Friday, March 30, 2007

Concealed carry: no big deal

A new study of Minnesota's liberalized concealed-carry law revealed no positive effect on crime.

Violent crime has risen 13 percent in the three years since the law took effect.

Firearm injuries and deaths have doubled.

There was only one instance of a permit holder using the gun under the "lawful and justifiable" provision -- and it didn't involve stopping a crime or self-defense.

So it seems pretty clear that the law isn't helping fight crime. But nor has it turned into the Wild West. Of 42,189 permit holders just 174 have been involved in a crime, only 23 of which involved a pistol. While that debunks the assertion of some supporters that "no permit holder has ever been involved in a crime" -- an assertion that is statistically ludicrous anyway -- it doesn't show rampant vigilantism either.

Whether you think the law is a problem depends on how closely you tie the rising crime and injury rates to the concealed-carry provision, and what weight you give to the various factors. To me, it's mostly a wash. I didn't feel unsafe before the law; I don't feel unsafe now. The most irritating part is constantly being confronted with those big, legislatedly ungrammatical signs warning that Company X "bans guns in these premises." Given the number of such signs, we probably could have saved a lot of money by requiring instead that businesses voluntarily opt-in with a sign that said "Company X welcomes concealed weapons."

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