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In September of 2021, Texas became the twenty-first state to allow some form of permitless or “constitutional” carry. That means in Texas, if you are at least 21 years old and you are not prohibited from lawfully possessing a firearm under Texas or federal law, you can carry a handgun without a permit either openly or concealed.

Since Texas enacted its law, four other states have done the same, bringing the total of constitutional carry states to 25.

While there are some differences in how these states have implemented constitutional carry (e.g., a couple of them require you to be a resident of the State to carry, while others set an age minimum, etc.) it’s fair to say that overall, half of all states now allow citizens who can legally possess a firearm to carry at least a handgun without a permit. This national wave has been a tremendous victory for gun rights and continues the trend of expanding the right to carry.

Of course, not everyone was pleased that Texas chose to respect the right to keep and bear arms. The news of constitutional carry in the Lone Star State was met with the all of the usual sky-is-falling warnings of doom from all of the usual anti-gun suspects.

For example, Ari Frielich, state policy director for the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said that permitless carry could drastically endanger Texas residents and even law enforcement officials.

The research is clear that flooding public spaces with more hidden loaded guns in more hands makes them less safe. It turns more arguments, road rage incidents, and fistfights into shootings, more injuries into burials, and it can create a civilian arms race in communities most impacted by violence.

Freilich’s talking points are hardly original. Every time a state adopts constitutional carry, anti-gun groups, as well as much of the media (but I repeat myself), warn that every minor dispute will turn into a bloody shootout and the state’s homicide rate will therefore skyrocket. They also claim that the “research is clear” in favor of their arguments.

But is it really?

With so many states now having enacted some form of constitutional carry, this is no longer a hypothetical question. While some states have only recently enacted these laws, most others have had them for several years.

As of 2020, the most recent year for which detailed CDC data is available, 16 states had already embraced constitutional carry. By looking at the homicide rates in those states as well as their gun homicide rates in particular, we can get an idea of whether constitutional carry states actually are more dangerous than the nation as a whole.

If the anti-gun argument is correct, constitutional carry states should be far more violent, especially in the crime-surge year of 2020.

Fortunately, the CDC provides very detailed statistics on public health, including data on underlying causes of death, so we can check. The statistics are reported online through the CDC’s WONDER tool, an acronym which stands for “Wide-ranging ONline Data for Epidemiologic Research.” All of the data I am about to discuss can be found through that tool.

The overall US homicide rate was 7.5 per 100,000 in 2020, and the gun-related homicide rate was 5.9 per 100,000. Here is the data for each of the 16 states that were constitutional carry in 2020:

    1. Alaska – 7.5 homicides per 100,000; 3.7 gun-related homicides per 100,000.
    2. Arizona – 7.1 homicides per 100,000; 5.1 gun-related homicides per 100,000.
    3. Arkansas – 12.2 homicides per 100,000; 9.3 gun-related homicides per 100,000.
    4. Idaho – 2.3 homicides per 100,000; 1.4 gun-related homicides per 100,000.
    5. Kansas – 6.7 homicides per 100,000; 5.5 gun-related homicides per 100,000.
    6. Kentucky – 9.0 homicides per 100,000; 7.6 gun-related homicides per 100,000.
    7. Maine – 1.6 homicides per 100,000; 1.1 gun-related homicides per 100,000.
    8. Mississippi – 19.4 homicides per 100,000; 16.8 gun-related homicides per 100,000.
    9. Missouri – 13.1 homicides per 100,000; 11.1 gun-related homicides per 100,000.
    10. New Hampshire – 1.0 homicides per 100,000; no gun-related homicide data provided.
    11. North Dakota – 3.9 homicides per 100,000; 2.2 gun-related homicides per 100,000.
    12. Oklahoma – 8.6 homicides per 100,000; 6.8 gun-related homicides per 100,000.
    13. South Dakota – 5.8 homicides per 100,000; 2.9 gun-related homicides per 100,000.
    14. Vermont – 2.2 homicides per 100,000; no gun-related homicide data provided.
    15. West Virginia – 6.4 homicides per 100,000; 4.9 gun-related homicides per 100,000.
    16. Wyoming – 4.3 homicides per 100,000; 3.1 gun-related homicides per 100,000.

