OPINION: 2nd Amendment Rights and Crime

Concealed Carry Decreases Crime

Proponents for and opponents against gun control laws actually share a common first priority. They both desire a safe community to live in. This is not debated. The debate is over whether gun control laws increase or decrease crime rates.

If the United States could constitutionally adopt nation-wide gun control laws, would the country’s crime go up or go down? To answer that question, many people compare major cities, states and regions that have gun control laws with those that do not.

In the U.S., the most restrictive gun control laws can be found in Washington, D.C., Chicago, IL, New York and California. In these cities and states, firearm owners must often be licensed, registered, pass an exam and pay significant taxes and fees. Residents in some of these areas cannot own a firearm under any circumstance.

These areas also have some of the highest crime rates in the country; their crime rates regularly are well above the national average. Interestingly, the proportion of violent crimes committed to total crimes is greater in these areas than in places that allow gun ownership.

In contrast to these areas, regions that have lax gun control laws also have lower comparative crime rates. One of the most vivid examples of this is Washington D.C. and its surrounding suburbs in Virginia.

Washington D.C. has banned firearms since the 1970s, but the suburbs in Virginia, which lie just outside the city’s limits, have few restrictions. These two communities are as identical as two communities can be, except for laws, such as the firearm bans. In D.C., where guns are prohibited, crime rates are exponentially higher than in the nearby Virginian suburbs. If guns cause crime, and eliminating guns can eliminate crime, then why does Virginia, which has many guns and few laws, have much lower crime rates than Washington, D.C., which has many laws and no guns?

The overall evidence shows, and the above case study proves, that gun control laws do not reduce crime rates. While it may seem counterintuitive, firearm ownership actually decreases crime, especially violent crime.

Another instance of this can be found in Florida’s history. Before the 1980s, Florida did not have a concealed carry law; it used to be illegal to carry a concealed firearm in Florida. At this time, Florida’s crime rate was much higher than the national average. When the state enacted concealed carry laws, which allow people to carry concealed firearms, the crime rate began to drop. It has continued to decrease, and is below the national average today.

From the evidence of Chicago, New York and California, along with the examples of Washington D.C. and Virginia, and Florida, firearms laws promote crime. The only gun laws that decrease crime are the ones that allow people to carry concealed weapons.

When this data is extrapolated to a national level, the facts clearly indicate the implications of a national gun control policy. If the United States were to adopt national gun control laws, crime rates would go up everywhere. Worst of all, violent crimes would increase the most. The best way to keep crime rates low is to allow the private ownership and carrying of firearms.


Author Bio: E. Steadman writes for NSB Civil Rights, a law firm made famous by attorney Barry Scheck, who was depicted in the recent Hollywood film, Conviction (2010).

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One Response to OPINION: 2nd Amendment Rights and Crime

  1. It’s the fear of lead that keeps crime down. Most criminals do not mind getting arrested (free food, cable, warm bed and they get to hang out all day with buddies.



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