The Way of the Gun: Estimating Firearms Traffic Across the US-Mexico Border

Topher McDougal, David A. Shirk, Robert Muggah and John H. Patterson
March 2013

This new study estimates the volume and value of arms trafficking from the United States to Mexico. We apply a unique GIS-generated county-level panel dataset (1993-1999 and 2010-2012) of Federal Firearms Licenses to sell small arms (FFLs) and we create a demand curve for firearms based on the distance by road from the nearest point on the U.S.-Mexico border and official border crossing. We use a time-series negative binomial model paired with a post-estimation population attributable fraction (PaF) estimator. In this way, we are able to estimate a total demand for trafficking, both in terms of firearms and dollar sales for the firearms industry.

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