All one needs to know about guns and crime in three charts

Admittedly, this isn’t all one needs to know about crime and guns in three charts, but it does substantiate the general claim made by many pro-gun advocates, including myself, that expanding concealed carry does not increase crime rates. In fact, one can argue the opposite is true based on the numbers which is to say more guns in the hands of law-abiding gun owners has the potential to reduce crime rates.

The first graph comes from the FBI’s latest report, “Crime in the United States,” which was released on Monday and shows the downward trend in the number of reported violent crimes over the past five years.

FBI violent crime

Reported instances of violent violent crime.  (Photo: FBI)

Violent crime fell 4.4 percent and property crime fell 4.1 percent when compared to 2012 figures, according to the report. To quantify that, there were approximately 1,163,146 violent crimes reported to law enforcement last year, along with an estimated 8,632,512 property crimes.

To expand on this point, over the past three decades there has been a uniform drop in violent crime, property crime and the homicide rate.   I pulled this from wikipedia, which uses the FBI’s crime data and analyzes crime rates per 100,000 people.

Crime Rates in the U.S.  It was sourced form wikipedia, but for more extensive numbers check out the FBI stats.

Crime Rates in U.S. per 100,000 people.  (Photo: Wikipedia)

The third chart was sourced via the Wall Street Journal. It shows the expansion of concealed carry law from 2002 through 2012. Overall, the progression nationwide is from restrictive standards ‘no-issue’ aka ban on concealed carry or ‘may-issue’ (discretionary permitting) to permissive standards ‘shall-issue’ (non-discretionary permitting) and Constitutional or permit-less carry. In 2014, all 50 states including the District of Columbia have legalized concealed carry, though D.C. is currently fighting tooth and nail to keep revive it’s ban.

Expansion of concealed carry.  (Photo: Wall Street Journal)

Expansion of concealed carry. (Photo: Wall Street Journal)

Juxtaposing these three charts is hard evidence to refute any gun-grabber who aggressively advocates for limitations on concealed carry.  Given what the data indicates, opposing concealed carry is a completely untenable position this day and age which may explain why many gun-control organizations have, at least overtly, shifted away from attacking one’s right to keep and bear arms for self-defense outside the home and instead focus on marginal measures like universal background checks.

Put quite simply, the gun-grabber’s main argument against concealed carry, that’ll turn the country into the wild wild west, is completely laughable at this point.  They know it, we know it, and now thankfully the non-gun owning public knows it.

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 43 comments… add one }
  • Will Drider January 4, 2015, 12:23 pm

    I’m not a fan of biased conclusions based on Fact Charts. We hate when the gun grabbers distort the facts so why do we love when the bias favors our pro gun beliefs. If there was a chart that had the number of CCW’s issued, number actually used to stop a criminal act, over a period of XX years; a factual conclusion could be made. We know not all CCW presentation/use is reported and neither are all crimes.
    I could look at the articles charts and make these alternative statements:
    Gang on gang murders have reduced the murder and crime rate due to the upside down pyramid effect: kill the BG and you eliminate BG’s potential crimes.
    Obama’s education, job training, extended unemployment, Obama phones, late night youth basketball and all the other handouts have enhanced the standard of living for minorites and reduced the need for criminal activity to sustain themselves. Therefore if we press for full and equal income redistrubution criminal activity will be eliminated.
    Since crime will be eliminated there will be no need to have CCW’s and they will be recinded. In order to prevent firearms accidents and crimes of passion, all firearms will be confiscated. This will also slow down Global Warming from burning propellents and lead spatter cancer risk per the EPA. Wild game populations will increase so people that need to subsistence hunt can use trap, snare and pit methods. Based on PETA Data bow hunting is also banned due to the 2% of animals that are injured or suffer a drawn out death.
    All BS, sure. The point is you should not take all pro gun “fact” as if they came from the burning bush. WE, THE PEOPLE need to hold high standards for ourselves as we do against the gun grabbers.

  • Doug January 4, 2015, 10:15 am

    The chart shows Ohio as “banned conceal carry” – odd since I just renewed by CCW permit with the local sheriff’s office a couple of weeks ago.

