Concealed carry prevents more crime than it creates, study says

With Wisconsin’s concealed carry law being in effect for just over three months, a recent national study suggests armed citizens prevent more crimes than previously thought.

The Feb. 2 report by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank based in Washington, D.C., cites roughly 5,000 news reports from October 2003 to November 2011 involving defensive gun usage. However, the authors, Clayton Cramer and David Burnett, said the actual number of cases is much higher, as many instances are not covered by the media.

“Many defensive gun uses never make the news,” the report said. “After all, ‘Man Scares away Burglar, No Shots Fired’ is not particularly newsworthy.”

Among the researchers’ findings were 285 incidents involving concealed carry licenses, 154 instances involving defensive gun use by women, and 21 cases for minors and 201 for seniors. For specific crimes, 65 carjackings saw defensive gun usage, as did 25 rapes.

The authors also said concealed carry policies on college campuses lead to a reduction in crime, using two Colorado schools as test cases. After the state enacted its concealed carry law in 2003, Colorado State University decided to allow students to carry concealed weapons while the University of Colorado prohibited them. The report found a 60 percent decrease in crime at Colorado State since 2004, while the University of Colorado saw a 35 percent increase during the same time period.

“(It does not) seem likely that a would-be robber would be deterred because of stickers on the doors announcing that armed robbery is severely frowned upon by the student code of conduct,” the report said. “Conversely, a campus that allows concealed carry, and where even one student, professor, or even a member of the maintenance staff is armed, would present a much riskier target to criminals.”

The study comes just days after 35 year old Nazir Al-Mujaahid of Milwaukee shot a robber at an Aldi grocery store in what has become Wisconsin’s first major instance of a concealed carry license being used to shoot in self-defense.

The Jan. 30 incident saw Al-Mujaahid fire six or seven shots at the suspected robber, who subsequently dropped his shotgun and fled the store. According to a criminal complaint, the shotgun was not actually loaded and was just a tool to scare the cashier into giving the suspect money.

Although the grocery store posted a sign prohibiting the carrying of firearms inside, Al-Mujaahid will not be charged with violating the store’s ban.

But Ladd Everitt, director of communications for the Washington, D.C.-based Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, called the Aldi incident a best-case scenario that was an exception to what he called an otherwise dangerous concealed carry law. Everitt said the concealed carry law is dangerous because it does not have strict time requirements for training.

“How often are you going to have an outcome like this?” Everitt said. “The point is people do not have the training needed to play police officer. Do you want someone who is required to have zero hours of training to open fire in a business you are standing in, under any circumstances?”

Everitt said it was “disturbing” that Al-Mujaahid was breaking the law by bringing a gun into a prohibited location and questioned whether people applying for concealed carry permits were “the most law-abiding people in America.” Al-Mujaahid said he was unaware of the store’s gun ban and would have gone somewhere else had he known about it.

Meghan O’Leary, a junior in the College of Communication, echoed Everitt’s sentiments, saying the prospect of random people carrying firearms created more opportunities for bad than good.

“By allowing people to conceal guns I don’t think it will protect people, but (it will) make things more dangerous,” O’Leary said. “I don’t feel safe knowing anyone around me could be carrying a gun.”

  • HAHAHAHAHAH

    You mean when the bad guys no longer have a gun free zone to victimize, they hesitate? Amazing. Why attempt to rob someone that may or may not conceal and carry, when there’s a nice “gun-free” campus nearby.

    “I don’t feel safe knowing anyone around me could be carrying a gun.” Wow. I mean, Wow. So you’d feel safer knowing that, when the bad guys come, their the ones with the fire power? Wow.

    Make all the gun laws you want, Meghan – the bad guys will never follow them. Might as well change all the gun-free zone signs to an image of fish in a barrel.

  • librtee_dot_com

    “I don’t feel safe knowing anyone around me could be carrying a gun.”

    Meghan O’Leary supports disarming the police.

  • Karl Murphy

    Just typical of the anti-gun clack, there are several decades of proof that privately owned firearms deter crime, and permits in civilian hands also deter crime, worse case scenario, neither increase crimes or obeisity, even after large states such as Florida and Texas implemented concealed carry, gun control advocates still claim wild west scenarios will occur, even when facts prove this claim untrue.

    • Karl Murphy

      O’leary does not feel safe if anyone could be carrying a gun? I guess the many retired Police officers and Federal agents carrying for their own personal defense might not agree, I for one am happy those retirees can carry, in any state etc.. Sans restrictions.

  • rtylenda

    @9f62cf3943ed3ee25f5a72bd399bc179:disqus …that map is bogus. No one should use that for reference. 1986?

