March 30th, 2010

Does Increase in Lawful Concealed Carry Explain Drop in Crime?

John Lott gun bookA decade ago, Prof. John Lott wrote More Guns, Less Crime, a ground-breaking book that used advanced statistical analysis to prove that gun ownership by law-abiding citizens can reduce violent crime rates. Lott was initially assailed by the mainstream media, who refused to believe Lott’s numbers.

Now, it appears that the national media is grudgingly accepting that the increase in concealed weapon permits in many states has been associated with reductions in violent crime and in particular a notable decline in murder rates., a website known generally for its liberal-leaning news reports, recently ran an article on citizen gun carry that reveals that crime has dropped significantly in “shall-issue” states where concealed weapons permits are available to law-abiding citizens. states that it is too simplistic to credit gun-toting citizens for the reduction in crime (which may have had other causes), but the statistics are noteworthy. reports: “From its beginnings in the 1980s, the ‘right-to-carry’ movement has succeeded in boosting the number of licensed concealed-gun carriers from fewer than 1 million to a record 6 million today, according to estimates from gun-rights groups that are supported by’s research.”

gun crime statistics

Disagreement Persists as to Causes for Reduced Crime Rates
While explains that the connection between lawful gun ownership and crime rates is “hotly debated” and not completely understood, does acknowledge that crime rates have fallen virtually everywhere that “right to carry” laws were adopted. quotes John Pierce of “Firearms in the hands of law abiding citizens prevent 1 million robberies, murders and rapes every year.” On the other hand, cites a Harvard professor, Dr. David Hemenway, who claims that the available research is inconclusive and that “when it comes to concealed-carry laws, neither side can make a legitimate claim about their effects on crime”.

It is worth reading the article, which includes a video on firearms training for CCW-holders in Washington state.

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