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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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Louisiana: House Passes Constitutional Carry, Now Headed to Gov. Landry’s Desk for His Signature

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Louisiana: House Passes Constitutional Carry, Now Headed to Gov. Landry’s Desk for His Signature

Today, the House voted 75-28 to pass Senate Bill 1, the NRA-backed constitutional carry legislation that passed the Senate last week.

Louisiana: Constitutional Carry Advances to the House Floor – Final Vote Imminent

Monday, February 26, 2024

Louisiana: Constitutional Carry Advances to the House Floor – Final Vote Imminent

Today, the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee passed the NRA-backed constitutional carry legislation, Senate Bill 1, by a 10-3 vote. The bill now heads to the House floor for a final vote this week. SB 1 ...

Maine: PETITION: Stand with Maine Gun Retailers

Monday, February 26, 2024

Maine: PETITION: Stand with Maine Gun Retailers

Gun Control groups are launching an all-out assault on the Second Amendment in Maine. Their most recent tactic?

Louisiana: Senate Passes Constitutional Carry - Take Action Now!

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Louisiana: Senate Passes Constitutional Carry - Take Action Now!

Today, the Senate passed Senate Bill 1, NRA backed constitutional carry legislation, on a 28-10 vote. The bill will next be considered in the House. Please contact your state representative and ask them to SUPPORT Senate Bill 1.

Minnesota: "Assault Weapons" Ban Referred to the Committee on Public Safety Finance and Policy

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Minnesota: "Assault Weapons" Ban Referred to the Committee on Public Safety Finance and Policy

On Monday, House File 3570 was referred to the House Committee on Public Safety Finance and Policy and would ban so called “assault weapons” by expanding upon an existing statute used to define these firearms. The bill ...

Louisiana: House Committee to Hear Constitutional Carry Monday - Take Action Now!

Friday, February 23, 2024

Louisiana: House Committee to Hear Constitutional Carry Monday - Take Action Now!

Monday, February 26, at 10:00 AM, the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee will hear Senate Bill 1, the NRA-backed constitutional carry legislation. SB 1 was passed by the Senate earlier this week with overwhelming support. Please contact committee members ...

Maine: Gun Registries, Red Flags, Universal Background Checks and more.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Maine: Gun Registries, Red Flags, Universal Background Checks and more.

It has been a busy week for Maine’s anti-gun politicians. From releasing a new bill that would implement Universal Background Checks and Red Flag laws in Maine, to Rep. Jared Golden (ME-02) pushing for a ...

Washington: Two Anti-Gun Bills Advance Through the Legislature

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Washington: Two Anti-Gun Bills Advance Through the Legislature

On Tuesday, February 27th, HB 2118, the “FFL Killer” passed the Senate, and SB 5444, "sensitive places" expansion, passed the House. Both bills were amended in the second chamber and now must return to their ...

South Carolina: Permitless Carry Passes the Senate, Waiting on Concurrence by the House

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

South Carolina: Permitless Carry Passes the Senate, Waiting on Concurrence by the House

Last week, South Carolina moved one step closer to becoming the 28th state to enact Permitless/Constitutional Carry! This effort has been years in the making, clearing a major hurdle by passing the Senate, which has been ...

South Dakota: Enhanced Conceal Carry Bill Passed in Committee

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

South Dakota: Enhanced Conceal Carry Bill Passed in Committee

Yesterday, Senate Bill 203 was passed in the House Judiciary Committee with a vote of 11-1 and will be heard on the House floor today, February 27th. The bill allows gun owners with enhanced concealed ...

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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.