For years, anti-gun groups have claimed that carrying guns increase violent crime. In fact, they have made this claim every time that a state has looked into reducing carry restrictions. However, a recent concealed carry study shows that more people carrying concealed handguns does not increase violent crime.
Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership presented the study’s findings to the Congress of the American College of Surgeons. DRGO claims that the carefully designed study shows that relaxing concealed-carry laws does not affect violent crime. The study should run in the January 2019 issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. It can also be purchased online.
Now they conducted the study because of how public opinion and state legislation on concealed carry has changed over the last 30 years. They also claim that previous studies have “yielded mixed results.” So, they wanted to find out if reducing concealed-carry restrictions at the state level affected homicide and violent crime rates in those states.
Concealed Carry Study Design
For the study, researchers collected data on violent crime and homicide rates from the U.S. Department of Justice Uniform Crime Reporting Program and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data spanned 30 years, from 1986 to 2015. Then, they evaluated concealed-carry legislation during those years on a scale of “no carry,” “may issue,” “shall issue” and “unrestricted carry.” During that time period, every state adopted new concealed-carry legislation, mostly leaning toward reducing restrictions.
They found that “after adjusting for state and year, there was no significant association between shifts from restrictive to nonrestrictive carry legislation on violent crime and public health indicators.” Additionally, “adjusting further for poverty and unemployment did not significantly influence the results.”
As such, the researchers determined there is no statistical evidence showing that concealed handguns increase violent crime. They also concluded that states interested in reducing violent crime should look at other factors.
Understanding the Concealed Carry Study
Now basically, this study shows that making concealed carry easier for residents does not cause more violent crime to occur. The researchers did this by analyzing 30 years of violent crime rates against changes in concealed-carry laws at the state level. They also adjusted the information for other factors that influences violent crime. This includes poverty and unemployment, which are major factors in all crime, but especially violent crime. As such, this paper could be extremely significant in regard to future concealed-carry laws.
Now research papers can be full of jargon and difficult to understand. Especially since these papers are typically written for scientists, doctors and other researchers. However, the information is valid, and can be used to help legislators to pursue real methods to reduce violent crime, rather than simply blaming guns.