Whenever a state considers a constitutional carry bill, opponents offer dire warnings about rising rates of homicide and violent crime.
However, according to new research from the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC), allowing permit-less carry hasn’t led to increasing rates of violent crime. If anything, these rates have gone down in states that removed the requirement to obtain a permit before carrying a handgun.
Professor Carl Moody, CPRC’s research director, aggregated crime data from 13 states that have passed constitutional carry and could provide data since 2018. He compared the rates of murder, violent crime, police officer killings, and firearm homicides from the four years before a state introduced constitutional carry to the six years after.
He reported no statistically significant change in violent crime, police killings, and firearm homicide, and a drop in the murder rate.
These findings come as no surprise to the pro-Second Amendment community. Concealed carry practitioners are famously law-abiding, and in 2018, Dr. Mark Hamill published a paper that found “no statistically significant association” between the relaxing of firearm regulations and the rates of homicide or other violent crime.
This hasn’t stopped the anti-gun lobby from characterizing states with constitutional carry as Wild West murder capitals.
Everytown quotes a West Virginia police officer describing those who practice constitutional carry as having “no experience of safety or shooting,” which makes them “more of the problem on the streets than making the streets safer.”
The group worries that allowing people to carry a firearm without a license will lead to the shooting of innocent bystanders and “unarmed people,” and they claim that constitutional carry laws are a “precursor” to violent crime.
“Laws that weaken a state’s firearm permitting system have been a precursor to permitless carry legislation, and a substantial body of research shows that these laws have led to a rise in gun violence and violent crime more broadly,” the group writes.
Nowhere does Everytown describe the percentage of criminals who start carrying a firearm after a state passes constitutional carry. That’s probably because the number is zero. The people responsible for the vast majority of violent crime in the U.S. don’t care whether their actions are legal or not. Most criminals are already prohibited from owning a firearm, much less carrying one, but they do it anyway.
Moody’s research does not claim that constitutional carry lowers crime rates, but the doomsday scenarios concocted by the anti-gun lobby have clearly not panned out.
Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Indiana, Nebraska, and Ohio are currently considering constitutional carry bills, and 21 states allow for some form of constitutional carry.