Across the country news media both new and old are talking about a study recently published in the Journal of Criminology (which, according to their ‘About Us’ page is “a peer-reviewed, open access journal that publishes original research articles as well as review articles in all areas of criminology”). Authored by Charles D. Phillips of the Department of Health Policy and Management at Texas A&M University, Concealed Handgun Licensing and Crime in Four States is not the sort of study we usually see from academics in the health policy field. Don’t get me wrong, it contains much of the junk science we have come to expect from such researchers; assumptions presented as facts, cherry-picked data and data sets, ignoring inconvenient data, etc. . . .
Just as one example, in their introduction the authors state (vis-à-vis shall-issue laws):
However ambiguous the results of the research on this topic may be, the effect of the passage of CHL legislation is, in reality, no longer a pressing policy issue.
Ambiguous? I think Chuck needs to invest in a good dictionary; as Dr. Lott pointed out back in 2012:
Among peer-reviewed national studies by criminologists and economists, 18 find that right-to-carry laws reduce violent crime, 10 claim no effect, and just one claims one type of crime temporarily increases slightly.
So with Chuck’s study added in, we now have 29 studies showing no adverse effect from loosened permitting laws and one showing a temporary increase (followed by an overall decrease) in a single category of crime. Those results are hardly “ambiguous.”
But what distinguishes Chuck’s study from so many other public health policy efforts? He at least has the intellectual honesty to admit that passing shall-issue laws doesn’t increase crime.
For years, every time civil libertarians have tried to loosen permit laws the antis have made dire predictions of “blood in the streets,” “firefights over parking spots,” “OK Corral-style shootouts,” even “dogs and cats living together.” And for years gunnies have argued that the mere presence of a gun does not somehow transform everyday law-abiding OFWGs (or anyone else exercising their RKBA) into ravening monsters just itching for an opportunity to “slap leather” and murder people by the busload.
It’s nice to see at least some of these public health types are finally starting to catch on.