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Surprise: Study Finds No Rise in Violent Crime Attributable to Adopting Right-to-Carry Laws

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Surprise: Study Finds No Rise in Violent Crime Attributable to Adopting Right-to-Carry Laws

As we’ve noted recently, much research purporting to demonstrate connections between access to guns or right-to-carry laws and increases in crime is seriously flawed.  Often it's an attempt to curtail or eliminate Americans’ rights under the Second Amendment rather than unbiased scientific research.

One recent study bucked that trend, however, finding no evidence of a link between access to firearms and increases in crime. “State Level Firearm Concealed-Carry Legislation and Rates of Homicide and Other Violent Crime,” (Hamill, Hernandez, Bailey, Zielinski, Matos, & Schiller, 2018), examined an expansive dataset, encompassing all 50 states and the District of Columbia – from 1986 to 2015 – to determine whether a relationship existed between liberalization of access to legal concealed carry of firearms and rates of both violent and nonviolent crime.

The 30 years’ worth of crime data comprised state-level crime rates for homicides, violent crime, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and burglary from the Department of Justice Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) system. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided partially redundant figures, including state-based rates of homicide overall and firearm-specific homicide. State-specific rates of unemployment were provided by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, and poverty rates were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Hamill et al. (2018) defined the ease with which state residents could obtain a carry permit in two ways:

  • On a four-point scale: (1) no carry; (2) may-issue; (3) shall-issue; or, (4) unrestricted (i.e., constitutional carry)
  • With a simpler, bipolar system which grouped the no-carry and may-issue schemes, versus the shall-issue and unrestricted arrangements

Using a form of linear regression modeling which allowed for multiple predictor and control variables as well as correlations among error terms (due to the time-based nature of the data), the authors estimated the various UCR and CDC crime statistics as a function of ease of obtaining carry permits, after controlling for state and year. No significant relationships were noted between ease of carry – whether measured on the four-point or bipolar scales – and rates of crime in any of the UCR or CDC categories. Repeating the analyses, but additionally controlling for level of poverty and unemployment, the Hamill team again found no statistical relationships between the ease with which carry permits could be obtained – regardless of measurement scheme – and crime rates in any category.

The authors concluded:

After adjusting for several population and demographic factors, we demonstrated that the rates of homicide and violent crime were not significantly increased after state laws were passed making access to concealed-carry permits less restricted. These important findings should inform further public policy research to help determine root causes and solutions to firearm-related homicide and violent crime in the future. (Hamill et al., 2018, p. 5)

As the authors noted, the study was correlational in nature and did not demonstrate causation (or lack thereof). Additionally, there were variables with potential explanatory power that were not included in the models, because the authors plan to do so “as a topic of future research” (Hamill et al., 2018, p. 7). Yet, however unlikely it may be that research such as this will convince many in the anti-gun crowd – whose minds seem closed to objective data which conflict with the “bad gun” narrative – it is refreshing to see objective minds investigate the association between guns and crime with the intent of letting the data write the story, rather than seeking evidence to buttress already-worn arguments.

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Bloomberg Dismisses Texas Hero, Insists It Wasn’t His “Job” to Have a Gun or Decide to Shoot

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Monday, January 6, 2020

Bloomberg Dismisses Texas Hero, Insists It Wasn’t His “Job” to Have a Gun or Decide to Shoot

Jack Wilson – a 71-year-old congregant of the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Tex. – is a hero to most Americans. When a deranged man savagely murdered two of Mr. Wilson’s fellow ...

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Alert! Florida REPUBLICAN Senators Vote for Massive Gun Control Bill

On Monday, 1/13/20, it happened again.  Senate President Bill Galvano picked a fight with Floridians who believe in the constitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms. It is well known -- even by the media ...

Virginia: Bill Filed to Eliminate Right-to-Carry Permit Reciprocity!

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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Virginia: Bill Filed to Eliminate Right-to-Carry Permit Reciprocity!

In an unhinged effort to attack Virginians’ Second Amendment rights, one member of the Michael Bloomberg-bought General Assembly is willing to undermine a bipartisan policy advanced by the previous Democratic governor and target one of the state’s ...

New Hampshire: Bill to Shut Down Shooting Ranges Set for Committee Hearing

Thursday, January 16, 2020

New Hampshire: Bill to Shut Down Shooting Ranges Set for Committee Hearing

On January 23rd, the New Hampshire Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing on Senate Bill 469, sponsored by Senator Jeanne Dietsch (D – District 9), at 10:00 AM in Room 100 of the State ...

Grassroots Ramp Up Continues in the Old Dominion

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Friday, January 10, 2020

Grassroots Ramp Up Continues in the Old Dominion

Virginia’s General Assembly officially kicked off on January 8th, and the newly-controlled anti-gun legislative body is wasting no time in pushing its crusade against our gun rights.  Facing a barrage of bills anathema to our ...

Virginia: Senate Passes Three Anti-Gun Bills

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Virginia: Senate Passes Three Anti-Gun Bills

On Thursday, January 16th, the Virginia Senate voted to pass three of the anti-gun bills that the Senate Judiciary Committee approved on Monday. The fight is far from over! Dozens of other gun control bills ...

Washington: “Gun-Free Zone” Bill on Senate Floor

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Washington: “Gun-Free Zone” Bill on Senate Floor

On January 13th, the Washington Senate pulled Senate Bill 5434 from the Senate Rules Committee back to the floor, where it can receive a vote at any time. SB 5434 was retained as a carry-over ...

California: Self-Defense Bill Fails to Pass Committee

Thursday, January 16, 2020

California: Self-Defense Bill Fails to Pass Committee

This week, Assembly Bill 503 failed to pass out of the Assembly Public Safety Committee on a party line vote.   AB 503, sponsored by Assembly Member Heath Flora (R-12) would have allowed an individual with a valid ...

Washington: Additional Hearing Scheduled on Gun Ban Bills

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Washington: Additional Hearing Scheduled on Gun Ban Bills

On Tuesday, January 21st, at 10AM, the House Civil Rights & Judiciary Committee will consider several anti-gun bills that would severely restrict the Constitutional Rights of law-abiding Washingtonian citizens. This hearing comes just one day ...

Virginia: Senate Voting On Anti-Gun Bills Today!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Virginia: Senate Voting On Anti-Gun Bills Today!

The anti-gun majority continues to fast track their agenda. On January 16th, the full Virginia Senate will be holding floor votes on the gun control bills that only left committee on Monday.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.