Every Picture Tells A Story, Part Two (Repost)

The gun prohibitionists are already saying that blood will run in the streets when the Illinois General Assembly crafts some form of concealed carry legislation in accordance with today’s ruling by Judge Richard Posner of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

“As the dissenting opinion points out, the two judges who threw out
Illinois’ law did not take account of the danger to the public from
stray bullets, and they ignored the Illinois legislature’s determination
that carrying weapons has been shown to escalate violence,” said Lee
Goodman, an organizer with the Stop Concealed Carry Coalition.

If Lee had taken the time to examine the graphic below, he would see that there is no positive correlation between less-restrictive (legal) carry (shall issue and constitutional issue) and increased violent crime. Let’s face it – Chicago already has concealed carry by thugs and criminals. The only ones prohibited from protecting themselves are honest, law-abiding citizens.

This was originally posted on Dec. 21, 2011.

In October, I posted a graphic developed by Rob Vance that showed the progress in the growth of firearms carry rights from 1986 through 2011 as a percentage of the U.S. population. In 1986, 90% of the U.S. population lived in states that severely restricted carry rights or had none at all. Today, over two-thirds of Americans live in states with either shall-issue carry or constitutional carry. The conclusion was that shall-issue is the new norm.

Recently, the FBI released its Uniform Crime Reports statistics. Rob generated a new graph plotting these violent crime rates against the growth of less-restrictive firearm carry rights over the period of 1986 through 2011.

The data used to generate this graph is available here in Google documents. As I said in the original post, unlike the gun prohibitionists, we publish our data for the world to see. The data used comes from three sources: the FBI Uniform Crime Reports, the U.S. Census, and www.gun-nuttery.com/rtc.php which tracked the changes in carry laws over time.

Rob had the following conclusions after examining the data:

Violent crime is a complex issue, but national data is clear that there is no positive correlation between liberalized concealed carry laws and increased violent crime.

The “blood in the streets” or “Wild West” scenarios just don’t play out. To be fair, state level data is highly variable, so some caution needs to be exercised in drawing conclusions.

Rob is very explicit that there is no positive correlation between violent crime and liberalized carry laws rather than a proven negative correlation. He feels that it will take more rigorous statistical analysis before this negative correlation could be said to be proven.

The results here are reinforced by the study done by Linoge at Walls of the City which compared violent crime rates and firearm ownership. In that study, Linoge did find a relatively strong negative (-0.605) correlation between violent crime and firearm ownership.
While violent crime did not go down as sharply as the progress in carry rights rose, one thing that needs to be kept in mind is that while shall-issue may be the new norm that right is not extended to all locations. Bars, restaurants, government buildings, post offices, and many parks are still off-limits to concealed carry. I think this will become the next battleground for concealed carry. Interestingly enough, restrictive states like California actually have fewer restrictions on where one may carry.

As an example of the battle for fewer restricted locations, one need look no further than here in North Carolina. This session of the General Assembly changed the law concerning concealed carry in state, municipal, and county parks. It is now allowed everywhere with the exception of a local opt-out for “recreational facilities”. As might be expected, some locales are trying to push the limit on what is considered a recreation facility far beyond what was intended by the General Assembly.

Shall-issue may be the new norm but the fight will continue.

NOTE: If you click on the graphic, you can view it in its full original size.

Every Picture Tells A Story (Repost)

This was originally posted on October 6, 2011. In honor of the 7th Circuit’s ruling in Shepard v. Madigan and Moore v. Madigan, I thought it would be useful to repost it. Sometime in the next 180 days or less, the percentage of US citizens in the “red zone” will decrease. This assumes, of course, that the State of Illinois does not appeal this ruling. Now it is up to the citizens of Illinois and their elected representatives as to whether or not they move to the yellow zone or the green zone. Here’s hoping for the green zone.

I have some of the best readers in the world. One such reader is Rob Vance of California. He works in the software industry and must analyze data on a regular basis. The graphic below is as a result of his sitting down and examining U.S. Census data alongside a state’s policy on discrete or concealed carry of firearms.

The data used to generate this graphic is available here in Google Documents. Unlike the gun prohibitionists, we publish our data for the world to see. With regard to the data and methodology, Rob had this to say:

The graph maps the change in the legal status of concealed carry permits by state over time based on data found at www.gun-nuttery.com/rtc.php and the US Census Bureau (percentage of total US population by state). Classification of carry rights status was divided into four groups 1) Unrestricted 2) Shall issue 3) May issue and 4) No issue.

A couple of things about the graph and the supporting data. For population values, I used census data. 1980 -> 2010. The annual values (percent of total population by state) are rolled forward – e.g. 1980 census for years 1980- 1989, and so on. With respect to the rounding error the effect of total error is limited to a couple of tenths of a percent.

If you examine the spreadsheet with the data values you will see that a may-issue state like Hawaii is classified as a No-issue state. While you could argue that Hawaii should be listed as may-issue or conversely a state like New Jersey should also be added to the No-issue list, it doesn’t change the trends shown.

As to the conclusions that you can draw from this graph and the data, Rob had this to say:

1) In the early 1980s 90% of Americans lived in states that actively suppressed self-defense rights by severely limiting concealed carry of firearms by citizens.

2) By 2010, 2/3’s of Americans lived in states where law abiding citizens could conceal carry if they met minimal standards, and in some states (4 by 2011) needed NO state permission at all to concealed carry. A total of 41 states are now shall-issue or have unrestricted concealed carry status.

3) Few states moved from no issue to may issue. Rather when states made policy changes, they made the jump from no-issue to shall-issue all at once (again, with a couple of exceptions).

4) 30% of the citizens in the US STILL live under state governments that are hostile to the interests of their citizens in self-defense as measured by access to shall-issue (or unrestricted) concealed carry.

5) We’re down to the hard cases now – states where politicians are deeply invested in denying armed self-defense to otherwise law abiding citizens. California, Illinois and New York are where the population numbers are in terms of resistance to 2nd Amendment rights (and yes, there are a few others like New Jersey, Massachusetts, Hawaii, etc.).

If I may add a couple of other things, I’d say that shall-issue is the new norm in 2011 as opposed to no-issue or severely restricted may-issue back in 1986. The other thing I would add is that the experience with shall-issue concealed carry in the early adopting states like Florida paved the way for its adoption elsewhere. That is, people applying for concealed carry licenses are law-abiding citizens who have taken the responsibility seriously. Unlike what the Violence Policy Center would have you believe, the streets are not running with blood nor have they.

I would like to thank Rob for taking the time and making the effort to put his together. It is great research and his efforts are much appreciated.