Sunday, April 6, 2014

Constitutional Carry: Is It Safe?

I really like the theory of constitutional carry -- that abolishing licenses will work just fine, because the only people that shouldn't carry a gun are probably not legally authorized to own one.  Of course, theory is good, but an ounce of experience is worth a pound of theory.  There are, at least to my mind, legitimate concerns that at least some people who are legally authorized to own a firearms probably should not carry a gun: those with short tempers; those who spend a lot of time getting drunk in public places; people with mental illness problems that have not yet led to an adjudication that disarms them.

The University of Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center has a new report out examining firearm use in crimes in Alaska and the U.S. as a whole for the period 1985-2012, and the results are quite interesting. Until 1994, Alaska was an open carry state -- and concealed carry was prohibited.  From 1994 to 2004, Alaska had a progressively more liberal shall-issue concealed carry permit law.  Since 2004, it has been constitutional carry.  And what happened during that period?

Murder rates in the U.S. fell, with both guns and non-guns.  Murder rates in Alaska also fell, with both guns and non-guns.  Even more intriguing -- the gun murder rate in Alaska fell faster than the non-gun murder rate -- not at all what you would expect from a bunch of manly men (we know about you Last Frontier sorts) carrying guns with no restrictions!

I would be curious to know what results we get from Arizona, Wyoming, which also went constitutional carry in recent years.  At first glance, Alaska makes me less concerned about constitutional carry.

8 comments:

Mauser said...

I imagine that what happens over time is those who carry who shouldn't will suffer attrition, or education, and the problem solves itself, along with a number of other problems.

Allen Cogbill said...

I think Arizona has constitutional carry, though it was enacted relatively recently, so decent stats may not be available yet. Given the more ethnically diverse population of Arizona and its larger [recent] immigrant populace, it it be interesting to see results for that state.

I don't know if gangs are a problem in, say, Anchorage, but I'm sere they are a big problem in Phoenix. They could skew the stats.

Joshua Tolley said...

Whether it is safer or not is not necessarily the right question to be asking. Our very sparsely populated Utah county just passed 250 pages of new land use ordinance without the commissioners actually reading them, so now it's harder to develop property here than in downtown Salt Lake City. Perhaps we would be safer without moving or flashing signs, which the law prohibits, but is it really government's job to protect us from everything unsafe?

Clayton Cramer said...

Most Americans don't share your view about the government's job. You aren't going to persuade them unless you can demonstrate that it doesn't make us less safe.

Lowell Sharrah said...

thnaks, good report

Blkwdw86 said...

That's no surprise, in fact, it's to be expected. The Founders built into the Second Amendment all the protection we'd need, a perfect balance. Misuse of the right to keep and bear arms was proofed against by...people using their right to keep and bear arms. All was good, until liberals came along, convinced of a self-congratulatory sense of superior intellect they simply do not possess, thought they knew better than the Founders, and began tinkering with things. Since then, gun homicide rates have been at a minimum four times what they were before, and as much as TEN times. Obey the Second Amendment, restore the balance, and save lives.

Malcolm Kirkpatrick said...

Tangentially related: Now that the Ninth Circuit decision in the San Diego case has made Hawaii's restrictive regime void, I worry that we will see an increase in lethal violence here, if only from marginal considerations. Guns enable and deter. Since we (Hawaii) have such a low level of violence to start as a baseline, there's no where to go but up. Maybe.

I could live with that trade-off, but it would be bad pr for the Second Amendment cause.

Clayton Cramer said...

You might be surprised. People that misuse guns criminally are unlikely to be deterred by the existing laws. I noticed that when states with very, very low murder rates went shall-issue, there was usually no change at all. They stayed very safe.