The anti-gun narrative is simple: relaxed gun laws lead to more crime. The easier it is for a community to acquire guns, the more violent that community becomes. Sounds reasonable, right? Wrong. It couldn’t be farther from the truth.
A new study conducted by NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice found that nationwide crime is “at the lowest point in a generation.” While the murder rate is spiking in certain cities (mainly in anti-gun Chicago), crime, violence, and murder rates remain as low as they’ve been in the last three decades. “Warnings of a coming crime wave may be provocative,” the report concludes, “but they are not supported by the evidence.”
Anti-gunners are no doubt asking themselves, “How can this be? States across the nation have relaxed their gun laws! Why aren’t we seeing huge spikes in crime?”
Good question. Despite (or, perhaps, because of) the federal government’s constant threat of tighter firearm restrictions, states across the country have dramatically relaxed their gun control laws in the last three decades. It’s tough to see sometimes, considering recent anti-gun decisions from federal courts and anti-gun legislation from states like California and Connecticut. But it’s true—gun control proponents have scored major victories in dozens of states since 1990.
Concealed carry policies have especially come in line with a proper interpretation of the Second Amendment. Missouri, for example, just became the eleventh state to pass a “constitutional carry” bill that allows Missouri residents to carry a firearm without a license. Forty states have instituted a “shall issue” policy: as long as a resident completes a certain set of requirements, the state has no right to deny that person a permit to carry. Thirty of those states issue permits to both residents and non-residents. Some states like Texas are even prosecuting local governments for not adhering to the state’s pro-gun policies.
If the anti-gun narrative held water, crime should have spiked long ago. In fact, the opposite has happened. As this graph from the Brennan Center demonstrates, crime rates have gone down in America’s thirty largest cities:
How do we explain this drastic decrease? There are lots of theories. The most probable is some combination of better law enforcement and better laws. Another has to do with reforms in the criminal justice system.
These theories are plausible, but here’s another: as more and more Americans have made the decision to defend themselves with firearms, criminals have become increasingly wary of committing violent crimes. No studies have shown a direct correlation between relaxed gun laws and a decrease in crime, but it’s worth thinking about.
At any rate, relaxed gun laws absolutely, without a doubt do not result in more crime. That much is certain.
About the Author: Jordan Michaels is a new convert to the gun world. A Canadian immigrant to the United States, he recently became an American citizen and is happily enjoying his newly-acquired Second Amendment freedoms. He’s a communications professional, a political junkie, and an avid basketball fan.