This listing shows that constitutional carry states certainly don’t have a perfect record. Mississippi in particular seems to have a horrific violent crime problem, as do Arkansas and Missouri to lesser degrees. But I will not dismiss any state as an outlier…all 16 are included in the averages.

Another issue is that gun-related homicide data is not available for Vermont or New Hampshire. For the sake of argument, I’m going to assume that 100% of all of their homicides were committed with guns, even though that obviously isn’t true.

With that in mind, the results are as follows: the average overall homicide rate among the sixteen constitutional carry states in 2020 was 6.9 per 100,000, beating the national average of 7.5 per 100,000. Perhaps more surprisingly, constitutional carry states also saw a lower gun-related homicide rate: 5.3 per 100,000, compared to the national figure of 5.9 per 100,000.

Open carry AP feat
(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Whether or not a difference of 0.6 per 100,000 in each measure speaks to any kind of statistical significance is debatable. Moreover, there are certainly criticisms one could level at this analysis. Perhaps several of these states have independent reasons for why their homicide rates aren’t very high overall despite constitutional carry, or maybe one could argue the negative, that these states would have even lower homicide rates if it weren’t for such laws.

Regardless, the data does not support the anti-gunners’ argument that constitutional carry states are especially violent and that violence is caused by permitless carry. Even when it comes to gun-related homicide, constitutional carry states are at least as safe as the nation as a whole, and perhaps slightly safer.

 

Konstadinos Moros is an Associate Attorney with Michel & Associates, a law firm in Long Beach that regularly represents the California Rifle & Pistol Association (CRPA) in its litigation efforts to restore the Second Amendment in California. You can find him on his Twitter handle @MorosKostas. To donate to CRPA or become a member, visit https://crpa.org/.

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78 COMMENTS

  1. Red States Have More Murders Than Blue States

    However, Texas itself has an out-of-control murder problem that can’t be chalked up simply to a few Democratic mayors and county judges. The state has a 6.64 murder rate per 1000,000 residents, higher than every blue state except New Mexico, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Delaware, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Tellingly, four of those states only recently flipped in the 2020 election and two of them have Republican governors. On average, Third Way found that states which went for former President Donald Trump have a 40 percent higher murder rate than those who went for President Joe Biden.

    It makes a lot of sense when the causes of violence are looked at more closely. Consider Chicago, which is a favorite target of Second Amendment extremists because of its higher murder rate (28.49 per 100,000) and stringent gun control. However, most guns used in crimes in Chicago aren’t purchased in Chicago or even Illinois. Sixty percent of guns recovered in crimes in Chicago come from Indiana and Mississippi, two very red states with extremely lax gun laws that are within easy driving distance of the Windy City.

    Of the ten states with the most murders, eight of them are solidly Republican controlled. When it comes to recent increases in crime, red states dominated as well. Six of the ten states that saw the most dramatic increases are conservative dominated.

    In shouldn’t be that much of a surprise. Two aspects of conservative ideology are reliable drivers of crime: lack of a social safety net and easy access to weaponry. For instance, Mississippi is the state with both the highest poverty rate and the highest murder rate.

    https://www.reformaustin.org/public-safety/red-states-have-more-murders-than-blue-states/

    • Author here.

      “However, Texas itself has an out-of-control murder problem”

      How do you figure? Per the CDC data, Texas’ homicide rate was 7.5 per 100,000, exactly the same as the national rate.

      Also, the focus on “Red states” is weird, because not all constitutional carry states are red states. New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine mostly vote Democrat, but are also very progun. They also boast the lowest homicide rates in the nation.

      “However, most guns used in crimes in Chicago aren’t purchased in Chicago or even Illinois.”

