According to a Gallup poll, most people feel that the United States would be safer if more Americans carried a concealed weapon (presumed to be a firearm). “Safer” was the more popular choice by a significant margin: 56 to 41 percent. When blogging the poll I predicted that the mainstream media wold ignore it. Wrong. The Washington Post’s notoriously anti-gun Wonkblogger (note that’s a “o” not an “a”) felt compelled to counter this remarkably pro-gun rights stat. First, by pointing out that the Gallup question tied concealed carry to training and licensing – which some states have punted our of respect for the Second Amendment. Second, by marshaling all the studies they could find refuting respondents’ faith in concealed carry . . .
In more recent years [post More Guns, Less Crime), academics investigating the relationship between concealed carry laws and public safety have found:
- There are “no statistically discernible relationship between concealed carry policies and the public’s perceptions of the number of firearm carriers.” Since the supposed deterrent effect of concealed carry laws “assumes that potential assailants are aware of the distribution of firearm carriers in the potential victim population… the data suggest easing concealed carry cannot deter crime” (Fortunato, 2015)
- “Right-to-carry laws are associated with substantially higher rates” of aggravated assault, robbery, rape and murder. (Aneja, Donohue and Zhang, 2014)
- “No support to the hypothesis that shall-issue laws have beneficial effects in reducing murder rates” (Grambsch, 2012)
- At the city level, there is “no evidence that [right-to-carry] laws reduce or increase rates of violent crime” (Kovandzic, Marvell and Vieraitis, 2005)
- “A ‘shall issue’ law that eliminates most restrictions on carrying a concealed weapon may be associated with increased firearm homicide rates” (Rosengart et. al., 2005)
- “No statistically significant association exists between changes in concealed weapon laws and state homicide rates” (Hepburn, Miller, Azrael and Hemenway, 2004)
- “Changes in gun ownership are significantly positively related to changes in the homicide rate” (Ludwig, 2002)
Without fisking the actual studies, it’s interesting that only two of the studies carefully chosen to torpedo concealed carry suggest that firearms-related crime increases with the practice. The others conclude that it’s a non-issue. The WaPo is OK with that because it “proves” that America isn’t safer with concealed carry.
Hang on. What happened to the antis’ faith in “common sense”? Reading Wonkblog’s analysis we can only conclude that Gallup’s respondents didn’t read any of these studies, and simply applied common sense to the question. America would have to be safer if more trained, licensed people (i.e. law-abiding) carried guns because it would be harder to victimize them. A fact that writer Christopher Ingraham almost manages to grasp . . .
. . . it’s clear that “more guns, less crime” is at best a misleading simplification of the relationship between concealed carry and public safety, and at worst a “completely discredited” notion. But the persistence of the idea, seen most recently in Gallup’s survey, is testament to gun rights advocates’ success in selling it.
As I said, no selling required. It’s a shame that the anti-gun bourgeoisie are incapable of buying anything remotely resembling the truth about guns.