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Surprise: Study Finds No Rise in Violent Crime Attributable to Adopting Right-to-Carry Laws

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Surprise: Study Finds No Rise in Violent Crime Attributable to Adopting Right-to-Carry Laws

As we’ve noted recently, much research purporting to demonstrate connections between access to guns or right-to-carry laws and increases in crime is seriously flawed.  Often it's an attempt to curtail or eliminate Americans’ rights under the Second Amendment rather than unbiased scientific research.

One recent study bucked that trend, however, finding no evidence of a link between access to firearms and increases in crime. “State Level Firearm Concealed-Carry Legislation and Rates of Homicide and Other Violent Crime,” (Hamill, Hernandez, Bailey, Zielinski, Matos, & Schiller, 2018), examined an expansive dataset, encompassing all 50 states and the District of Columbia – from 1986 to 2015 – to determine whether a relationship existed between liberalization of access to legal concealed carry of firearms and rates of both violent and nonviolent crime.

The 30 years’ worth of crime data comprised state-level crime rates for homicides, violent crime, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and burglary from the Department of Justice Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) system. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided partially redundant figures, including state-based rates of homicide overall and firearm-specific homicide. State-specific rates of unemployment were provided by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, and poverty rates were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Hamill et al. (2018) defined the ease with which state residents could obtain a carry permit in two ways:

  • On a four-point scale: (1) no carry; (2) may-issue; (3) shall-issue; or, (4) unrestricted (i.e., constitutional carry)
  • With a simpler, bipolar system which grouped the no-carry and may-issue schemes, versus the shall-issue and unrestricted arrangements

Using a form of linear regression modeling which allowed for multiple predictor and control variables as well as correlations among error terms (due to the time-based nature of the data), the authors estimated the various UCR and CDC crime statistics as a function of ease of obtaining carry permits, after controlling for state and year. No significant relationships were noted between ease of carry – whether measured on the four-point or bipolar scales – and rates of crime in any of the UCR or CDC categories. Repeating the analyses, but additionally controlling for level of poverty and unemployment, the Hamill team again found no statistical relationships between the ease with which carry permits could be obtained – regardless of measurement scheme – and crime rates in any category.

The authors concluded:

After adjusting for several population and demographic factors, we demonstrated that the rates of homicide and violent crime were not significantly increased after state laws were passed making access to concealed-carry permits less restricted. These important findings should inform further public policy research to help determine root causes and solutions to firearm-related homicide and violent crime in the future. (Hamill et al., 2018, p. 5)

As the authors noted, the study was correlational in nature and did not demonstrate causation (or lack thereof). Additionally, there were variables with potential explanatory power that were not included in the models, because the authors plan to do so “as a topic of future research” (Hamill et al., 2018, p. 7). Yet, however unlikely it may be that research such as this will convince many in the anti-gun crowd – whose minds seem closed to objective data which conflict with the “bad gun” narrative – it is refreshing to see objective minds investigate the association between guns and crime with the intent of letting the data write the story, rather than seeking evidence to buttress already-worn arguments.

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NRA Opposes David Chipman for ATF Director

News  

Friday, April 9, 2021

NRA Opposes David Chipman for ATF Director

During a press conference on Thursday, President Biden announced that he would once again be targeting law-abiding gun owners by ordering ATF to develop two new restrictive regulations. Aiming to accessorize the Department of Justice’s ...

In New Executive Gun Control Push, Biden Seems to Throw Obama, and Himself, Under the Bus

News  

Monday, April 12, 2021

In New Executive Gun Control Push, Biden Seems to Throw Obama, and Himself, Under the Bus

At Biden's recent Rose Garden ceremony, where he announced his latest assault on the Second Amendment, he lied a number of times, and garbled the name of the federal agency tasked with enforcing federal gun ...

A Radical Idea: It’s Not the Gun, it’s the Criminal

News  

Monday, April 12, 2021

A Radical Idea: It’s Not the Gun, it’s the Criminal

Rahm Emanuel, recently the mayor of Chicago and who has previously served as a member of the Clinton Administration and as President Obama’s White House chief of staff, proposed a few curious gun control ideas ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Texas: Urge Your Lawmakers to Pass Permitless Carry this Session

Monday, April 12, 2021

Texas: Urge Your Lawmakers to Pass Permitless Carry this Session

House Bill 1911, by Rep. James White (R-Woodville), and House Bill 1927, by Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler), NRA-backed permitless carry proposals that would allow law-abiding citizens to carry a handgun without a state-issued License To Carry (LTC), have been reported ...

New Jersey: Gov. Murphy Announces Drastic Gun Control Agenda

Thursday, April 15, 2021

New Jersey: Gov. Murphy Announces Drastic Gun Control Agenda

Thursday morning, Gov. Phil Murphy held a press conference to unveil yet another gun control package in the Garden State.  

Hunter Biden Incident Shows that Gun Laws are for the Little People

News  

Monday, April 5, 2021

Hunter Biden Incident Shows that Gun Laws are for the Little People

There is a central hypocrisy at the heart of the gun control effort.

South Carolina House Passes Constitutional Carry

Friday, April 9, 2021

South Carolina House Passes Constitutional Carry

Yesterday, the House voted to pass House Bill 3096 on third reading. It has been sent to the Senate for further consideration.

Texas: Permitless Carry Scheduled for House Consideration on Thursday!

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Texas: Permitless Carry Scheduled for House Consideration on Thursday!

House Bill 1927, by Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler), an NRA-backed permitless carry proposal that would allow law-abiding citizens to carry a handgun without a state-issued License To Carry (LTC), will be debated by the full Texas House on Thursday!

NRA-backed Constitutional Carry Signed in Tennessee

News  

Thursday, April 8, 2021

NRA-backed Constitutional Carry Signed in Tennessee

Gov. Bill Lee signs NRA-backed constitutional carry bill to advance the self-defense rights of all Tennessee gun owners. 

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NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.