Throughout the debate over guns in America, there are many different numbers and stats that can be referenced.
But tonight we ask the question, is it true that more guns equals more crime?
What about states that have concealed carry laws? Is gun crime in these locations lower than in places were concealed carry is not allowed?
This is a Reality Check you won’t get anywhere else.
Concealed carry laws are a fairly interesting part of the gun debate in America. For a nation that has had a Second Amendment since its founding, it might be surprising for you to know that concealed carry laws have only been in place since the 1980s in many states. And for other states, concealed carry has only existed for the past couple of years.
So the question, does arming more law abiding citizens lead to lower gun crime?
Before we can answer that, let’s talk about what is happening with concealed carry permits. Since 2007, the number of concealed handgun permits in the United States has soared from 4.6 million to more than 12.8 million.
During that same period, murder rates have fallen from 5.6 killings per 100,000 people down to 4.2—about a 25 percent drop.
This is according to a brand new report from the Crime Prevention Research Center. Nationally, yes, without question, the number of people carrying concealed weapons has almost tripled. And, during the same period, murder rates have dropped by a quarter.
But remember, correlation does not equal causation. So is there a better example that we can look at?
There is: Chicago.
Chicago is a city with one of the highest gun murder rates in the nation. According to the FBI, in 2012, Chicago had 500 murders—the most of any city in the country.
In fact, Chicago has been among the top three cities with the most murders since 1985. But it was not until 2013 that Illinois became the 50th state—yes, the last state in the nation—to finally pass a concealed carry law.
Since Illinois started granting concealed carry permits this year, the number of robberies that have led to arrests in Chicago declined 20 percent in 2014 from where they stood in 2013, according to police department statistics.
Reports of burglary and motor vehicle theft dropped 20 percent and 26 percent, respectively. In the first quarter, the city’s homicide rate was at a 56-year low.
And it is also worth mentioning that in just 2014, some 91,000 concealed carry permits were issued across the state. That includes 24,000 that were issued for Cook County, which includes Chicago.
So what you need to know is that while there is no way to prove that concealed carry guns cause crime rates to fall, the numbers prove that, in places where more people have concealed carry licenses, crime rates do not rise.
One other really interesting stat to share with you.
You know people say that tougher gun laws only affect law-abiding citizens. When it comes to concealed carry, that is absolutely true. Statistically, concealed carriers are among the most law-abiding citizens in the country, even more so than police officers.
In Florida and Texas, permit holders are convicted of misdemeanors or felonies at one-sixth the rate that even police officers are convicted.
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