Top Of My Head

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Category: Concealed Carry

Concealed Carry – Part One

Real Facts

Look at any pro-Concealed Carry website and you will find a statement about how it makes us safer or reduces crime.  Since Wisconsin decided to join the other 48 states and become a Concealed Carry state, I thought I would go back to the crime statistics and see what’s what.  If the pro-Concealed Carry crowd is correct, than next year, Wisconsin should see a huge drop in crime, right?

According to Concealed Campus, that would be true.  According to a PDF on their site, Florida’s homicide rate fell from 36% above the national average to 4% below (as of 2005).  I decided to do some checking on my own.

In 1982 – five years BEFORE Florida passes Concealed Carry – Florida had 1409 Murders and Non-Negligent Manslaughters.  The entire Country had 20818 (includes Florida’s numbers).  The average is 416 (rounding down, you can’t have .36 crimes).  In 1982, Florida is 993 crimes higher than the national average.

Five years later, in 1987 when Florida passes Concealed Carry, Florida had 1371 Murders and Non-Negligent Manslaughters.  The National Average that year was 397.  Florida was still higher.

Five years after Florida passed their Concealed Carry law, they had 1208 Murders and Non-Negligent Manslaughters.  The National Average was 466.

That doesn’t seem to be much in the way of improvement.  Certainly it doesn’t appear that Concealed Carry had much of an affect at all.  However; perhaps, I’m not being fair.  What percent of all murders are committed in Florida?

What about the murder rate?

The murder rate is the number of offenses per 100,000 people.  Florida’s murder rate in 1982 was 13.5; the Nation’s murder rate was 9.1. To put it in perspective, California’s was 11.2 and Texas was 16.1.  Sadly, the District of Columbia had a murder rate of 30.7 – the highest in the nation.  In fact the District of Columbia always has the highest murder rate.  This is a sad state of affairs when we can’t look after our nation’s capital.

Since 1982, the Nation’s murder rate has dropped from 9.1 to 5.  Florida’s has dropped from 13.5 to 5.5.  Still higher than the National murder rate, but still pretty impressive.  In the same time span, the National murder rate dropped from 9.1 to 5.

Is the website correct?  Nope.  Florida in 1982 was 32.59% higher than the National murder rate.  In 1987, Florida was 27.19% higher than the National murder rate.  In 2005, Florida was 10.71% lower than the National murder rate, which is very impressive.  As of 2009, Florida is roughly 10% higher than the National murder rate.

{Part Two coming soon}

Texas Crime Statistics

Here I am in the middle of researching an article I hope to finish to post next week, when I see an article from 2010 regarding Crime statistics in Texas.  The headline read:

Less Murders, Violent Crime 15 Years after Concealed Carry

Since I was researching how concealed carry laws affect crime statistics – if at all – I stopped to read the article. Greg Googan, the author, mentions that then governor George W. Bush, signed concealed carry into law in 1995. Interesting, I would’ve thought Texas had concealed carry much longer than that.

But, here’s what really caught my eye, these two sentences:

“In 1994, there were 129,838 violent crimes reported in the state with 2,022 murders.
In 2008, the total amount of violent crimes had fallen to 123,564 with 1,374 homicides.”

To read that, you would assume that concealed carry had indeed lowered the crime rate. I decided to double-check the figures and according to the Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics, the number of violent crimes in Texas did drop from 129,838 in 1994 to 123,564 in 2008. That’s a drop of 6,274 violent crimes or 4.8%.

However; don’t be impressed just yet. According to the Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics, the number of violent crimes in Texas in 1993 was 137,419. Between 1993 and 1994, violent crimes dropped by 7,581 or 5.5%. In fact, if you go all the way back to 1960 (which is as far back as the Uniform Crime Reporting Statistic site goes), you can see that on average, violent crimes in Texas rise nearly every year until reaching a high of 145,743 in 1991. After that, violent crimes begin a slow and steady drop until 1998 when violent crimes reach a nine year low of 111,566 and then they begin a slow and study rise.

I feel pretty certain that the concealed carry law didn’t have that much affect on the lowering of violent crimes in Texas.  Violent crimes were already dropping before the law was signed or went into effect.  I did think it was interesting that the violent crimes spiked in 1991.  I’m curious if any other states had the same kinds of spikes for the same time period.

If I can really pass on anything from this outing into Texas’ crime statistics it is this:  Don’t believe everything you read.  Go look it up and check the facts for yourself.  Everyone has an agenda to push.  With so much misinformation on the web, it is smart to find the facts for yourself.

Ironically, when I saw this article, I wasn’t even looking up Texas’ crimes stats.  I was looking for Maryland, Minnesota and Wisconsin’s.

