On July 9, 2013, a bill to recognize Illinois gun owners’ right to carry concealed firearms was passed by both chambers of the state Legislature. Illinois became the last state in the nation to allow public possession of concealed guns.
Gun control advocates warned that high-crime areas, like Chicago, would only see more violence if residents were allowed to carry guns in public.
In reality, the opposite may be happening.
On Tuesday, the Chicago Police Department announced that the city experienced its lowest murder rate since 1958 in the first quarter of 2014. There were 6 fewer murders than the same timeframe in 2013 — a 9 percent drop — and 55 fewer murders than 2012, police said.
Further, there were reportedly 90 fewer shootings and 119 fewer shooting victims compared to last year. There have also been 222 fewer shootings and 292 fewer shooting victims compared to the first quarter in 2012.
All crime is down 25 percent from 2013 and police say they have confiscated over 1,300 illegal guns in the last three months.
Now, it’s entirely too soon to conclude that the concealed carry law is partly responsible for Chicago’s across-the-board drop in the crime. However, it is not unreasonable to conclude the drop in crime may undercut gun control advocates’ argument that more guns equal more crime.
It should also be noted that the first concealed carry permits were issued in late February, so the decrease in crime can't yet be attributed to more people carrying guns.
The more telling statistics will be revealed as 2014 marches on. Still, as always, correlation doesn't necessarily mean causation.
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy called the drop in crime a “trend.” He attributed the drop to the “talent level of individuals” on the police force, “intelligent policing strategies” and other programs. He did not mention the concealed carry law.
Independent Journal Review’s Mike Miller outlines some of the research that has been conducted on the issue:
Gun crime experts John Lott, Jr. and David Mustard made the famous argument in “Crime, Deterrence, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Firearms” that: “When state concealed handgun laws went into effect in a county, murders fell by 8.5 percent, and rapes and aggravated assaults fell by 5 and 7 percent.” More guns mean less crime.
Gary Kleck, PhD., also a gun crime expert, found that the crime deterrence effect of firearms possession is significant: sophisticated statistics suggest three to four crimes are stopped by a handgun than are committed in the United States every year.
Detroit, a longtime progressive city plagued by violent crime, is currently taking an armed stand against criminals. The city’s police chief, James Craig, has advised “fed up” residents to exercise their Second Amendment rights if they feel their life is in danger.
He said criminals should be afraid to break into homes or commit other crimes because it could be the last thing they ever do. Craig also pointed out, “you’re not always going to have time to dial 911.”
As TheBlaze reported last month, the number of fatal self-defense shootings are on the rise in Detroit. There had already been 10 fatal self-defense shootings in the city as of March 27, while there were only 15 in all of 2013.
Time will tell if criminals in Detroit will get the message and think twice before breaking the law. One thing is undeniable, as Craig says, "a lot of good Detroiters are fed up."
This story has been updated to note that the first concealed carry permits in Illinois were issued in late February.