      So how come Indiana’s homicide rate is lower than Illinois? In fact, Illinois has higher a higher homicide rate than all the (red) states close to it except Missouri, and Missouri is not close to Chicago.

      “Of the ten states with the most murders, eight of them are solidly Republican controlled.”

      Yes, and all of those 8 states are southern states, without exception. Red states in other areas do not have that problem. It’s also not even proportional even within a state, it’s the CITIES in those states, and the cities are usually Democrat-run.

      Take Missouri for instance. Kansas City last had a Republican mayor in 1991. St. Louis’ last GOP mayor left in 1949. Combined, these blue cities have about 12.5% of red state Missouri’s population. They have HALF its homicides.

      • You did a great overall analysis and pretty much what we have observed with crime patterns here in NY vs our neighbors but you are responding to one who at best is arguing in bad faith. Will be interesting to see how he attempts to spin it though.

        • Thanks.

          I know he is responding in bad faith. The response isn’t really for him, it’s for others reading who might buy into what he posted.

        • And now that I look at 2019 vs 2020 NY involving intentional firearm homicide rates for Large Central, Large Fringe, and Medium metro cities I can see the jump that bail reform allowed of 1.8 to 3.1. Will be interesting to see what last year ended up being by their count but roughly doubling the murder rate in the population centers sounds about right.

        • Unhunh and Texas has areas like Austin that is sickly liberal and generate those stats you’re pushing who also has loads of illegals thanks to you liberals.

        • Don I do believe that you can get the numbers for that city as a municipality for statewide comparison.

      • how come Indiana’s homicide rate is lower than Illinois?

        Cause the Bangers from Chiraq are coming down and buying up all those rogue guns that want to get out and shoot someone.

        • I wish the steppers would explain how IL residents are doing that without an IN address.

        • wish the steppers would explain how IL residents are doing that without an IN address.

          Don’t need an address when your dealer works out of a van in the back of a truck stop parking lot. Ever been to Gary In? Of course, there’s the “banger” that killed the female Chiraq cop, his cousin in Indiana bought that piece.

        • @No Step On Snek: Because you’ll find that most of those guns are illegally bought on the black market and they “don’t need no stinkin’ address.”

      • Mr. Moros. dacian is a well know mentally ill troll that stalks this site. Pay him no heed. We view him as comic relief.

      • Has anyone dug into the records of the guns used in violent crimes in Chicago and cities like it? My guess is when they say most of the guns recovered come from Indiana and Mississippi do they report that most are stolen? a convicted felon can not buy a gun legally and most law adiding citizens do not commit violent crime then where are these guns comming from?

        • You really are “Old Air Force” (but so am I); let me explain how things work.

          A firearm is legally purchased. Now the secure storage/possession of that firearm is in the hands of a legal owner who is not mentally, or physically, prepared to provide proper possession, or storage of the firearm.

          Later, that legally-purchased firearm falls into the hands of a criminal/gang member, who uses the firearm to commit more crime. Thus, the original firearm owner is responsible for any criminal acts where the once legally possessed firearm is used.

          Take away all the guns legally possessed, and, viola’, the criminal element has no source of more/replacement guns; the current inventory of illegally possessed guns will eventually dry up, and we have no more “gun crime”.

          Couldn’t be more simple.

        • the current inventory of illegally possessed guns will eventually dry up, and we have no more “gun crime”.

          Yeah that shouldn’t take more than 25/30 years. Better idea, lock up anyone who uses a gun during the commission of a crime and keep that dumbass in jail for the rest of his/her/they/them/zis/zer/whatever natural life and start educating kids again instead of trying to “reassign” their genders and convince them that they are all victims or racists.

    • Blah blah blah blah, blah blah blah.

      In all your blathering you didn’t even TRY to dispute the basic finding of this article.

      The liberal nonsense about “wild west” and “rivers of blood” started when FL adopted Shall Issue CCW in 1987. The predictions of mayhem failed to materialize. And continued to fail to materialize year after year, decade after decade.