  • mtman2 January 3, 2015, 4:50 pm

    Obviously the more guns the less crime as this IS the case. Only to get the message out various locales have had to report the death and gunshot rate on the criminal element as well as word of mouth crook to crook how lucky they were as the homeowner pulled a gun on’em= 2-million plus times a year.
    Evidently they did get the message; of course the socialist ploy of FREE-STUFF has afforded an escape for lazy creeps. HOWEVER when WE take the nation back to sanity that free-ride stuff will end and the creeps will regroup en masse –
    for a while. So get ready ~!

  • Russ January 3, 2015, 3:04 pm

    Give them to the politicians to pin up.
    All of us firearms enthusiast know what’s right.
    A chart being factual of fixed makes no difference to us.
    American History should your guide in relating crime to firearms.

  • Damon Sallee January 3, 2015, 12:46 pm

    Washington is a state predominantly populated with reactionary idiots. If you treasure any of your constitutional rights don’t ever move here.

    • Russ January 3, 2015, 3:36 pm

      Hippy/Grunge movements with their “Kumbaya” give everyone a coke view of life, is probably what’s responsible for it’s downfall.
      The Socialist / Communist type Democrats live in a fairyland world of their own.
      They are in power now, and they don’t like America or how we became the great country we are.
      Their goal is to “Fundamentally Change it”
      It’s why they’re giving up all things Americans fought and died for in our past.
      I see it here in California.
      Thanks for the warning.
      Good luck people.

  • wdcraftr January 3, 2015, 11:21 am

    Guns are a deterrent, as were the nuclear bombs of Russia and America.. If only one side had them, do you think we would still be war free, and peaceful? If the Govt. gets our guns, then One side has All the power, and the other side is a sheep/subject to that power, but if Both sides are armed, that is a deterrent, just as our Constitution meant for America to be.. If our Govt. wants to kill me because I have a firearm, and won’t surrender it, then so be it, as Jesus is waiting for me, in the house he has prepared for me in Heaven, where there are no crime statistics, but only peace, love, and joy..

    • mtman2 January 3, 2015, 5:01 pm

      Also the “Final-Solution” for the God fearing folks is re-education camps where the commies figured they have to
      execute 25-million of us ‘incorrigibles’ and that was almost 50-yrs ago= you can double that number now. Only this was their estimate living in socialist LaLaLand then, not realizing there are WAAY more of us then and believe it even more today and them
      pushing a Great-Awakening would be a BIG BIG mistake. They still live in LaLaLand as the “Silent+Moral Majority” has not awakened into the GIANT-ADVERSARY Adolf feared- calling us the “SLEEPING-GIANT”. Let’s be about waking us all up ~!

    • gary66 January 4, 2015, 10:08 am

      your point is true, but your idea of security off. Your off because we are not two nuclear powers (citizen and government), we are a people with a hand gun and a government with nuclear superiority. In the trap of emotional reasoning we long ago empowered this behemoth with every destructive weapon known to man and stripped the citizen of everything but the most basic tools to defend themselves, many want those taken away as well. We are anything but equal powers keeping each other in check and why I say never to join any “revolutionary force” unless the military splits and is part of it.

      Your point is true because of an ideal that was a lie and proven to be. Before WWI we (many) believed wars were over and making money all their was left. Even after the war started we continued to promote the idea and refused to acknowledge a war was even being fought. Things happened which I’ll skip to get to the event that I believed caused the creation of the Atomic bomb of WWII.

      After the war was over and we became the super power of the would we stood before the nations and declared Wars were over and the only way to disarm is to disarm. We made a treaty with all the other nations good and bad and disarmed. What happens when you disarm yourself willing and trusting the bad guy to do the same? That’s right, they attack which I believed caused us to have to create the atomic bomb to end it, something I don’t think would’ve happened if we’d of maintained a strong defense. There will always be wars and rumors of wars, the bible says so and it isn’t wrong, history proves it, yet we said they were over,

      In who’s hands does that weapon now belong? Why did that weapon get there? Why are those same arguments still being used to disarm Americans of the most basic forms of defense?

