Wisconsin reached a major milestone this week: 300,000 of its residents are licensed to carry a concealed firearm. That’s eight percent of the state’s population. Of course, you have some liberals who feel that this trend is “alarming,” and that it leads to an increase in violent crime–despite the fact that such crime is at its lowest rates in nearly five decades. Even gun homicides have been nearly cut in half since 1993–and dropped another 3.9 percent from last year. So, there is no gun violence epidemic, just anti-gun hysteria coming from liberals. Nevertheless, with eight percent of the state being licensed carry permit holders; we could possibly have more clarity on the issue (via The Badger Herald):
As of March, Wisconsin has issued 300,000 total concealed carry permits, but the state impact of right-to-carry laws is still widely debated.
While this makes up less than 8 percent of Wisconsin’s adult population, concealed carry laws remain controversial. Those in favor argue concealed carry falls under one’s right to defend themselves, while those against say violent crime increases when concealed carry is allowed.
Sixty-three percent of Wisconsin residents support concealed carry and 31 percent are opposed, according to the January 2016 Marquette Law School poll.
University of Wisconsin journalism and mass communication professor Michael Wagner said concealed carry impacts almost every Wisconsinite. He said 8 percent is a large enough percentage to enter into almost every social situation.
“If you’re in a room of 30 people, somewhere between two or three are probably armed,” Wagner said. “That’s just something that might give people pause when they’re out in the community.”
Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, said she believes the number of permits that have been issued is significant and “alarming.” The Department of Justice had to add eight new positions just to process the new permit requests, Taylor said.
Well, I’d say that’s ne of the safest rooms in the country, then. Second, Wagner does add that there really isn’t enough evidence to suggest concealed carry reduces or increase crime. One study has shown that there is no discernable impact; another said that states with restrictive carry laws have higher rates of gun homicides. The Crime Prevention Research Center also issued a report saying that more people obtaining carry permits has decreased murder rates. Regardless, more Americans are carrying concealed firearms. Concerning women obtaining permits, that figure is up 270 percent since 2007. There is nothing “alarming” about Americans exercising their civil rights, especially one of our oldest ones.
Editor's Note: John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center pointed out that the study that showing concealed carry permits don't really reduce crime is a bit suspect since the data for that report has been withheld. At the same time, I was never trying to give that study credence, just pointing out that there are some who go against the position that CCW is a crime deterrent. I happen to strongly disagree, but felt that Lott's post on the study linked in my original post should be included as well:
Public health researchers at Texas A&M University (Charles D. Phillips, Obioma Nwaiwu, Szu-hsuan Lin, Rachel Edwards, Sara Imanpour, and Robert Ohsfeldt) have a new piece in the Journal of Criminology that claims that concealed handgun permits have no statistically significant effect on crime rates. Depending on the regression reported, they look at data for either 3 or 4 states with permit data from 1998 to 2010 (Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Texas).
As past surveys of the literature have shown, there have been other studies that have found that right-to-carry laws don’t reduce violent crime, though they have been in the distinct minority. Yet, the worst that they can say is that these laws don’t produce a bad effect.
No serious explanation is offered for why these authors exclude other states or years? County level permit data are easily available for Illinois and Wisconsin because no permits were issued over this entire period of time. Oregon, Tennessee, North Carolina, and other states have county level data over this period of time. This is important because the test that they are preforming compares these states relative to one another during the period that they all have right-to-carry concealed handgun laws. When authors throw out data there had better be a good explanation for why they are doing it, but no explanation is offered here.