      Between 1987-2013 31 States shifted from May Issue or No Issue to Shall Issue. In 31 States, despite the predictions of apocalypse, homicides and shootings did NOT increase. Not until the Soros wave of woke Prosecutors turned control of the asylums over to the inmates.

      Which has absolutely NOTHING to do with LEGALLY bearing arms.

      Take your pompous analysis and file it where it belongs. In the trash.

      • Which has absolutely NOTHING to do with LEGALLY bearing arms.
        Oh, I disagree. The need to bear arms increases significantly once those folks get hold of the system.

    • When guns begin committing crimes sans human involvement, your argument may have some merit. Regardless of source, guns criminally used in Chicago are wielded by violent Chicagoans. And I would be willing to bet that only a few scores of Chicagoans are chronically responsible for the huge murder rate. Violent geographical areas are universally urban and Democrat. State political color hardly matters.

    • I don’t think the whole “guns used here are bought there” argument is the big win you idiots think it is. In fact it’s a pretty racist argument to make.

    • reformaustin.org🙄
      Really lil’dtard?

      Did you see the ‘big’ story reformaustin broke today?
      Harry Styles (UK subject) supports Robert Francis O’Rorke for Texas governor. 🤪

    • Dacian, why is there a high correlation between you fine upstanding antifa members and child sex offenders?

      • The ss has always recruited scum for their ranks. Pedos, mental cases, criminals have always been welcome in their ranks. Started in the 1930’s and continues through to the modern ss/antifa.

    • Your argument is specious because it is against federal law to purchase a handgun in any state except your home state, so traveling from Chiraq to some other state to purchase a handgun is federally a no-no. Some states like the peepuls republik of kallyfornicadia also prohibits its serfs from purchasing any firearm out of state and bringing it back into the peace kingdom.

    • dacian the Dunderhead. You are at it again, I see. it seems that the Austin papers’ number are not as accurate as you and they might like. They don’t seem to take into account that Texas thanks to Sleepy Joe and his minions also has a major drug problem due to the Mexican Cartels which in turn causes violence with firearms.
      It seems you are picking on Texas.
      While New Mexico is a border state, they don’t seem to have the drug problem that Texas has.
      Did you take that into account? No? Why not?
      Seems you favorite state California has a murder rate of 6.1 per 100000. If “gun control (sic)” is so effective how come their rate isn’t lower?

    • What I miss in this article is the number of justified shootings. E.g. legal defense situations. I’ve seen statistics of shootings where police actions were cited… It seems like even those shoot-outs are questioned by some.

  2. Well…that does not fit the agenda…will never see it posted in the MSM.
    Much like all the defensive gun uses…the good cop shootings…the mass shootings involving gangs/drug dealers…all the black on black violence.

  3. When they come to take mine they will get more gun violence than they want. If you poke the hornets nest is it the hornets fault you get stung?

    • You been watching too many movies bro. You ain’t gonna win against swat period, end of discussion. The best you can hope for is being dead because 23 hours a day inside a cell by yourself in a supermax prison is worse than death.

      • Death where is thy sting, grave where is thy victory? I don’t think there is a swat team here, probably do something different out here in the boondocks. Either way dead is dead, not that big of a step for a stepper.

  4. States that deny Constitutional Carry do nothing but supply victims for criminals. The choice is to abide by such an insane law and risk being carved up like a Turkey by a knife weilding maniac or have on hand the means of self defense and let the chips fall where they may.

  5. “The research is clear that flooding public spaces with more hidden loaded guns in more hands makes them less safe.”

    Strange, ‘gun violence’ was twice as bad 20 years ago, and in that 20 years, tens of millions of new guns are ‘on the streets’ in circulation.

    More guns led to much less violence.

    I *despise* Leftist Scum ™ that lie… 🙁

  6. It has become so blatantly obvious that places that are run by Democrats with the strictest gun laws are the very same places that experience the most bloodshed and carnage. No state, county, or city is problem free but you can minimize the issues the saying no to the Democrat Progressive.

