NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Concealed Carry Laws Make Society Safer

June 2, 2000

When the law allowing licensed Texans to carry concealed weapons was passed in 1995, there was a large protest. Many groups still advocate repealing the law. For instance, the Violence Policy Center, a research organization opposed to concealed carry, released reports in 1998 and 1999 highlighting the number of Texas licensees that were arrested since the law went into effect.

However, according to a study by engineering statistician William Sturdevant:

  • Licensees were 5.7 times less likely to be arrested for violent offenses than the general public -- 127 per 100,000 versus 730 per 100,000.
  • The general public is 1.4 times more likely to be arrested for murder than licensees and no licensees have been arrested for negligent manslaughter.
  • Only 6 of 200,000 licensees have been arrested for murder since the law was introduced and only 2 of those were found guilty.

Not only are the licensees less criminal-prone, carrying guns save lives and prevents crimes. For example, a study by the University of Chicago's John Lott found that had right-to-carry laws prevailed throughout the nation, there would have been 1,600 fewer murders, 4,200 fewer rapes and 60,000 fewer severe assaults.

In the early 1990s Texas's serious crime rate was 38 percent above the national average. Since then serious crime has dropped 50 percent faster than the nation as a whole. In light of Lott's research, it is likely that Texas's concealed carry law has contributed to the declining crime rates.

Source: H. Sterling Burnett, "Texas Concealed Handgun Carriers: Law-abiding Public Benefactors," NCPA Brief Analysis No. 324, June 2, 2000, National Center for Policy Analysis.

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