      Nothing happens in a bubble, freedom is freedom and must be protected for all in all. Protecting the second and letting everything else go will not do, freedom still tumbles taking all with it. Long ago people didn’t think education was a right and many were denied it, government found a reason the regulate that freedom and public/government education was born. Look at it today, is it any wonder why people are the way we are, we’ve violated freedoms only rule, if we want to protect our own we must protect the freedoms of others there by ensuring our own. Using our own freedom to infringe on the freedoms of others for personal gain produces government as the penalty and it regulates freedom by taking it away from all making all the same. It never gives, it only takes and is always empowered by the actions of the people infringing on freedom.

      Looking at all the infringements on freedom that seal our fate one could say maybe there is some light at the end except for one reason, over 55 million innocent lives have had their freedoms totally ripped away from them in body and spirit, the aborted. No history paints an end to any people who have done that that isn’t as equally violent. Let that nation have wealth and it’s all but assured an opposing force will come, for the gold first, but after they see with their own eye’s what we’ve done, it will be hell on earth for that people, ask the Aztecs if you can find any and by the by, the first African slave came to N America thanks to a priest who had pitty on the Aztec people. He latter spent the rest of his life trying to undo that. Obviously didn’t work and the results are still being played out not to mention our Civil War.

      Nothing happens in a bubble. Freedom for all or there will be freedom for none. That’s the patriots way of saying what God said long ago and this creation was built on, love your neighbor.

  • gary66 January 3, 2015, 9:07 am

    2 things, first the source must be considered. I am not anti government, government must be, but it cannot be denied that it is highly inefficient and grossly abusive of power making any claims through charts unreliable for a multitude of possible reasons and should never be used to prove anything especially this.

    Second, the problem with just about everything today is a total lack of focus, the correct focus has never been “personal” defense and always been persons defending the freedoms of other there by protecting our own freedom. The focus is not stopping the bad guy, but saving the victim and if that means taking a bullet instead of firing into harms way then so be it.

    If gun owners made it clear the safety of others was their purpose gun owners would be well respected. Instead the people believe the gun owner will fire away at the bad guy as long as the bad guy goes down. You can see why the people find both the bad guy and the defender equally offensive, they could be hit.

    Have the correct focus and let it be known to all and government charts will not be needed to prove anything, the people will know. Using government charts is giving them authority and since government never speaks but out of both sides of it’s mouth your just giving an opposition a reason to make their claims legit using the same charts from a source you know isn’t trust worthy.

    When society decays, people decay, when people decay they commit offenses against each other and crimes go unreported because to report a crime opens up all sides to the law. Crime has not gone down, it simply isn’t being reported. Proof society is in decay is found in the focus mentioned, people are only interested in their person and to hell with everybody else. No society will last long like that.

    • m bee January 3, 2015, 10:12 am

      Very well said.

    • Wbhobbs January 7, 2015, 10:50 am

      You say crime has gone up. That’s your opinion which is not backed up by any evidence. There is ample evidence from multiple sources showing crime rates are down.

      • Jm16 January 24, 2015, 8:04 pm

        According to some stats, murders are down. Now that statistic is misleading. It assumes that because the murder rate is down, that the number of attacks with handguns are down. Not true, The fact is, because treatment for gunshot victims
        is a lot more successful nowadays, more people survive, thus the rate for murder is down. The stats for aggravated assaults are up. Seems there are ways to mislead the public into thinking you do not need to arm yourself…The country is getting safer……..NOT TRUE

  • Kevin Yancey January 3, 2015, 8:43 am

    I am less likely to break laws, being a nonviolent gun owner, having my CCW! I don’t want to give a over zealous cop a reason to shoot me 14 times! Or worse yet, lose my right to keep and bear arms!

  • Gary Johnston January 3, 2015, 8:15 am

    I can honestly tell you that an armed citizenry does reduce all types of crime to include property, theft crimes, especially in high crime residential areas.
    At the start of a long career in law enforcement I was of the mindset that removing as many guns from society was a goal that would reduce crime. Wrong. It took about five years to realize that my thinking was completely off base. For the rest of my career I spent training, encouraging citizens to arm themselves to protect their homes and property and saw all types of crime reduced in the northern city in which I worked.
    I can also cite three separate instances as a civilian, had I not been armed, I would have been the victim of an attack, robbery, assault or both and none of these incidents were reported because the individual sensed something was not right and changed their mind. ( It was probably my grin or my hand buried in my pocket as they approached me in one instance. )
    Based upon my personal experience and discussions with friends and family over many years I believe that armed citizens prevent far more crimes than anyone realizes as they have changed the mindset of would be criminals over time simply because criminals fear armed citizens.