    A major election is coming up. Every vote for a Democrat translates to more shootings, drug overdoses, and general chaos. That’s not even to mention Democrats are pushing hard for war. Possibly nuclear war.

    • Yeah, but if I don’t vote for the pro-segregation party of the Klan that shot MLK I’ll get called racist.

      • The word “racist” is just a word and it’s one that doesn’t mean anything anymore. If your worried about that then you are part of the problem. This is one of the reasons why the Republican party is filled will spineless weak kneed fools. We live in a time where EVERYTHING is racist. That in itself means NOTHING is racist. Get over it and move on. Just do what you need to do.

        • “racist…doesn’t mean anything anymore.”

          Actually it means you’ve already won the argument when they resort to that.

    • Exactly! If you factor out the 22 counties with the large Democrat run cities in them that have the highest violent crime rates the U.S. is the safest country on Earth. High violent crime has nothing to do with how many guns there are. It has everything to do with the mentality of the Democrats who are running those cities.

  7. Data is racist and the ability to add two and two is white privilege. For a more equitable society we must remove all data, numbers and math from our daily lives.

  8. Well, whether that .6 per 100,000 is statistically significant or not is sort of a moot point to the actual people that number represents. The individuals still vertical and breathing matter – not the collectivist nonsense that the Left keeps pushing. Thank Heaven Ohio joined the Free States – I’m too old to relocate.

  9. There you go trying to confuse dacyboy with facts again… But I’m pretty sure he’ll dive in here with his own “truths” any moment now and we know THEY choose truth over facts…

  10. Like comparing apples to snowblowers…Every state is different in terms of size, population, social and economic make-up, racial and ethnic backgrounds and so on. Most of the States on the list have people living in wider spaces or it’s a state with a bunch of white people! You’d have to drive half an hour in Idaho just to find someone to shoot!

    • LOL buddy you are about a sentence or two away from a verbal counselling/remedial workplace etiquette training where I work. Obviously not incorrect in your statements but hilarious how that is not allowed to play a role in how we can present data. Now we can say that within many of the more urbanized locations we are seeing an increase in violence where the red state urbanized zones while typically having a higher incidence rate of violent crime than ours are generally seeing a decrease in their activity but articulating why is …………..fun if one wants to remain employed and not harassed by labor relations.

    • We’re not allowed to compare apples to apples. We might notice some un-approved trends.

      What you’re supposed to do is intentionally compare apples to oranges as in “Japan has less crime than Detroit therefore gun control works” or “Greenwich, CT has less crime than St. Louis therefore we need wealth redistribution.”

      These comparisons obviously make no sense and are completely useless but this is exactly the sort of “study” that gets play on the nightly news and on the 24/7 news channels and preached about by politicians to their idiot followers.

  11. “The research is clear that flooding public spaces with more hidden loaded guns in more hands makes them less safe.”
    This statement is such a crock of feces. How can research know “flooding public spaces” even exist if they are “hidden”?
    Statements such as this are ridiculous and defy logic in that they think the bad guys are waiting on some new law before they carry open or concealed! Blinded by their own lack of foresight mixed with a desire to punish law abiding citizens instead of those who commit crimes.

  12. Nearly all of those 16.9/100,000 in MS are in and around Metro Jackson. If you want to know why, simply look up the demographics for Jackson.

  13. Nearly all of those 16.8/100,000 in MS are in and around Metro Jackson. If you want to know why, simply look up the demographics for Jackson.

  14. I know that it’s too controversial and socially sensitive to bring up, but since you cited specific violent crime problems in several states, I will risk it. Compare these states with the demographics of those states. Gun crime is statistically demonstrable as a factor of racial makeup. Sad? Yes! Unfortunate? Definitely! Arguable? No!

  15. Did I miss something, here?

    The data compares homicides per 100,000 (all causes), with homicides related to use of firearms (single cause).

    The homicides by use of firearms appears to be a very significant portion of overall homicides. Is that something in our favor?

