Shall-issue laws permitting the carrying of concealed firearms (CCW) (where law enforcement has no discretion in issuing a permit or license) do not appear to reduce crime, and no credible statistical evidence exists that such permissive CCW laws reduce crime.1

In fact, the best available evidence suggests that permissive CCW laws may correlate with statistically meaningful increases in violent crime.2  An extensive statistical analysis by Stanford researcher John Donohue found that permissive shall issue CCW laws were linked to significant increases in rates of aggravated assault.3

An analysis of the effects of Texas’ CCW law, (a law adopted in 1995 that overturned the state’s 125-year ban on concealed weapons), found that between January 1, 1996 and August 31, 2001, CCW license holders were arrested for 5,314 crimes, including murder, rape, kidnapping and theft.4  Texas CCW holders were arrested for weapons-related crimes at a rate 81% higher than that of the state’s general population age 21 and older.5

Since the Texas law took effect, more than 400 criminals – including rapists and armed robbers – had been issued CCW permits, and thousands of the 215,000 permit holders have been arrested for criminal behavior or found to be mentally unstable.6 The “largest category of problem licensees involve[d] those who committed crimes after getting their state” permits.7

Florida’s CCW system had, just in the first half of 2006, licensed more than 1,400 individuals who had pleaded guilty or no contest to felonies, 216 individuals with outstanding warrants, 128 people with active domestic violence injunctions against them, and six registered sex offenders.8

For additional information about the carrying of concealed weapons, including information on the dangers posed by carrying guns in public, see the Law Center’s Report America Caught in the Crossfire: How Concealed Carry Laws Threaten Public Safety and our Carrying Concealed Weapons Policy Summary.

 

Notes
  1. The gun lobby has repeatedly cited to studies purportedly finding that “shall issue” CCW laws are associated with a significant reduction in violent crime. See, e.g., John Lott, Jr. & David Mustard, Crime, Deterrence and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns, 26 J. Legal Stud. 1 (1997).  However, numerous academic analyses have discredited the methodology and conclusions of these studies. See, e.g., John J. Donohue III, The Impact of Right-to-Carry Laws and the NRC Report: Lessons for the Empirical Evaluation of Law and Policy, 13.2 Am. Law Econ. Rev. 565-631 (2011), available at http://works.bepress.com/john_donohue/89; John J. Donohue, The Impact of Concealed-Carry Laws, in Evaluating Gun Policy: Effects on Crime and Violence (Jens Ludwig & Philip J. Cook eds., 2003); and Daniel Webster & Jens Ludwig, Myths about Defensive Gun Use and Permissive Gun Carry Laws, Berkeley Media Studies Group (2000). ⤴︎
  2. John J. Donohue III, The Impact of Right-to-Carry Laws and the NRC Report: Lessons for the Empirical Evaluation of Law and Policy, 13.2 Am. Law Econ. Rev. 565-631 (2011), available at http://works.bepress.com/john_donohue/89; Ian Ayres & John J. Donohue III, Shooting Down the “More Guns, Less Crime” Hypothesis, 55 Stan. L. Rev. 1193, 1285, 1296 (Apr. 2003); Ian Ayres & John J. Donohue III, The Latest Misfires in Support of the “More Guns, Less Crime” Hypothesis, 55 Stan. L. Rev. 1371, 1397 (Apr. 2003). ⤴︎
  3. John J. Donohue III, The Impact of Right-to-Carry Laws and the NRC Report: Lessons for the Empirical Evaluation of Law and Policy, 13.2 Am. Law Econ. Rev. 565-631 (2011), available at http://works.bepress.com/john_donohue/89. ⤴︎
  4. Violence Policy Center, License to Kill IV: More Guns, More Crime 1-2 (June 2002), at http://www.vpc.org/graphics/ltk4.pdf. ⤴︎
  5. Id. at 5. ⤴︎
  6. William C. Rempel & Richard A. Serrano, Felons Get Concealed Gun Licenses Under Bush’s ‘Tough’ Gun Law, L.A. Times, Oct. 3, 2000, at A1. ⤴︎
  7. Id. ⤴︎
  8. Megan O’Matz, In Florida, It’s Easy to Get a License to Carry a Gun, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Jan. 28, 2007, at 1A. ⤴︎