Albion Monitor /News

Concealed Weapons Laws Increase Homicides

According to the study, Jacksonville Florida homicides increased 74 percent

Gun-related homicides increased in four out of five urban areas after concealed gun laws were relaxed, according to a study by the Violence Research Group at the University of Maryland.

The study examined the frequency of homicides before and after new, relaxed concealed gun laws went into effect in Jacksonville, Miami and Tampa, Florida; Jackson, Mississippi; and Portland, Oregon. It found that gun-related homicides increased 74 percent in Jacksonville, 43 percent in Jackson, 22 percent in Tampa and 3 percent in Miami. Portland experienced a 12 percent decrease.

The researchers, University of Maryland criminologists David McDowall, Colin Loftin and Brian Wiersema, separately recorded homicides by guns and homicides by other means. They found that while gun-related homicides increased in the aftermath of the new, less restrictive laws, homicides without guns remained steady. "From this we conclude that less restrictive concealed weapon laws do not reduce homicides, at least in large urban areas," said McDowall. "Instead, there is some evidence they may increase them."

According to McDowall, this conclusion supports other work showing that policies to discourage firearms in public may help prevent violence. One such study was conducted by fellow University of Maryland criminologist Lawrence Sherman, who found that gun crime fell during a Kansas City program he devised to confiscate guns from people who carried them outside their homes.

"While advocates of these relaxed laws argue that they will prevent crime, and suggest that they have reduced homicides in areas that adopted them, we strongly suggest caution," said McDowall. "When states weaken limits on concealed weapons, they may be giving up a simple and effective method of preventing firearm deaths."

Because the results of the new laws varied in McDowall's study, including a decrease in one area, McDowall plans additional study. Besides Mississippi and Oregon, six other states have adopted relaxed concealed weapons laws based on Florida's law, and several more are seriously considering doing so.

According to the NRA, Florida homicides dropped 22 percent

This study sharply contradicts claims by the National Rifle Association in its 1995 " Firearms Fact Card." According to the NRA, homicide rates drop when citizens are allowed to pack heat.

The Fact Card claims, "States with favorable concealed carry laws have lower rates of crime than states with restrictive concealed carry laws. Overall, the homicide rate for states with favorable carry laws is 31 percent lower, and the robbery rate is 36 percent lower, than for states with restrictive concealed carry laws."

It continues by stating, " States which have recently changed their laws have experienced reductions in homicide rates. Since 1987, when Florida enacted a favorable CCW law, its homicide rate has dropped 22 percent, even while the national rate has risen 15 percent. Only .007 percent of Florida CCW permits have been revoked because of a crime after licensure."

Albion Monitor September 18, 1995 (

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