The Effects Of Concealed Handgun Laws Essay

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The Effects Of Concealed Handgun Laws Essay, Research Paper Executive Summary Loosen restrictions on handguns? There is currently much debate surrounding the issue of gun control. Much of this debate is centered around the nondiscretionary concealed-handgun laws, also known as “conceal and carry” laws, that have become increasingly popular. Proponents of concealed handgun laws state that the laws lower the rate of violent crime, while detractors claim that raising the number of guns in society can only raise the crime rate. The question of whether or not these laws raise the rate of violent crime and handgun-related injuries has also been raised. Currently, thirty-one states have enacted nondiscretionary laws, and there are substantial statistics available regarding the

crime rates both before and after the passing of these laws. Several researchers have used this data to determine the costs and benefits associated with nondiscretionary laws. Of particular note among these studies is one conducted by John R. Lott, Jr. of the University of Chicago. Using complex multiple regression models, Lott was able to determine the following benefits to society gained by implementing nondiscretionary laws: Gains to the Welfare of Society: * Violent crime rates would fall by the following: - murder reduced 8% - rape reduced 5% - aggravated assaults reduced 7% * For 1992, this would result in: - 1400 fewer murders - 4200 fewer rapes - 60000 fewer aggravated assaults * When monetary values are assigned to these values, society saves: - $4.2 billion from murder

- $347 million from rape - $1.4 billion from aggravated assault Implications There are increases in the rates of property crime associated with nondiscretionary concealed-handgun laws, but these increases are very small when compared with the gains made from reductions in violent crime. No significant effects on the number of handgun-related accidents were noted in Lott s study. As demonstrated in studies such as Lott s, implementing nondiscretionary concealed-handgun laws increases the welfare of society by decreasing the number of violent crimes. The Effects of Concealed-Handgun Laws The crime rate in the United States has increased substantially over the past few decades. This disturbing trend has prompted the research into and creation of an array of laws and regulations,

which may or may not be effective. Many of the laws and regulations designed have dealt with the issue of gun control. In the past, it has generally been the consensus that crime rates would decrease if the number of guns in existence would also decrease. Only recently has information contrary to this point been brought to light. Over the past decade, many states have adopted laws that allow citizens who meet certain minimum criteria (lack of a criminal record, age restrictions, fees, training, lack of mental illness) to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon. These nondiscretionary laws, known also as “conceal and carry,” “right to carry,” or “shall issue” laws, have greatly increased the number of handguns in circulation among the general population. Currently,

thirty-one states have enacted nondiscretionary concealed-handgun laws. Many of these states have had the laws on the books for about ten years, which means that researchers now have enough data to properly analyze the effects nondiscretionary laws may have on the rates of various crimes. By utilizing the information on the change of crime rates, researchers have been able to address the question of whether or not enacting nondiscretionary concealed-handgun laws decreases the rate of violent crime (murder, aggravated assault, rape, and robbery) and thus increases the welfare of society. While it has been proposed that these laws lower the rate of violent crime, it is also thought that they may increase the incidence of property crimes (auto theft, larceny, and burglary) and