    • Stanley Bull January 3, 2015, 1:42 pm

      It isn’t just the criminals that fear armed citizens. The government does also. But then the government seems to be another wing of organized crime now.

  • Richard Smith November 18, 2014, 8:21 am

    Thanks for your blog. I appreciate your diligence in keeping us informed. We cannot afford to neglect the efforts being made by our unscrupulous government representatives. They want us ALL to be their slaves!!!

  • GERALD SMITH November 17, 2014, 10:03 pm

    Alabama should be updated on your map. We became a shall issue state earlier this year.

  • james thomopson November 17, 2014, 4:43 pm

    if crimes arent reported how can theerebe a crime? How can you predict acrime unless its reported? These reports seem inaequate to say they are wrong. Unless they are reported your onoy guessing.

  • thinkingblade November 17, 2014, 1:41 pm

    Unfortunately this isn’t evidence of the position. There are many arguments for crime reduction that anti gun people will put forth attacking this link. The data that should be presented is the crime rate in areas where concealed carry has expanded vs. The crime rate in areas that do not allow it. The second chart should show the crime rate in cities where legal firearms purchase has increased vs. cities that still make ownership extremely difficult, and the third chart should show the comparison of crime rates in major cities allowing concealed carry vs. those that don’t grouped by population size so major cities are compared to each other. To put the nail in the argument, group by population size and income per capita. That would give the picture in 3 charts. Which has been done and tells much the story that we would suspect, it’s just more work to get.

    • Mark Nevins January 3, 2015, 9:01 am

      Correct. I have not read through the FBI Uniform Crime Report in several years, but I seem to recall that Index Crimes were further broken down by major cities/jurisdiction. This report is a good start at a very high level, but the most convincing argument would come from showing the crime statistics from the states that have the highest propensity to restrict concealed carry and compare them to those that do not have similar restrictions.

    • Mark Nevins January 3, 2015, 9:01 am

      Correct. I have not read through the FBI Uniform Crime Report in several years, but I seem to recall that Index Crimes were further broken down by major cities/jurisdiction. This report is a good start at a very high level, but the most convincing argument would come from showing the crime statistics from the states that have the highest propensity to restrict concealed carry and compare them to those that do not have similar restrictions.

  • Mark November 17, 2014, 1:36 pm

    These charts in and of themselves don’t prove that there is a cause and effect relationship between carrying a gun and reducing crime. The better statistics would be to find out how many criminals actually did not perform a crime based on the fact the potential victim had or might have had a gun. I’ve carried a gun for 44 years and I haven’t stopped a single crime.

  • Jim F November 17, 2014, 12:04 pm

    Correlation does not imply causation.
    Concealed carry implies protection in public places. It is already legal to protect one’s self on one’s property and does not require a permit to do so. Property crimes, also declining, generally don’t involve a firearm. To suggest that increases in CCW have resulted in a reduction in crime in-general seems disingenuous and no different than the manipulations of statistics used by gun control advocates.

    • gsf1200 November 17, 2014, 12:38 pm

      He didn’t say ccw reduces crime, but the stats show it doesn’t increase crime. The gun grabbers always say that crime increases when guns are available, this shows that to be false.

      • DaveGinOly November 17, 2014, 1:00 pm

        Correct. The figures can’t demonstrate that “more guns=less crime,” but they do demonstrate that “more guns≠more crime.”
        (There are both more guns in private hands today than, say, two decades ago, and the concealed carry permit figures strongly imply that there are more guns being carried by the law-abiding – or at least that can be the perception of those who may be influenced by the possibility.)

  • James November 17, 2014, 11:27 am

    The law abiding citizen has a constitutional right to bear arms. There is an element who seek to disarm us so that only criminals and the police have firearms. Police can’t be eveywhere and the citizen must at times defend themselves. If proof is needed that banning guns doesn’t work all one has to do is look at the murder capital of the US: Chicago.

  • MSG John Laigaie November 17, 2014, 10:26 am

    If you tell a lie often enough, they will believe it as truth. Please share this information, not with the Choir, but those you know that truly believe the lies being told about guns and the Second Amendment.

