Before We Rip Open Carry Laws, CNN–You Do Know Texas Has Record Low Crime Rates, Right?

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Jul 11, 2016 3:00 PM
Before We Rip Open Carry Laws, CNN–You Do Know Texas Has Record Low Crime Rates, Right?

During their live coverage of the July 7 attack on police in Dallas by Micah Xavier Johnson, CNN, in their infinite wisdom, decided to discuss the scary open carry law that just went into effect this year, as if to suggest this has something to do with a crazy person–Johnson–who wanted to kill white police officers. It doesn’t. Nevertheless, lawyer Areva Martin and New York Times columnist Charles Blow decided to talk about gun control, which host Don Lemon blessedly cut off, saying that’s a subject for another day (via Newsbusters):

CHARLES BLOW: But this idea, I think, is really important, but it probably is a discussion for another day, but totally tips over into the gun debate. This idea of having to match fire power for whatever people could have on the street, because what we're seeing is that people that there are a lot more types of these weapons. And this is where I think a lot of minds can meet. We want our police officers to be safe. We want our communities to be safe and the more of these sorts of weapons out there, the more that police have to defend themselves against those types of weapons. I think, you know, again, we don't know about this. I think this is a discussion for another day but I think we need to put a pin in it because we have to come back to this discussion about the idea that people that, you know, more and more people are in open carry states. They can carry these sorts of weapons around. Police don't know if the person who has the weapon out in the open is just a protester or not and that puts them in a very kind of awkward position of having to make guesses about it and that’s not what we want as a society.

DON LEMON: And Areva Martin, where does it — how much more firepower, where does it end? Go ahead, Areva.

AREVA MARTIN: Yes, I wanted to say I think the point was illustrated by one of the witnesses on the phone that said they say we saw a man, who we know was a person of interest, probably not the shooter. But he was a man walking around with a rifle and they didn't know if that was normal or not. That is scary to me as a parent. That’s scary to me as an American, as a woman, as an African-American woman that I could be in a city at a protest and someone is walking around with a high powered assault rifle and yet, I don't know if that is okay. Because we're telling people if you see something, say something, if you see something, do something. But people are confused. They don't know if that was a legitimate place for him to be with that gun or not. So I wonder how many other people may have seen somebody at this protest with a gun and they didn't contact law enforcement because they didn't know if that person had the right in this open carry state to have that gun. That’s a really scary — I think proposition, an issue we have to deal with in this country and it goes right to that gun issue and it’s so divisive.

BLOW: And if I may say, open carry just started in January in Texas so this is a new phenomenon for all of the citizens there. As to whether or not you see somebody with a weapon do you say something or not because it’s an —

LEMON: And we'll get into the gun debate later. And as Charles so, you know, brightly and eloquently pointed out that is maybe a discussion for another day. Right now, our thoughts and prayers and our hearts go out to the victims this evening.

Yeah, this is ridiculous. CNN and The New York Times followed the attacks with articles about the state’s gun laws, which have nothing to do with Johnson’s insane assault on police, his anger towards whites, and his intentions to kill white people, especially white police officers. The media is trying to sneak in the false narrative that Texas’ gun laws are to blame—and that the Lone Star state is loaded with guns, so crime must be a consequence, right? Wrong.

Texas, especially Dallas, has seen their crime rates hit record lows. In Dallas, the murder rate fell to its lowest levels since the city started taking crime data in 1930. Overall, the Lone Star State, through criminal justice reform, has reduced crime levels to their lowest rates since 1968 (via Dallas Morning News):

Dallas’ 2014 murder rate was its lowest since 1930 — the year Bonnie and Clyde met at a West Dallas house party.

And the Dallas Police Department’s preliminary count of 116 murders last year — there is one unexplained death awaiting a ruling — would be the lowest yearly murder tally since 1965. It’s also a notable drop from the 143 murders in 2013 and it’s fewer than half the murders recorded in 2004.

Police officials say their crime-fighting and crime-prevention strategies have played a major role in reducing homicides, the rarest of major crimes. Others say outside variables — medical advancements, changing demographics and better social services — deserve much of the credit.

Even with this dreadful shooting in Dallas, the city has only seen one other shooting involving police officers, and that didn’t result in a fatality on either side. The crime rate in Texas is still dropping too (via Texas Tribune):

Urban crime rates are at historic lows across the country, and in Texas they are still dropping, according to an analysis of crime rates in the 30 largest U.S cities.

Between 2014 and 2015, the five largest cities in Texas saw an average drop of 6.5 percent in the overall crime rate per 100,000 residents, according to the analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. Among the nation’s top cities, crime rates remained stagnant during this time, dropping by only 0.1 percent.

With an almost 10 percent drop in its crime rate, Austin saw the sharpest decrease in Texas and the nation.

And yet, Texas still has a ton of gun owners, who (surprise!) aren’t turning the state into a shooting gallery. This was a horrific and cowardly act committed by Johnson. Nothing more. He is to blame, not some weak sauce attempt to slam Texas’ gun culture, only to find out that the state is one of the safest in the country. The horror of this story is that, whether you agree with Black Lives Matter or not, the protest was peaceful. It was drawing to an end. And someone decided to attack a police department that seems to be the beacon of example regarding how community policing is working to reduce crime at all levels. Open carry laws aren't to blame for crazy people attacking cops. 

Oh, and the vast majority of Americans live in open carry states; crime, overall, remains at record lows.