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You know the drill. After the Heller decision that established the right to keep and bear arms as an individual right, followed by the McDonald decision which established that the 2nd Amendment applies to the individual states, the usual suspects freaked out. I am not deaf to the gun-control crowd’s arguments.  Within a city, I think the police have ably demonstrated the dangers of defensive gun use as innocent bystanders are struck by a volley of ill-placed bullets. In a chorus of catastrophic proclamations, mayors across the land leapt upon their chairs, hiked up their skirts and petticoats and shrieked “wild west” at the notion that private citizens might be able to use a handgun to defend themselves.

John Lott posts an editorial:

But Armageddon never happened. Newly released data for Chicago shows that, as in Washington, murder and gun crime rates didn’t rise after the bans were eliminated — they plummeted. They have fallen much more than the national crime rate.

Not surprisingly, the national media have been completely silent about this news.

One can only imagine the coverage if crime rates had risen. In the first six months of this year, there were 14% fewer murders in Chicago compared to the first six months of last year – back when owning handguns was illegal. It was the largest drop in Chicago’s murder rate since the handgun ban went into effect in 1982.

Meanwhile, the other four most populous cities saw a total drop at the same time of only 6 percent.

It is important not to allow conclusions to get too far ahead of our data. Still, Lott’s point is important – if murders had remained the same, or ticked up even slightly then it would have meant weeks of national news.

Corollary is not causation – a hypothetical factoid “nearly 80% of people involved in fatal traffic accidents have had a hamburger in the last 6 months” does not prove that hamburgers cause traffic fatalities.  That said, the body of corollary is becoming enormous. Even if it’s not being shared by our media elites.

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  1. And the data is more than enough to satisfy basic principles of liberty – if a restriction on the liberty of the people does *not* have a seriously measurable impact in a good way, then you definitely shouldn’t do it!

  2. When Florida came out with CCW back in 86, the dire predictions of blood running in the streets prompted Leslie Stahl to fly down from New york and get a permit for a 60 minutes story. And that was just the beginning. Recommendations to stay away from Disney World, calls for more police to attend to the shootings, emergency room workers being given new training on gun shots wounds, it was apocalyptic.

    Out of over a million permits written only a few were ever pulled, mostly for non violent crimes, and only a small percentage of that number were for firearms related crimes. I think about 10 were actually for a ccw holder using the gun improperly. The law is 25 years young, the numbers may be much different these days.

    Really pissed them off that all the predictions did not come true.

    Meanwhile Florida’s violent crime rates plummeted. Don’t bother to thank legal gun owners, that’s quite all right.

  3. When I went to city hall in St. Louis to turn in my CCW paperwork, I was expecting grim public servants to go over everything with a fine tooth comb and look for ANY reason to reject my permit. Undotted “i”s uncrossed “t”s, a smudge or a wrinkle…anything.

    What I got was prompt, friendly service. I think the rank and file of local government is OK with citizens exercising their 2nd Amendment rights – this is a clash of the elite against the regular folks.

  4. Correlation ain’t causation… but it’s a damn good start! It’s the first thing you look for if you’re trying to establish causation. In social sciences, where controls are hard to find, and you can’t repeat experiments twice, statistical inferences are often all you ever get. This is great news, about as good as we could possibly hope for. Thanks!

    • Correlation is not causation . . . Wisconsin has roughly half the murders per capita as Texas, and until last week it has not had a ccw law (nor does it have death penalty). It would be asinine of “gun grabbers” to use those facts to argue that liberal ccw laws cause murder (or that death penalty causes murder) because correlation is not causation.Remember, when one says “correlation is not causation” and then follows it with a “but” that person is now making an emotional appeal. I am not against ccw, but I am for the principles of logical argument. Yes, social science has to go with statistical evidence that is impossible to acquire in controlled ways, but that means that a social scientist would not pull one factor out of the mess and say “a-ha.” A huge number of factors go into the murder rate, and only one, very small, factor are legally carried weapons.

  5. The City and County of Denver is another example similar to that Tim McNabb found in St. Louis. Denver has been a very gun-unfriendly place for decades. When Colorado passed its shall-issue law in 2003 it also passed a state preemption law. In its typical brazen anti-gun fashion Denver challenged the preemption statute in court. It is important to understand the legal dynamics. The case started before a friendly judge who was going to give the city whatever it wanted. The case was going to be appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court which, at that time, had a probable split of 4-3 in favor of upholding the preemption statute. But the city (and the trial court judge) probably knew that one of the 4 votes that were probable for upholding preemption would be disqualified for reasons that don’t matter here. A 3-3 split on the high court would leave the lower court decision in place. In other words, the city was in the position of being able to pretty much dictate the outcome of the case without fear of reversal on appeal. A 3-3 split is exactly what happened later, leaving the lower court decision in place.

    I believe they could have obtained an exception for the city from the statewide CCW law if they had asked for it. But they didn’t, and in fact stated emphatically in the courtroom that they were not challenging the CCW law.

    This was impressive because although Colorado had a “may-issue” law since statehood in 1876, I don’t think Denver had ever issued a permit to anyone except political insiders. In 1983 Jewish radio host Alan Berg was denied a permit after his life had been threatened by white supremacists. In June of 1984 they shot and killed him in his driveway. Prominent divorce lawyers receiving death threats from irate husbands were routinely denied unless they were campaign contributors in Democrat mayoral races.

    When the CCW law into effect Denver was deluged with applications, and processed every one of them in a timely fashion and granted about 98% of them. The city has continued to issue without complaint or delay and the number of permits outstanding today to residents of Denver is in the thousands.

  6. The CCW people usually are not the problem children. Gang bangers are not going to mess with permits. The Brady Bunch crowd is barking up the wrong tree.


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