More Guns = Less Crime

Copyright 1998 Investor's Business Daily
May 8, 1998

Charlton Heston recently took Barbra Streisand to task in full-page ads for her pro-gun-control film, "The Long Island Incident." Yet as much as Streisand's view appeals to some, a new book shows that crime falls where people pack guns.

Thirty- one states now have so-called concealed-carry laws. The rules vary slightly from state to state. In general, though, the laws say that adults without a criminal record or a history of severe mental illness may carry a concealed handgun.

In his new book, "More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws," economist John Lott reveals some startling findings.

Lott studied the FBI's annual crime figures for all 3,054 U.S. counties from '77 through '92 and other data through '94.

His findings show that the "states with the largest increases in gun ownership also have the largest drops in violent crimes." Furthermore, in concealed-carry states, "The number of multiple-victim public shootings declined by 84%." Also, "Deaths from these shootings plummeted on average by 90%, injuries by 82%."

Other findings include:

The longer a concealed-carry law is in place in a state, the more effective it is. Between '77 and '94, for each year a concealed-carry law was in place, murder rates dropped 3% on average, robberies more than 2% and rapes 2%.

A passive victim is more likely to be seriously injured than one who resists with a gun.

High-crime urban areas have the greatest reductions in violent crime when law-abiding citizens are allowed to carry guns.

Children from 5 to 14 years old are three times as likely to die from bicycle accidents as from gun accidents. They also are 14.5% more likely to die from car accidents and five times as likely to die from drowning or fire.

Neither federal nor state waiting periods to buy guns have any association with reduced crime.

In 10 states that passed concealed-carry laws between '77 and '92, the death rate from public, multiple shootings - such as the '93 Long Island train incident - fell by 69%.

"The news media constantly bombard us with bad things that happen with guns," Lott told IBD. "But guns also prevent bad things from happening. Those stories rarely get reported."

Yes, it's unfortunate that citizens have to take more responsibility for their own safety because the police can't be everywhere at once.

But when they do, crime falls. Take heed, Barbra.

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