONE is allowed to even rent a table IF they sell forearms UNLESS they are DEALERS), and ALL Weapons purchased all go through NICS,and are 4473’s. PERIOD. ATF agents lurk all over these places like vultures, looking for any FUNNY business. When you go to a show,know you are being taped, and watched. If you want to sell a private weapon do it outside on a 3 acre parking lot… Read more »