  • rtylenda

    @9f62cf3943ed3ee25f5a72bd399bc179:disqus …that map is bogus. No one should use that for reference. 1986?

  • rtylenda

    @9f62cf3943ed3ee25f5a72bd399bc179:disqus …that map is bogus. No one should use that for reference. 1986?

  • rtylenda

    @9f62cf3943ed3ee25f5a72bd399bc179:disqus …that map is bogus. No one should use that for reference. 1986?

  • Read The Footnotes

    The Cato plays a little loose with their facts on the 2 Colorado Universities. They claim a 60% drop in crime at Colorado State (Fort Collins) due to conceal carry being allowed. However Cato does not adequately state what they classify as crime. The statistics at each university have a general downward trend with 1 exception.

    Theft, has steadily increased at University of Colorado, but is not reported by Colorado State. However looking at the crime statistics for Fort Collins, it has also steadily increased. For burglary both schools show significant drops over the time period.

    So it appears that Cato is either cherry picking their data or they are incompetent at doing research. Regardless, their study does not support their position and it is inconclusive if concealed carry is helpful or responsible in the overall drop in crime.

  • Read The Footnotes

    The Cato plays a little loose with their facts on the 2 Colorado Universities. They claim a 60% drop in crime at Colorado State (Fort Collins) due to conceal carry being allowed. However Cato does not adequately state what they classify as crime. The statistics at each university have a general downward trend with 1 exception.

    Theft, has steadily increased at University of Colorado, but is not reported by Colorado State. However looking at the crime statistics for Fort Collins, it has also steadily increased. For burglary both schools show significant drops over the time period.

    So it appears that Cato is either cherry picking their data or they are incompetent at doing research. Regardless, their study does not support their position and it is inconclusive if concealed carry is helpful or responsible in the overall drop in crime.

  • Far North Guy

    I have a comment regarding the following statement by Ladd Everitt in the above article:

    “The point is people do not have the training needed to play police officer. Do you want someone who is required to have zero hours of training to open fire in a business you are standing in, under any circumstances?”

    A concealed carry permit holder likely has more training to play police officer than to play a dying gunshot or knife wound victim. And for the second part of Everitt’s statement… “Do you want someone who is required to have zero hours of training to open fire in a business you are standing in, under any circumstances?”… Everitt, go ask that question of one of the shooting victims at Columbine, Fort Hood or Newtown.

  • Far North Guy

    I have a comment regarding the following statement by Ladd Everitt in the above article:

    “The point is people do not have the training needed to play police officer. Do you want someone who is required to have zero hours of training to open fire in a business you are standing in, under any circumstances?”

    A concealed carry permit holder likely has more training to play police officer than to play a dying gunshot or knife wound victim. And for the second part of Everitt’s statement… “Do you want someone who is required to have zero hours of training to open fire in a business you are standing in, under any circumstances?”… Everitt, go ask that question of one of the shooting victims at Columbine, Fort Hood or Newtown.

  • JimAustinTexas

    Of course the anti-gun Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and O’Leary are “worried” about use of a firearm by a carry permit holder. However, notice that their “worries” don’t include any actual examples where a carry holder shot a bystander. I saw a FBI stat that showed 98% of the time when a citizen used a firearm to stop a criminal act NO SHOTS WERE FIRED.

    The anti-gun groups have to claim some sort of “worry” because, like the article states, having citizens being armed REDUCES CRIME and PROTECTS yourself or other victims. They can’t argue the facts because the facts are against them, so they must try to create doubts and worry.

  • JimAustinTexas

    Of course the anti-gun Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and O’Leary are “worried” about use of a firearm by a carry permit holder. However, notice that their “worries” don’t include any actual examples where a carry holder shot a bystander. I saw a FBI stat that showed 98% of the time when a citizen used a firearm to stop a criminal act NO SHOTS WERE FIRED.

    The anti-gun groups have to claim some sort of “worry” because, like the article states, having citizens being armed REDUCES CRIME and PROTECTS yourself or other victims. They can’t argue the facts because the facts are against them, so they must try to create doubts and worry.

  • JimAustinTexas

    Of course the anti-gun Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and O’Leary are “worried” about use of a firearm by a carry permit holder. However, notice that their “worries” don’t include any actual examples where a carry holder shot a bystander. I saw a FBI stat that showed 98% of the time when a citizen used a firearm to stop a criminal act NO SHOTS WERE FIRED.

    The anti-gun groups have to claim some sort of “worry” because, like the article states, having citizens being armed REDUCES CRIME and PROTECTS yourself or other victims. They can’t argue the facts because the facts are against them, so they must try to create doubts and worry.

