“When you allow people to carry concealed handguns, you see changes in the behavior of criminals.”
– John R. Lott, Crime Prevention Research Center

concealed carry firearmAccording to research by John Lott, the murder rate between 2007 and 2013 has dropped by 22 percent, while at the same time the rate of Americans with concealed carry permits has skyrocketed by 130 percent.

Compare this to the dramatic increase in crime rates in England and Australia when the populace was disarmed.

Is Lott right?

Tod Burke, a former police officer and a professor of criminal justice at Radford University disagrees. Burke told Fox News that, he “doesn’t buy the idea that gun permits are driving the reduction in crime.”

Burke also told Fox News that he thinks better policing is a major factor.

“I think we have to be cautious about having a causal relationship between gun permits and a decrease in crime,” Burke said. “[Lott’s] theory is one to consider, but not to the exclusion of others.”

So who is right? This writer thinks so-called better policing may be a minor factor, but sides with Lott.

Why? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that most thugs and criminals won’t do the crime if they can’t do the time or pay the fine. It’s common sense, and Lott’s data supports it.

Fear of consequences changes people’s behavior. That is especially true when the time for the crime is time in a hospital from gunshot wounds or the fine for the crime is being carried by six.

Where do most mass killings occur? They occur in criminal safe zones, like schools, where cowards believe that they won’t face effective armed resistance.

And in most crimes, the police are second responders who are at least several minutes away when needed.

The real first responders are either armed citizens or innocent victims desperately trying to protect themselves or loved ones.

Which do you want to be – victor or victim?

Do more guns make for safer streets?

Who is right – Lott or Burke?

In a Fox News Report, John Lott said that the number of concealed carry permit holders is up from 4.5 million to 11.1 million.

Lott told Fox news that, “When you allow people to carry concealed handguns, you see changes in the behavior of criminals.”

“Some criminals stop committing crimes, others move on to crimes in which they don’t come into contact with victims and others actually move to areas where they have less fear of being confronted by armed victims.”

Increasing gun ownership, litigation and new state laws have all contributed to the rise in concealed carry permits.

In March, Illinois became the 50th state to begin issuing concealed weapons permits. But the cost and other requirements for obtaining the permits varies greatly, from $10 in South Dakota to Illinois’ $600 in fees and training.

Six states don’t require a permit for legal gun owners to conceal their weapons, and Lott notes those states have some of the lowest violent crime rates in the nation.

The real measure of the deterrent effect of concealed carry permits, according to Lott, is not laws on the books, but the percentage of a given state’s population that holds the permits.

In 10 states, more than 8 percent of adults hold concealed carry permits, and all are among the states with the lowest crime rates.

“We found that the size of the drop [in crime] is directly related to the percentage of the population with permits,” Lott said.

Earlier this year, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that California must allow law-abiding citizens to carry concealed firearms in public, striking down the core of the state’s permit system for handguns.

The judges found in a 2-1 holding that San Diego County’s rule that residents must show “good cause” to obtain a concealed-weapons permit violated their constitutional rights.

That ruling is awaiting an en banc review by the entire circuit.