Concealed Carry Revisited

I’ve been thinking about Concealed Carry. If you remember, Owen from Boots & Sabers wrote a rebuttal to the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence press release. Then, I wrote a rebuttal to his rebuttal. Well, since then, I’ve been doing some more thinking about the subject.

First, I should mention that I am NOT against Concealed Carry. I believe that some citizens have legitimate needs to carry a concealed weapon. That is to say, I don’t believe that every Tom, Dick and Harry should be allowed to pack heat. I believe their needs to be very stringent restrictions. The Second Amendment states: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Well, we have a well regulated militia and, further, it doesn’t state that we can’t regulate just who those people are. Plus, I don’t believe bear arms translates into concealed carry. In the great state of Wisconsin, you are allowed to strap a gun to your hip and walk in public. Some municipalities will arrest you for disorderly conduct, just so you are forewarned.

Second, I do not like the bill as it is written. I have quite a few beefs, but I’ll only list my top four here:

  • There is a $25.00 fine for failure to give a peace officer your permit when requested and the same fine amount for failing to carry said permit.
  • I believe if you don’t hand over your permit to a police officer, you should have your permit revoked. Period. No appeal, no getting it back. If you are responsible enough to carry a loaded weapon in the public streets of this state, then you should be responsible enough to identify yourself to a police officer when asked. Period. End of story.
  • No permit while carrying needs to be a much higher fine than just $25.00. You won’t even notice the fine at that small amount. The fine should be at least $100.00. We’re talking about someone who is carrying a loaded weapon, for Pete’s sake! We have a much higher fine for someone who sells cigarettes to minors!
  • The permit cost of $75.00 is not high enough to cover the added cost of the new duties the Department of Justice will have to perform to ensure the proper compliancy with the new law. Plus, has anyone done a study to determine how much money will be spent at the DOJ to cover the coverage of permit carriers? Permit carriers should have to pay at least $150.00 in order to be allowed to carry a loaded handgun in public. The renewal could be less money.
  • Police Officers need to be given access to who has a Concealed Carry Permit. This is not an invasion of privacy. Officers can research and discover any license you might have, why should a Concealed Carry Permit holder be given any special treatment?
  • Concealed Carry Permit holders from other states are allowed to have the permit, with no background check, in our great state. Are they kidding? I’ve all ready pointed out how two states don’t even have permits – Alaska and Vermont. I barely trust our DOJ to run a proper background check, I’m going to trust a background check run in another state? No, we must perform checks on those who want the permit in our state. The only exceptions would be out of state police officers and military personnel.

Finally, I’d like to mention a fallacy that is found on many pro-conceal carry sites and blogs. The idea is that if a criminal doesn’t know just who is carrying a weapon, they won’t commit the crime. Well, I did some research and discovered that that statement is just not true. There are more, not less, murders committed in Concealed Carry states than in the five non-Concealed Carry states per 100,000 people. Further, there are more, not less, of the major crimes, such as Rape, Aggravated Assault and Robbery; in Concealed Carry States than in non-Concealed Carry states.

I’m not saying that I believe that Concealed Carry is responsible for the higher crime rates, I’m merely pointing out that being a Concealed Carry State does not mean less crime. It means that Concealed Carry is not preventing crime, despite what the pundits will try to lead you to believe.

I urge all my Wisconsin readers to take the time to actually read either the Senate’s version or the Assembly’s version of the Concealed Carry bill. Then, use your own thought process to decide if you are for it or against it. I urge you, once you’ve made your decision, to write your representative or your state senator or both and let them know exactly how you feel.

God Bless.

WISCONSON — AB 763 and SB 403

Concealed Carry Law in Wisconsin…

Are you as sick and tired of this law wasting our law makers’ precious time as I am? Governor Doyle has all ready vetoed it and he’ll veto it again.

The blog written by Owen on Boots & Sabers implies that only leftist people want this bill to not pass. This is not true. According to a recent survey conducted in Racine, 57% of Racine citizens do not support a concealed carry law.

One of the reasons that I even bring it up is because of this post from the Boots & Sabers blog. (Please click the link to read their blog. It will open in a new window.) Owen read the press release from The Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence regarding this law and determined that 1) The Coalition does not know about which it is talking and 2) it is a leftist organization.

I didn’t realize that only people on the left side of the aisle cared to prevent Domestic Violence and that people on the right side of the aisle didn’t.

Anyway, I am continuing this blog on the assumption that you have read both the .pdf from The Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence AND the Boots & Sabers reply.

Here’s how I’m going to do this. What Owen wrote will be in Red and what The Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence released will be in Blue (from where did I get that color scheme). Anyway, my responses will be in purple, because, well, that’s my favorite color and it’s my blog.