  • John

    I don’t understand somethnig— if a person feels unsafe with people that can carry guns legally then how do they feel about all the people that are carrying guns illegally. I say bring the Concealed carry permits on, at least I know there is someone out there ready to help and the Bad guys know it too.

  • John

    I don’t understand somethnig— if a person feels unsafe with people that can carry guns legally then how do they feel about all the people that are carrying guns illegally. I say bring the Concealed carry permits on, at least I know there is someone out there ready to help and the Bad guys know it too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Petersen/599474435 Andrew Petersen

    Dear Ms O’Leary….

    Criminals are not going to give up their guns no matter how strict the gun laws are for the honest citizen.

    • Goober

      With the stroke of Obama’s satanic pen, law abiding citizens become criminals.

  • NETim

    rogersgroupie said:

    The concealed carry states were mostly rural, the states without concealed carry in these studies were places like New York and California.

    Hmmm….

    This map tells a different story.

    http://www.gun-nuttery.com/maps/1986.gif

    Could you provide links to these “dozens of studies” that support your contentions?

    • JimAustinTexas

      your post makes a very good point. if you click the link, you have to wait for the map to cycle.

      The point is states continue to pass laws the ALLOW carry and not the other way around. There must be some reason and its not because the NRA has taken-over the state. It’s because carry permits WORK and REDUCE crime victims.

      Here’s a perfect example, quoting the CATO study:
      “The authors also said concealed carry policies on college campuses lead
      to a reduction in crime, using two Colorado schools as test cases. After
      the state enacted its concealed carry law in 2003, Colorado State
      University decided to allow students to carry concealed weapons while
      the University of Colorado prohibited them. The report found a 60
      percent decrease in crime at Colorado State since 2004, while the
      University of Colorado [with strict gun laws] saw a 35 percent increase
      during the same time period.”

      Both schools have the same basic student make-up, same state (actually pretty close to each other). So, for the gun grabbers, how do you explain this away? You can’t using actual facts.

      • Read The Footnotes

        The Cato cherry picked their data and did not accurately report the crime statistics in their study. Read the actual Cato report and look up the footnotes. For crime categories that both schools report, both schools had a reduction in crime over the time period of 2004-2009. The difference is that Colorado State does not report theft and University of Colorado does.

        So yes, you cannot show that carry permits work and reduce crime using actual facts.

    • Guest

      Your link is from 1986. I know that VA is no longer a may issue state and has become a shall issue state. It is likely that this information is inaccurate for other states as well.

      • Guest

        Oh. Data matches the time frame of the study. New York also is not comprised solely of NYC. A significant part of NY is rural (upstate NY.) Washington state has Seattle and Olympia.

      • Guest

        Oh. Data matches the time frame of the study. New York also is not comprised solely of NYC. A significant part of NY is rural (upstate NY.) Washington state has Seattle and Olympia.

      • Guest

        Oh. Data matches the time frame of the study. New York also is not comprised solely of NYC. A significant part of NY is rural (upstate NY.) Washington state has Seattle and Olympia.

      • Guest

        Oh, data is from time frame of the study. Oops. Even New York isn’t totally Urban. Upstate New York? Besides, New York is listed as may issue. That means there is Concealed Carry Options for some.Washington has large cities as well and is listed as shall issue. Crime rates are down and States that are shall issue have gone up. Coincidence?

    • Guest

      Oh, data is from the time of the study. Sorry. But even New York is not totally urban. Upstate New York for example. Washington state is shall issue in this map and has large cities. Crime rate is going down and shall issue states are increasing. Coincidence?

  • rodgersgroupie

    Which editor at the Trib thought it was acceptable to publish a headline stating that concealed carry reduces crime as established fact? If you’re going to cite research by the Cato Institute, which criticizes the NRA for not being extreme enough in defense of gun rights, is it not fair to include any of the dozens of academic studies that show concealed carry leads to higher crime? A pro-gun editorial is one thing, but a front page story that misrepresents the facts is reprehensible. Not sure if this is as bad as the headline suggesting Scott Walker’s fundraising and support is based on grassroots efforts, but it might be.
    I would appreciate if my student newspaper at least pretended to show some impartiality on important political issues.

    By the way, the majority of the research showing that concealed carry reduces crime is based on studies comparing crime rates between concealed carry and non-concealed carry states in the late 1980s. The concealed carry states were mostly rural, the states without concealed carry in these studies were places like New York and California. It doesn’t take a genius to realize how a certain drug by the name of crack cocaine could skew the results. Unobserved variable bias is one of the most basic problems in quantitative research, but one the gun lobby seems incapable of grasping.