  • MSG John Laigaie November 17, 2014, 10:26 am

    If you tell a lie often enough, they will believe it as truth. Please share this information, not with the Choir, but those you know that truly believe the lies being told about guns and the Second Amendment.

  • Ken B November 17, 2014, 10:25 am

    The FBI’s statistics can be very easily misinterpreted to read that crime is down and politicians, especially at the local levels are using them to claim victory over crime. What the report actually reveals is that crimes are not being reported. The study cites “reported violent crimes” and does not expand the statistics to account for unreported crimes.

    According to the White House’s 2014 report on sexual assault 1 in 5 women in the U.S. will be raped in their lifetime. That is the kind of statistic you would expect to read about in a country like Afghanistan. Not America. 12% of the 283,200 annual rape or sexual assault resulted in an arrest, and two-thirds of survivors have had their legal cases dismissed. According to the U.S. Department of Justice report on violent crime published in 2013 the overall nationwide violent crime rate rose. The same study reports that only 44% of violent victimizations and 54% of serious violent victimizations were reported to police. The same is true of property crime.

    Basically, to accurately assess the crime rate in America, account for the 50% or greater of unreported attacks, rapes and burglaries, then take the FBI’s statistics and double them.

    When you breakdown the statistics in the Department of Justice’s report you have about a 1 in 4 chance of being a victim of crime in America. sexual assault report 1-21-14 pdf

    • Defend University November 17, 2014, 11:13 am

      Agree with Ken B. that crime stats are routinely manipulated. However, it’s not completely accurate to take the rate of crime and apply it as a certainty. Case in point, the sexual assault stat of 1 in 5 in the U.S. is generally used (I use it too). But it’s the statistical likelihood of being sexually assaulted, not the certainty of being assaulted. It’s not true that 1 in 5 women WILL be sexually assaulted. Having said that, I totally agree with Ken that the crime is incredibly under reported. I also believe that many sexual assaults committed with a weapon are not charged as sexual assaults, but as aggravated assault (or assault with a deadly weapon) because they are more likely to result in a plea deal or a conviction.

      Other case in point, sexual assaults on college campuses and on military installations are routinely not reported to municipal law enforcement agencies. It all adds up to huge non-reporting or under reporting.

      I believe as individuals we cannot become complacent, even with generally positive statistical trends. Evil people still exist. And they can find any one of us if we are not prepared.

      • thinkingblade November 17, 2014, 1:52 pm

        This is an excellent point, to whit, that sexual assault stat simply takes all reported counts of sexual assault and then divides by the number of adult women. So that stat is flawed in a couple of ways, it counts sexual assault against minors in the numerator, but not children in the denominator. Second it takes each instance of assault, so women in abusive relationships often are assaulted repeatedly each of which gets counted, but doesn’t reasonably figure into a probability of occurrence. Third, it includes statutory rape which is generally consensual, again not reasonable contributing a risk to violent sexual assault.

      • Lee January 3, 2015, 12:16 pm

        one item of note…most college campuses are “gun free” zones (meaning only criminals have guns) and all military installations, ironically, do not allow anyone, except for MPs, to carry on base!

    • DaveGinOly November 17, 2014, 12:54 pm

      There are always “unreported” crimes. Their number are considered to be consistently proportionate to the number of crimes that are reported. Without any facts to the contrary (they are, after all, unreported crimes), the number of unreported crimes may actually fluctuate as a proportion of the reported crimes, but over the years that fluctuation would average out. So the “reported crimes” figure still does reflect accurate trends, even if not the actual numbers of crimes from year to year. It is the trend that is important to this discussion – crime rates have gone down over a period of time when carry laws have been liberalized across the country.

    • Ron R November 17, 2014, 1:55 pm

      Ken B, I do not know any other violent crime that might go unreported than rape and sexual assault – and I truly believe that someone raped or assaulted at gunpoint would certainly report it! It is the date rapes, incest, acqaintance rapes/assaults that usually go unreported. AND, how can anyone with any degree of certainty estimate anything that goes unreported? The bottom line is that gun possession decreases violent crime and stating that gun possession leads to more violent crime is absurd. If this country wants to reduce violent crime, then it needs to change the legal and penal systems to adjudge and maintain stiff penalties for violent crimes. Bad people will get and use guns in violent crimes no matter what gun control laws are in effect – and violent crime can be reduced by making the penalty fopr such crime a deterent to people considering conducting them….

