NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Benefits Of Right To Carry Laws

January 4, 2001

Following each shooting spree, gun-control advocates seize the moment to demand more restrictive gun regulations. Enthusiasm for such regulations is undiminished by the complete absence of any evidence showing the proposed regulations actually reduce public shootings, experts point out.

Yet there is overwhelming and incontrovertible evidence that state laws that allow law-abiding citizens to arm themselves dramatically reduce gun-related crimes.

William Landes of the University of Chicago and John Lott at Yale University have studied the effects of right-to-carry concealed hand-gun laws. Among their findings, based on data from 1977 to 1995:

  • In states with right to carry laws, the number of mass public shootings plummeted by 85 percent, mass murders dropped 89 percent and injuries plunged 82 percent.
  • States with serious infringements on the right-of-self-defense are host to nine out of 10 mass public shootings.
  • Most of the decline comes in the first year the law is in effect, leaving little doubt about the cause -- although the deterrent increases the longer the law is in effect.
  • There are no detectable ill consequences to offset these stunning gains -- and no other laws deter the perpetrators of mass public shootings.

Eighteen states still refuse to recognize the benefits of allowing honest and law-abiding citizens to arm and defend themselves.

Source: Morgan Reynolds (National Center for Policy Analysis), "Shooting Spree Control," Washington Times, January 4, 2001.


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