Right to Carry Debate and Poll
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31 states have Right To Carry laws. 127 million Americans nearly half the U.S. population, including 60% of handgun owners live in Right To Carry states. Twenty-two states have adopted Right To Carry laws since the mid-1980s; 19 states since 1995.
Restrictive carry laws have been on the books for decades, but have never reduced crime. Washington, D.C. and Chicago (which have banned handguns), Detroit and Baltimore are four of the five major U.S. cities with the highest homicide rates.
Do you really believe that if these cities had right to carry laws their crime rates would fall to small town America rates?
In 1987, Florida enacted a "shall issue" RTC law, now the framework for similar laws and legislative proposals in other states. The law was supported by the Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement, Florida Sheriffs Assn., Florida Police Chiefs Assn., and other law enforcement groups. Opponents waged a fear-based campaign, claiming crime would increase if law-abiding citizens carried guns. Anti-gun politicians predicted Florida would become the "GUNshine State." The news media forecast vigilante justice and "Wild West" shootouts on every corner. One newspaper said "[A] pistol-packing citizenry will mean itchier trigger fingers....South Florida's climate of smoldering fear would flash like napalm when every stranger totes a piece, and every mental snap in traffic could lead to the crack of gunfire." Those predictions were ultimately proven false. Florida's homicide rate has decreased 41% since the state adopted its RTC law. In the same period, the national rate has decreased 20%. Only 0.02% of Florida carry permits have been revoked because of firearm crimes committed by license holders. Florida's Licensing Division Director, John Russi, has said of the ratio, "When you compare that to the number of licenses that were issued, that's very small." The firearm crime rate among permit holders, is a fraction of the rate for the state as a whole. (FBI)
States with Right To Carry
laws have lower violent crime rates. On average, they have a 24% lower
total violent crime rate, a 19% lower homicide rate, a 39% lower robbery
rate, and a 19% lower aggravated assault rate, compared to other states
and the District of Columbia. The nine states with the lowest violent
crime rates are all Right To Carry states. (Data: FBI)
Crime is highest in our biggest cities, a large number of these right to carry states are not known for dense populations. Their crime rates would be low with or without right to carry laws.
When Black and Nagin compared crime rate trends two to three years after RTC laws were enacted with rates two to three years prior to enactment, they found no clear pattern in the results indicating that RTC laws reduced violent crime. In some states violent crime decreased after these laws were enacted, while in other states RTC laws were followed by increases in violent crime. When state RTC laws were examined separately, the laws had no consistent effect on any category of crime. In states which did experience reductions in violent crime, one cannot confidently attribute the reductions to RTC laws. For example, Oregon's RTC law was associated with lower violent crime, but the legislation which eased restrictions on concealed gun carrying also extended waiting periods and strengthened background checks for handgun purchases. The reduction in crime could be just as easily attributable to the new restrictions on handgun purchases as to the eased restrictions on carrying permits. As discussed above, there are several factors that could just as easily explain the declines in Florida's homicides during the early 1990's that Lott and Mustard attribute to the delayed effects of the 1987 RTC law. The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research
If anything, this study proves that right to carry laws do not automatically increase crime.