    • Fred November 17, 2014, 10:20 pm

      The stats are compared to the same stars from previous years. The same percentages of unreported and dismissed cases happen with each report. This is tragic but strengthens the validity of these gov’t reports.

    • Voter January 3, 2015, 10:08 am

      You are comparing apples to grapefruit. The FBI statistics come from hard numbers. The BJS gets it’s numbers from a survey of less than .05% of the population conducted by the Census Bureau ( ).

      • Lee January 19, 2015, 12:04 pm

        If anybody is using the FBI report for “hard data”, be wary of what you read. The report is loaded with language regarding data being unconfirmed or that the actual stats themselves rely on something less than actual hard stats. Just like a financial report…be very careful to read the notes and disclaimers before rendering a judgement on the so-called FBI report.
        Additionally, I do believe that there are millions of deterred crimes that go unreported for a variety of reasons. Scare off somebody who is about to attack you on the south side of Chicago…and you have no carry permit or in this case would not be able to get one? Guess what? That is going in the unreported file. Think that does not happen every day in “gun free” cities who defy the SCOTUS? I venture that many crimes and intended crimes go unreported because either the otherwise-law-abiding citizen who is permitted, but carrying where or when they should not, or people who defy local laws outright because they feel the need to defend themselves outweighs the risk of getting arrested for unlawful possession. You can bet that some very good people get arrested for carry firearms illegally, (not sure how that works if our 2nd Amendment rights are not to be infringed, but that is another story), and get popped because a police officer notes a print in clothing or sees something in a vehicle during a stop.

    • Jim January 3, 2015, 10:22 am

      So then, this is similar to Obamas claim that the Democrats won the election because the 2/3rds that didnt vote would have voted for him??? Cummon, that makes no sense. You cannot make up statistics by assuming that what you want is hidden in non reported crimes. If you double all the numbers as you suggest, then crime is still going down because you double EVERY year, not just the one you chose.

    • Steve Snodgrass January 3, 2015, 10:57 am

      We all know that statistics can and are often manipulated and misinterpreted. Ken B. states that “politicians” do this to claim victory over crime, but omits the fact that our current administration is as political as we have ever seen, engaging in using administrative agency’s (IRS, DOJ, ETC) to further their political agenda, rather than serve we the people.

      To claim there is no reduction in crime because many crimes are unreported, is not supportable As pointed out by DaveGinOly, the trend, even of unreported crimes, is down. I would like to see the correlation of these statistic to geographic regions, as suggested by thinkingblade. By drilling down into the data we may be able to understand it, but right now is just shows a downward trend. Is it because of increased gun ownership and the right to carry? I think it is, but can’t use these stats to prove it anymore than someone can use this type of data to support gun bans.

      Ken B states “When you breakdown the statistics in the Department of Justice’s report you have about a 1 in 4 chance of being a victim of crime in America.” Really? Isn’t there a very strong regional, geographic component to that? Just taking the total population and dividing it by the estimated crimes doesn’t illuminate anything. But it does make you wonder what are the chances of a Chicago citizen being a victim of crime.

      Also along with unreported crimes there are also unreported crimes prevented by armed citizens. But I cannot claim that some number such as 1 out of every 5 violent crimes is prevented by an armed citizen, anymore than the White House can claim a large percentage of violent crimes go unreported. Both are probably true but not quantifiable.

  • Charles L Bloss Jr November 17, 2014, 7:53 am

    You are wrong about KS. Concealed carry licenses are easily available. Thanks to legislation last year which put the state in charge of most gun matters, open carry is legal statewide. Automatic knives are legal, as are machine guns with a federal license (tax). Our legislature and governor are very pro-gun, and pro-knife. This next session starting in January I expect ever more loosening of weapon prohibition laws.

    • Charles L Bloss Jr November 17, 2014, 7:56 am

      Please excuse me, I was looking at the older chart. My comments about a pro-gun, pro-knife state still stand.

    • Oz November 17, 2014, 8:31 am

      Well that’s good news for a change.

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend