Question of the Day: Why Are Concealed Carry Permit Holders More Law-Abiding than the General Population?

TTAG commentator HD76 provided some killer info in the comments section underneath the post “Concealed Carry Killers” List Crests 300. And?. He or she linked to data gathered and crunched by the TexasCHLforum.com proving that Texans with a Concealed Handgun License are less likely to commit a crime than the general population. [Click here to download the data set.] At the risk of stating the obvious,Texas doesn’t give licenses to convicted felons; convicted felons are the highest risk group for criminal activity. But are there are other reasons? Before you answer consider this: only two percent of Texans have a license to carry a concealed weapon (I reject the term “permit” for a Second Amendment right). As few as half may actually carry. That’s one percent. Are they a higher class of people or, in the main, gun loons? Why?

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

38 Responses to Question of the Day: Why Are Concealed Carry Permit Holders More Law-Abiding than the General Population?

  1. avatarBLAMMO says:

    “(I reject the term “license” for a Second Amendment right).”

    Not to go off topic, but I think you have it backward. You do not need a permit to exercise a right. Having to preemptively ask or apply for permission, implies that permission can be denied. That would be an infringement. The right is tacit permission. However, if a state or municipality requires you to have a license, that’s merely an administrative formality. (Here in New York City, you get 3 years for violating this “misdemeanor”.)

  2. avatarRobert Farago says:

    Point taken. Text amended.

  3. avatarDave says:

    They have a bit more to lose than the average citizen, so they step more carefully. Just like how someone with a past felony has less to lose.

  4. avatarJOE MATAFOME says:

    Everyone I know with a carry permit is more careful, because they know that one brush with the law can cost them their permit

    • I think Joe may have a point there, but I don’t think it’s as pronounced as the stats seem to indicate. For one thing, many gun incidents which are written down as defensive and legitimate are nothing of the kind. Some are actually criminal, but the benefit of the doubt goes to the “legitimate” gun owner.

      Another thing is any reliance on stats which says how many licenses have been revoked is worthless. Some are not reported, others are just not counted. All the databases are full of holes, you can’t rely on them.

      But, at the end of the day, I’ll agree that most gun owners and most CCW guys are more careful than their non-gun counterparts and they’re more careful than they used to be before they had a gun or a license to carry it. This is because of the reason Joe said.

  5. avatarRudy says:

    Because nobody wants to lose what he likes. Plus, normal people usually behave much better when they are in vicinity or in possession of arms (and other “dangerous things”). I’ve heard some folks call it “responsibility”.

  6. avatarBub says:

    Maybe not a higher class of citizen, but at least a better class. Getting a license to carry shows you are a responsible individual who respects the law. Also, it demonstrates you wish to protect you rights as a individual and no doubt you are someone who respects the rights of others. Bub

    • avatarMagoo says:

      Also, you are not a known criminal, because people with criminal records are not allowed to obtain CC permits. Give yourselves a big hand.

      • avatarHD76 says:

        Not entirely true. A misdemeanor would be on your criminal record. You have to wait for 5 years after being convicted to get a Texas CHL.

        Fromthe section on ELIGIBILITY FOR A TEXAS CHL
        “has not, in the five years preceding the date of application, been convicted of a Class A or Class B misdemeanor or an offense under Section 42.01, Penal Code”

        So someone can make a mistake, and still get their right to carry a concealed carry weapon back, but only after they have shown that they are not readily repeating the same behavior.

        • avatarMagoo says:

          The point being that CC holders are not a cross-section of the general population. They are significantly filtered for criminal behavior. So of course they will be more law-abiding than the general population. That was the purpose of the filtering.

    • A better class because of all the hoops they have to jump through – except Arizona, Alaska and Vermont, I suppose.

      • avatarWilliam says:

        Bless the states that endorse Constitutional Carry! I love being an Alaskan

      • avatarLance says:

        The permit holders in AZ and AK still have to jump through hoops, so they would be filtered just like any other state’s permit holders. You just don’t need said permit to carry. I left out Vermont because they don’t issue a permit.

  7. avatarJames Felix says:

    I think the comments so far have it nailed. Chosing to go armed ensures you’re going to be held to a high standard both criminally and from a civil liability standpoint (and justifiably so). Add that to the fact that license holders tend to have things worth losing like homes, families and jobs and you have a huge incentive for the armed citizen to tread lightly and mind his own business unless forced to do otherwise.

    • avatarMark says:

      It’s definitely having something worth not losing. Most criminals commit crimes because any future that comes out of it is no worse than the reality they’re currently in. People that feel the need to get a CCW permit don’t do so because they have nothing in particular they feel the need to protect. The bigger the stake in the game, the more caution you exercise.

  8. avatarHD76 says:

    I agree with what most have already commented. Fear of a loss of rights is part of why I am so careful about carring a concealed weapon. Not just of the loss of the right that I am now licensed for, and spent time and money to obtain, but of loosing additional rights as well. A misstep with a firearm could land me with a felony, then no guns period.

    I don’t think that is all there is to this though. I do think it is a “better” class of people. Firearm related crimes are what I worry about, but other crimes could have the same affect. I don’t worry about them, as I know they are wrong, and just wouldn’t commit any of them.

    Something that used to be in the older CHLRates excel file was a comparison of the crimes broken down into catagories. I found this for last years data, but it does not have all the supporting numbers with it. It was taken from the same project.

    “Overall – The general population over age 21 is over 15 times as likely to commit any offense listed by DPS as are CHLs

    Assault – The general population over age 21 is over 26 times as likely to commit an assault as are CHLs

    Burglary – The general population over age 21 is almost 223 times as likely to commit a burglary as are CHLs

    Terroristic threat – The general population over age 21 is over 10 times as likely to commit a terroristic threat as are CHLs

    Prohibited Weapons – The general population over age 21 is over 26 times as likely to be convicted of possessing prohibited as are CHLs”

    Another interesting item to note, Texas CHL hlders are less likely to commit a crime that Texas law enforcement oficers, based on conviction rates. The person that put together this information is a supporter of LEOs and respects them, so he said he would not publish this data as to compare it like he did with the general population, other than to say CHL holders have a lower rate. He does, however, use it when dealing with Texas Legislature when fighting for Texans gun rights.

    This information was pulled together by Charles Cotton and texaschlforum.com, Here is link to the thread that discusses it. http://www.texaschlforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=17975&hilit=chl+rates

    p.s. for the record I can be catagorized as being of the male species.

  9. avatarI_Like_Pie says:

    You were right in your initial assessment.

    If you can pass a background check you generally have less crime as seen in the results. General public has a higher percentage who can’t claim to be squeaky clean. Couple that with the work and money that goes into getting the permit and you have your answer.

    It really is as simple as it seems.

  10. avatarMagoo says:

    Ok, where can I go carrying a firearm where I can’t go without a firearm?

    What can I do carrying a firearm than I can’t do not carrying a firearm?

    How does carrying a firearm change my basic behavior? I don’t break the law now. Why do I need to carry a firearm to stop myself from breaking the law? I don’t quite follow what you guys are congratulating yourselves for. Thanks for not stealing cars or assaulting people, I guess, but is it the gun doing that for you?

    • avatarDavid says:

      So you are saying that carrying a firearm makes someone more likely to follow the law because they know the consequences if they break the law and are in possession of said firearm?

      By this logic, would it not benefit us to force everyone to carry a firearm so that they will behave better?

    • avatarMagoo says:

      No, I’m not saying that. I’m asking: Where can I go and what can I do while carrying a firearm where I can’t go or can’t do when I am not carrying a firearm?

      One of the tenets of civilian carry is that one must not let the firearm dictate or determine one’s behavior. Okay. Now what. So you have a gun. So now what.

      For example: Yesterday folks were discussing the dangerous gang conditions at one sports venue. It would be nuts to go into that place without a firearm, they asserted, and I totally agree. But here’s the part they didn’t discuss: it would be equally nuts to go in that place WITH a firearm. The gun doesn’t reduce the potential for danger in any way. It only allows you to shoot your way out it. Oh, well. Whoop-de-doo. That’s completely different. Let’s grab the family and run straight down there. The wife and kids love a good crossfire.

      No, if you have a brain, you aren’t going to that stadium — with or without a gun. The gun is the irrelevant part of the decision-making process. In many ways, carrying a gun is an illusion. It doesn’t offer anywhere near the protection or the freedom that gun loons like to pretend it does.

      • avatarHD76 says:

        I partially agree. If you would not go there without a gun, you probably shouldn’t be going there. In refference to another post I made, I wouldn’t take my family to the Texas/Mexico border right now.

        CHL holders are not police officers. They are not going out looking to stop crime, but if crime finds them they will have a tool at their disposal that will improve their odds of resisting the robbery/rape/assult/beating.

        As they say in the boy scouts “be prepared”.

        Don’t go looking for trouble, but be prepared and vigilent because you do not know when trouble may find you.

      • avatarRudy says:

        Aha. Don’t go anywhere. No concerts, no hockey, football, anyotherball, no Formula-1 (Nascar for you), no movie theaters, no plays, just turtle yourself up and turn your house into fortress, dig a large moat, place several lines of field fortifications, like dragon teeth, Czech hedgehogs, spikes, mines, flak towers, punji sticks, concertina wires… Who needs all those public activities, when there is TV, internet or radio? Ow, enemy (err, sorry, “possible aggressor”) can cut yer wires? Bah, use wireless. Power? Renewable energy sources. Food? Build greenhouses and you can enjoy somewhat tasty moss and fungi.

        • avatarMagoo says:

          Not at all. I don’t live or walk in fear. I simply exercise good judgement. There’s no place you can go with a firearm that you would not go without the firearm. The gun doesn’t extend your freedom of travel. It decreases it.

        • avatarRudy says:

          Yes, guns decrease your freedom of travels. And that’s the problem created by one specific part of our society, who, under wrongful agenda of “safety” creates unnecessary obstacles for law-abiding armed people, spoiling their usual way of life. It is not gun problem, neither armed people problem. It is hoplophobia problem.

          And regarding “good judgment”. All right, let’s throw away all public events as unnecessary (and even harmful, taking away people’s hard earn cash), because they may endanger your life, so you just “don’t go there”. But how about necessary parts of life? Work, for example? What if there are simply no other ways for you to earn money just for food, all of which requires you to walk through “dark alleys and lonely places” and there are no “safe zones” around, to choose “longer, but safer” pass? Impossible in US? Maybe. Reality here. Of course you can object and offer to work near home, to reduce risks. Well, you can try to do that. But answer me, Magoo, will you work for measly 150$ per month, if you rent takes 100 and food requires more than you’ve left? This number hasn’t been taken from my imagination; this is working offer, still hanging on the wall in local postal office. 150 bucks, in local currency.
          You say that with such salaries people cannot buy guns? I doubt that. In nearby countries, with relatively similar salaries, people were able to buy weapons, when their government permitted that. Because even old Nagant revolver, with “kiss your ass dosvidanya” long reload time can make a difference. And they made that difference. More than a decade ago.

    • avatarHD76 says:

      “where can I go carrying a firearm where I can’t go without a firearm?” Texas border towns? Just kidding on that one. You can go without one, but why would you want to?

      Having a CHL, not necessiarly carring a gun, PROVES that you are more law abiding that non CHL holders. Non CHL holders of course include felons and repeat offenders. Not having a CHL does not make you less law abiding, but the group of people you belong to is statistically more likely to commit a crime.

      Having a gun no more makes you less likely to commit a crime than it make you more likely to commit a crime. Like money, knifes, baseball bats and cars; guns are amoral. They are not bad, and do not cause people to do bad things. People choose to use them in this fashion.

      Noone is trying to use this data to argue for stricter controls of non CHL holders. The thought process is that if CHL holders are statistically MORE law abiding, why do they need to have greater restrictions than a group that is statistically less law abiding.

    • avatarRalph says:

      C’mon, fellas and gals. Magoo wants to know where he can go. Let’s tell him.

  11. avatarAK says:

    Magoo, I believe the point is that people with the license are less likely to commit crimes. So worrying about this group committing future crimes should be low on your list of things keeping you awake at night.

    • avatarMagoo says:

      Sure. I just found it amusing: CC’ers high-fiving each other for not being criminals. Way to go guys, keep up the good work. I’m sure some days are harder than others. It’s a process.

      • avatarHD76 says:

        Ah, I see. I thought you were being snerkie in a post earlier, but gave you the benefit of the doubt. I see it was misplaced.

        We are not “high-fiving each other”. It is what it is. We are as a group law abiding, so we take exception to people trying to place restrictions on our freedoms. Especially when we have been proven to law abiding.

        When there are people that claim that “the streets will run with blood” when a restriction is removed for bearing arms, we need to have facts to disprove it.

        If you think it is chest thumping, perhaps it is you that feels inferior when looking at this information. No need to take it out on us, you need to deal with it.

  12. avatarJohn says:

    That graph doesn’t strike me as too valuable. What I would like to see is a comparison of crime rates between those with concealed carry licenses and those who would be eligible, but choose not to have one (the majority of the population).

    My guess is that the numbers are entirely demographic in origin. A subset of the population with the same demographics, but no concealed carry licenses, would probably have the same crime rate.

    • avatarHD76 says:

      The value of this graph is a political one. The data was collected to show Texas Congressmen and Senators that people that get CHLs are very law abiding, and should have few restrictions placed on them. It is used to allow CC in more places, and to prove that CHL holders are not “blood-thirsty, crazy people”.

      When CHL was initially passed, we were not allowed to carry at hospitals, churches, Amusement park and a few other named places. Later many of these were repealed, and they followed the same rules as other properties. This year, Texas passed the employee parking lot bill which will allow employees to keep their weapons hidden in their vehicles at work.

      I think a lot of the crime is going to be repeat offenders, and if you could remove them from the data it would be closer to what CHL holders currently show. For Texas, I don’t see this new graph being very useful right now, as 2a carry does not seem to be coming soon. Yes it would prove that most people are law abiding, but then again I’m (We’re?) not trying to take rights away from them. There are people trying to undermine our 2a rights, and these statistics help show that they are wrong about the whole “blood in the streets” thing.

      • avatarJohn says:

        I get what you’re saying… I was more referring to knowledgeable people on this site, rather than ignorant politicians. Even then, CHL opponents are probably more dishonest than ill-informed.

      • avatarChase says:

        Its immeasurable though. Most violent crime is unsolved, it could be Catholic priests or hardened gang members, the stats won’t say it.

  13. avatarDon says:

    CCP holders are people who are willing to get a CCP rather than CC illegally, i.e. law abiding. They tend to be people who take personal responsibility for things, which means they think about their place in the world, which many people don’t do.

    -D

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  15. Why are they safer? Because no one is going to jump through all the hoops to get a legit concealed carry permit to commit a crime..

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