    If the point of the article was to demonstrate that firearms are not a healthy contributor to overall homicides per 100,000, then the author failed. If the point of the article was to demonstrate that homicides by use of firearms didn’t change much after states enable “constitutional carry”, the author buried the lede in the last paragraph; should have been highlighted prior to illustrating how that conclusion was supported.

    Thinking of another complication with the article….”constitutional carry” is not acting as much of a deterrent to homicides, all sources.

  16. @Rider/Shooter
    “Or in correlation with more northerly, colder states?”

    c’mon, mon. You’re making this more complicated than necessary.

    Just as mobile homes attract hurricanes and tornadoes, a rise in gun ownership is directly related to the rise in overall crime. There is also the Wall Street effect: when news outlets focus on economic recession, Wall Street loses money.

    • I thought everyone was following Puppet & Company’s lead and just ignoring the recession.

      A majority of global CEOs see a recession hitting in the next year
      -Business Insider 10/04/22

      “And I thought the prior conversation that Joe had on the prospects of a recession at about 50/50, that seems right to me.”
      -NJ Governor Murphy a few days ago

      Uh guys? We’re in a recession. Ignoring it does not change that fact.

      American Rescue Plan…Inflation Reduction Act
      What a joke! Yet people will fall for it.

      • Ignoring it may not technically change that fact, but it will allow them to blame the republicans for it next year after they take control of the senate and house when they change their tune and go “Oh No! we’re now in a recession” which the media will happily run with.

        • Yep and when things eventually get better, even if it’s eight years down the road, they’ll say it’s all because of the Rescue Plan, etc. They did that with Obama’s failed Recovery Act. People have been conditioned to ignore reality (men can get pregnant).

        • MADDMAXX October 5, 2022 At 06:44
          Your comment is awaiting moderation
          after they take control of the senate and house when they change their tune and go “Oh No! we’re now in a recession” which the media will happily run with.

          AND it’s a good plan, lay the recession at the feet of the Republicans then fight them on everything they try to do to “fix” it, find someone presentable to run in 24 then “run” on lower taxes, increased oil and gas production and keep the Whitehouse for four more years. The general population is stupid, uninformed and believe what they want to believe, the Republicans are too busy sucking up to the Democrats to ever call them out properly and surveying the damage that they have already accomplished through Braindead all they will need is four more years… If you are not ready to start shooting by then you might as well break out the kneepads. “Moderated”? Interesting…

        • but it will allow them to blame the republicans for it next year

          Yep, as Braindead drained our SOR (part of which he sold to CHINA) he took ALL the credit for the falling gas prices which was artificial, as they lowered Regular grades of gas, they kept Premium gas AND Diesel prices higher, but now Regular is creeping back up and they have gone back to blaming “Putin’s War” and the Pandemic that Braindead declared over last month. If that fails, they will blame the Republicans for voting against ALL of Braindeads plans for economic recovery and his energy “plans”. OH, AND climate change…

  17. @MADDMAXX
    “the current inventory of illegally possessed guns will eventually dry up, and we have no more “gun crime”.

    “Yeah that shouldn’t take more than 25/30 years.”

    If it saves only one life, it is worth the wait.

    • Bingo. Give SteveMac a congratulatory cigar for saying what must never be said.

      Legal gun ownership does not correlate to high crime rates. Demographics is the cause of high crime, but few will admit it for fear of being called the R word.

  18. Analyze the gun deaths suicide vs murder and by ethnicity. CDC/FBI data show gun violence is a black problem, followed by hispanics. Whites are not a problem.

    It’s reality.

  19. Your methodology is fatally flawed. You’re comparing national rates across the 330m population to an average of rates! – of states with various populations!!

  20. The real numbers show homicide rates are higher in these 16 states than the national averages.
    The author is embarrassingly, grossly incompetent. This is like saying your regular starting quarterback has a 60% completion rate and the backup threw one pass which he completed so therefore, averaging the two rates, your team passing rate is 80%.

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