From the New York Times.
In state after state, guns are being allowed in places once off-limits, like bars, college campuses and houses of worship. And gun rights advocates are seeking to expand the map still further, pushing federal legislation that would require states to honor other states’ concealed weapons permits. The House approved the bill last month; the Senate is expected to take it up next year.
The bedrock argument for this movement is that permit holders are law-abiding citizens who should be able to carry guns in public to protect themselves. “These are people who have proven themselves to be among the most responsible and safe members of our community,” the federal legislation’s author, Representative Cliff Stearns, Republican of Florida, said on the House floor.
To assess that claim, The New York Times examined the permit program in North Carolina, one of a dwindling number of states where the identities of permit holders remain public. The review, encompassing the last five years, offers a rare, detailed look at how a liberalized concealed weapons law has played out in one state. And while it does not provide answers, it does raise questions.
More than 2,400 permit holders were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors, excluding traffic-related crimes, over the five-year period, The Times found when it compared databases of recent criminal court cases and licensees. While the figure represents a small percentage of those with permits, more than 200 were convicted of felonies, including at least 10 who committed murder or manslaughter. All but two of the killers used a gun.
National Review explains what’s wrong with this analysis.
All of these numbers are completely meaningless; in any large population, there will be some crime. The only way to see what these numbers mean is to compare concealed-carry holders to the general population. Fortunately, state-level murder data are easy to find.
North Carolina has a statewide murder rate of about 5 per 100,000. Even without counting manslaughter, that’s 25 murders committed per 100,000 North Carolinians every five years. There are about 230,000 valid concealed-carry permits in North Carolina, so by pure chance, you’d expect these folks to be responsible for nearly 60 murders over five years. And yet only ten of them committed murder or manslaughter. Instead of “rais[ing] questions,” the Times has demonstrated yet again that permit holders are more peaceful than the general population.
And do you know what else is missing from the New York Times analysis? Any investigation into the number of crimes prevented by defensive handgun usage by licensed concealed carry permit holders. After all, a good journalist would want to weight the bad consequences of a policy together with the good consequences, right? That would be a fair and balanced approach that would inform the readers instead of misleading them.
Do gun control laws reduce violent crime?
Here’s what happened after gun laws changed in Washington, D.C. and Chicago.
Murder and violent crime rates were supposed to soar after the Supreme Court struck down gun control laws in Chicago and Washington, D.C.
Politicians predicted disaster. “More handguns in the District of Columbia will only lead to more handgun violence,” Washington’s Mayor Adrian Fenty warned the day the court made its decision.
Chicago’s Mayor Daley predicted that we would “go back to the Old West, you have a gun and I have a gun and we’ll settle it in the streets…”
The New York Times even editorialized this month about the Supreme Court’s “unwise” decision that there is a right for people “to keep guns in the home.”
But Armageddon never happened. Newly released data for Chicago shows that, as in Washington, murder and gun crime rates didn’t rise after the bans were eliminated — they plummeted. They have fallen much more than the national crime rate.
Not surprisingly, the national media have been completely silent about this news.
One can only imagine the coverage if crime rates had risen. In the first six months of this year, there were 14% fewer murders in Chicago compared to the first six months of last year – back when owning handguns was illegal. It was the largest drop in Chicago’s murder rate since the handgun ban went into effect in 1982.
Meanwhile, the other four most populous cities saw a total drop at the same time of only 6 percent.
Similarly, in the year after the 2008 “Heller” decision, the murder rate fell two-and-a-half times faster in Washington than in the rest of the country.
It also fell more than three as fast as in other cities that are close to Washington’s size. And murders in Washington have continued to fall.
If you compare the first six months of this year to the first six months of 2008, the same time immediately preceding the Supreme Court’s late June “Heller” decision, murders have now fallen by thirty-four percent.
Gun crimes also fell more than non-gun crimes.
Robberies with guns fell by 25%, while robberies without guns have fallen by eight percent. Assaults with guns fell by 37%, while assaults without guns fell by 12%.
Just as with right-to-carry laws, when law-abiding citizens have guns some criminals stop carrying theirs.
And it’s not just in big cities. MSNBC explains how legal gun ownership reduces crime.
Americans overall are far less likely to be killed with a firearm than they were when it was much more difficult to obtain a concealed-weapons permit, according to statistics collected by the federal Centers for Disease Control. But researchers have not been able to establish a cause-and-effect relationship.
In the 1980s and ’90s, as the concealed-carry movement gained steam, Americans were killed by others with guns at the rate of about 5.66 per 100,000 population. In this decade, the rate has fallen to just over 4.07 per 100,000, a 28 percent drop. The decline follows a fivefold increase in the number of “shall-issue” and unrestricted concealed-carry states from 1986 to 2006.The highest gun homicide rate is in Washington, D.C., which has had the nation’s strictest gun-control laws for years and bans concealed carry: 20.50 deaths per 100,000 population, five times the general rate. The lowest rate, 1.12, is in Utah, which has such a liberal concealed weapons policy that most American adults can get a permit to carry a gun in Utah without even visiting the state.
The decline in gun homicides also comes as U.S. firearm sales are skyrocketing, according to federal background checks that are required for most gun sales. After holding stable at 8.5 to 9 million checks from 1999 to 2005, the FBI reported a surge to 10 million in 2006, 11 million in 2007, nearly 13 million in 2008 and more than 14 million last year, a 55 percent increase in just four years.
If you ever need to debate this, I recommend buying these academic studies published by the University of Chicago Press and by Harvard University Press. The former shows how crime rates dropped in the USA when Americans rescinded gun control laws, and the latter shows how crime rates rose in the UK when the British strengthened their gun control laws. Sometimes is good to have the data handy.
Want both sides? Then watch a debate on gun control
This debate is in 13 parts, featuring the two of the best proponents of legal firearm ownership – John Lott and Gary Kleck. The real sparks fly during the Q&A, so don’t miss that. (If you can’t watch the debate, then you can read this post and this post instead).
Here’s part 1, which contains the introduction.
Here are the remaining speeches:
This is everything you need to know about whether legal ownership of firearms reduce crime. And you get both sides – unlike in the New York Times.
Here is my previous article exposing the ignorance of NYT executive editor Bill Keller.
Filed under: News, Assault Weapon Ban, Ban, Brady Bill, Concealed Carry, Crime, Crime Prevention, Crime Rate, Crime Rates, Debate, Evidence, Firearm, Firearms, Freedom, Gary Kleck, Gun Ban, Gun Control, Guns, Guns Reduce Crime, Handgun, Handgun Ban, Homicide, John Lott, John R. Lott, Law, Legal, Liberty, Media Bias, Multiple Victim Public Shootings, MVPS, Nanny State, New York Times, NRA, Permit, Police, Rate, Reason, Self-Defense, Shall Issue, Shooting, Statistics, Stephen Halbrooke, Violence, Violent Crime