The Wisconsin Coalition wrote that:

as a largely unfunded mandate, it will raise taxes on Wisconsin residents

Owen wrote:

it is supported by fees and will not impact the tax burden.

I thought that Owen and I might agree on this, but I re-read the bill and it seems like the Department of Justice will have to do a lot of work to ensure that EVERYONE who has a Concealed Carry Permit or applies for one follows all of the guidelines. Just how will they
“revoke a license to carry a concealed weapon if the licensee no longer meets all of the requirements for licensure?”

The Wisconsin Coalition wrote:
unknown permit holders from other states will be allowed to carry concealed weapons here without any background check

Owen responded with:
Permit holders from other states would have had a background check in their own state.

Yeah, but that’s not good enough for me. Some states have very laxed requirements for background checks. I don’t agree that we should allow someone from Indiana enter our great state with a concealed weapon without a background check being performed here. I’d like to point out that of the 45 states that allow Concealed Carry Permits, 2 of them (Vermont and Alaska) do not require a permit. Vermont only processes a background check at the state level. Alaska processes a background check at the Federal level. Both states do not have either a requirement for a permit, nor do they require a waiting period.

The Wisconsin Coalition wrote:
the law enforcement officers will be placed at higher risk as the names of permit holders will remain private and confidential.

Owen responded with:
This presumes that permit holders would pose a greater threat to police officers than non-permit holders. Evidence from other states shows that concealed carry permit holders are statistically much less likely to commit any crime – much less a violent crime.

Owen, how do you know they won’t? We’re assuming that somehow people who wish to carry concealed weapons are more lawabiding than those who do not. Also, last I heard (and I’ll look for the article), Wisconsin Law Enforcement was AGAINST the concealed carry. Maybe, they don’t feel safe.

The Wisconsin Coalition wrote:
Law enforcement will not know who is lawfully carrying a weapon and who is not.

Owen responded with:
Permit holders are required to present their permit whenever they come in contact with a law enforcement officer. Although the officer would not know if a person was legally permitted to carry a concealed weapon without first identifying the person, neither would the officer know if anyone else is carrying a weapon legally or not. Possessing a permit does not pose any threat to either the public or the police.

Owen, please take the time to read the bill again. There isn’t a provision for permit carriers to identify themselves to law enforcement officers. It is only “upon the request of a law enforcement officer”. So, if the officer doesn’t ask, they won’t know. I would assume that most officers will not automatically remember to ask someone stopped for a speeding violation. Plus, it is almost a joke if the permit carry fails to display their license. It’s a forfeiture of $25.00.

The Wisconsin Coalition wrote:

The notion that more guns will lead to increased safety is not only ludicrous, but also flies in the face of any credible research evaluating access to firearms, increased injury and safety.

Owen replied:
No it doesn’t. This group is referring to studies done in the controlled environment of a clinical setting. But the real world tells us that firearm ownership rates and crime rates are only marginally related. For instance, almost everyone in Alaska and Switzerland owns a weapon, but the crime rates are well below that of New Jersey or Britain. Culture has a far greater effect on these things than firearm ownership rates.

So, I did some checking. I wanted to know if there are less murders in states that allow Concealed Carry over those that do not. Since it is easy to identify the five states that do not allow Concealed Carry, I merely went through the population statistics and matched them up with states with a pretty close population. Example, I matched Illinois (population 12,419,293) with Pennsylvania (population 12,281,054). I realize that this isn’t a perfect system, but it works.

The results that I received are as follows:

In the five states that do not allow Concealed Carry, there were a total of 24.1 murders per 100,000 people. In states that do allow Concealed Carry, there were a total of 27.4 murders per 100,000 people.

So, what does this tell us? Owen is partially correct. Whether or not your state allows Concealed Carry, you still have about the same chance of being murdered.

My conclusion would be that Concealed Carry does not necessarily make a state safer. If I had more time to research this, I could compare stats for other crimes, such as rape and and aggravated assault.

Now, before you comment that I must have jiggled with the figures, feel free to look them up yourselves. (Link opens in a new window.) Also, I’m uploading the spreadsheet I used to gather my totals. One more item on this, I looked up what states allowed Concealed Carry and compared their population. I didn’t go out of my way to lean the results to one side. If I had wanted to do that, I would’ve chosen Missouri over Arkansas. They had 9 murders per 100,000 — which is even higher than both Texas and California and both of those states have more than triple the population of Missouri!

Now, I wish I had more time to answer all of the points Owen brought up in his blog, but I don’t. Please take the time to read both documents yourself and then contact your representative and tell them how you want them to vote.

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