Advocates of concealed carry laws say that having hidden firearms reduces violent crime. Hidden weapons serve as a deterrent to criminals.
Certainly, people believe that. According to researchers at the University of Washington, 3 million Americans carry a loaded and concealed handgun every day.(3)
Maybe that would be nice, but the data indicate its not true.
Researchers at Boston University have looked at crime statistics for all states between 1991 and 2015.
Currently, all states allow certain people to carry a concealed handgun, but there are variations in permitting policy. Nine states have “may issue” laws, in which law enforcement officials have wide discretion over whether to issue concealed carry permits; police chiefs can deny a permit if they deem the applicant to be at risk of committing violence even if there is not a criminal history. In 29 states, there is little or no discretion; these are referred to as “shall issue” states. No permit is necessary to carry a concealed handgun in 12 states.(1)
“Shall issue” laws are associated with a 6.5% higher total homicide rate and a 10.6% higher handgun homicide rate than found in states with more restrictive laws. Statistics for this analysis came from the Centers for Disease Control and the FBI.
Another issue: The Washington statistics indicate that as many as 20% of those who carry concealed guns don’t have a permit to do so.
Advocates of gun ownership need to address why the gun statistics are as they are, and what changes might be necessary to reduce the level of violence. That’s a more practical and useful discussion than trying to poke holes in the statistics.
My own belief is that with an aging population, we will see more frequent shootings based on issues related to dementia, over and above the issues we have now with mental instability.
- Michael Siegel, Ziming Xuan, Craig S. Ross, Sandro Galea, Bindu Kalesan, Eric Fleegler, Kristin A. Goss. Easiness of Legal Access to Concealed Firearm Permits and Homicide Rates in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 2017; e1 DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2017.304057
- Boston University School of Medicine. “More permissive concealed-carry laws linked to higher homicide rates.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 October 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171019164250.htm>.
- Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, Deborah Azrael, Vivian H. Lyons, Joseph A. Simonetti, Matthew Miller. Loaded Handgun Carrying Among US Adults, 2015. American Journal of Public Health, 2017; e1 DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2017.304072