That loud, squishy pop you just heard is the sound of liberal heads exploding.
According to a new report issued by the Crime Prevention Research Center, the number of concealed carry permits has skyrocketed over the last 7 years while the murder rate and violent crime rate have fallen by about 25%.
While it’s impossible to make a direct connection between the rise of concealed carry permits and the drop in the murder rate — there’s no way to measure the impact of other factors that may affect the decline — the report suggests that advocates who advanced the notion that concealed carry permits would lead to more murders and more violent crime were wrong.
Since 2007, the number of concealed handgun permits has soared from 4.6 million to over 12.8 million, according to the report from the Crime Prevention Research Center.
And the number is increasing faster every year. Over 1.7 million new permits were issued last year — a 15.4 percent increase from 2013, according to the report. It is the largest-ever single-year increase in the number of permits.
The number of people that carry concealed handguns is likely even higher, since permits are not required in seven states.
More women are getting permits than men, the report stated. Since 2007, permits for women have increased by 270 percent and for men by 156 percent.
At the same time, murder rates have fallen from 5.6 to 4.2 per 100,000, about a 25 percent drop. Overall violent crime also fell by 25 percent, according to the report.
Gun-rights advocates say the report’s findings refute the left’s claims that more guns lead to more violent crime.
“It puts the lie to the myth promulgated by anti-gun individuals that somehow more law-abiding citizens carrying guns will lead to more crime. In fact, quite the opposite is the case,” said Larry Keene, senior vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. “More law-abiding citizens own firearms for self-protection and crime continues to decline.”
But anti-gun advocates point to other studies showing concealed handguns are more frequently used for non-defensive killings.
“Concealed carry killers are a threat to public safety. The evidence is clear that all too often, private citizens use their concealed handguns to take lives, not to save them,” a statement from the Violence Policy Center’s Concealed Carry Killer website reads.
According to the center, there have been 561 incidents in 36 states and the District of Columbia involving concealed handguns that have resulted in 743 deaths.
“Only a tiny fraction of these cases are ever ruled to be in self-defense,” the website states.
The two sides are talking apples and oranges. First, gun control advocates don’t supply a baseline to compare current figures on concealed carry shootings with numbers from the past. Has the rise in permits led to a rise in shootings? If so, there should be a clear correlation, year to year, of an increase in shootings roughly matching an increase in permits. No mention was made of any such correlation.
Secondly, there are several reasons why most of these shootings are not deemed self defense, not the least of which is aggressive prosecutors who look to make an example of those with concealed carry permits and who defend themselves in less than clear cut circumstances. Another reason is that, as we saw in the George Zimmerman case, even when self defense is fairly straightforward, prosecutors will refuse to give the benefit of the doubt to citizens. That case should never have gone to trial, except for the racial angle, which the prosecutor may have tried to exploit for political reasons.
Concealed carry as a deterrent to violent crime is difficult to prove, but the one thing we can say for sure is that the increase in violent crime predicted by opponents of concealed carry has never materialized.