I Also Do Requests, Part II

More fisking of the Brady Center “CCW FAQ” page, per reader Sarah’s request.

Next up:

Q: What are the state laws that allow people to carry guns?
A: The carrying of concealed weapons is prohibited in the following 7 4 states:

Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Wisconsin

The carrying of concealed weapons is permitted in the following 14 9 states, but only with a CCW license issued by police. These states allow local law enforcement authorities to approve or deny an application for a CCW license based on an applicant’s full record. Called “may-issue” licensing, an applicant must demonstrate a specific need (e.g. a security guard or merchant who transports money to a bank) AND these licenses are generally restricted to certain times and places. Because of the stringent “need” requirement, few CCW licenses are issued in most of these states:

Alabama, California, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina

In the following 29 36 states, practically all non-felons can obtain a CCW license and carry a concealed weapon. These states require law enforcement officials to issue a CCW license to an individual unless s/he is in a prohibited category (generally, a convicted felon). Called “shall-issue” licensing, applicants are not required to demonstrate “need” to be granted a license, and in most of these states, applicants can obtain a license by only claiming a lawful purpose such as basic “self-defense”:

Alaska*, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado*, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming, New Mexico, Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio

*Note: Although Colorado does not require a showing of “need”, law enforcement officials have considerable discretion in granting CCW permits. In practice, it is extremely difficult to obtain a CCW license in Colorado.

Then Colorado isn’t really a “shall-issue” state, is it? I’m actually uncertain as to the status of Colorado’s CCW laws. Perhaps someone out there can clear up the confusion.

In one state, Vermont, no license is required to carry a concealed weapon.

*Not quite. Alaska became, as of 2004, the SECOND state with “Vermont Carry” though for reasons of reciprocity with other states you can jump through the hoops and get an Alaska CCW. Overall, I don’t have a problem with this as it is factual, though badly out of date, and lacks the visual impact of the animated graphic from the previous post.
Next up, the meat of the issue:

Q: What happened in Florida after they weakened their CCW law?
Florida was the first state to pass a CCW law. Weakening CCW laws has not made Florida a safer place; in fact, the opposite is true. Florida’s CCW law became effective on October 1, 1987. Between 1987 and 1992, the violent crime rate in that state increased 17.8%. In every year since 1987, Florida has had the highest rate of violent crime in the nation according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report. The violent crime rate is composed of four offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault; all of which involve force or threat of force according to the FBI.

Florida’s handgun homicide rate has decreased somewhat in the past few years – part of this may well have been a result of the strong gun laws enacted during that time. As the following chart indicates, the handgun homicide rate in Florida increased considerably after passage of the CCW law in 1987. Decreases in handgun homicide occurred only after tough new gun laws were passed:

Year Number of Murders Legislative Action
1987 569 CCW becomes effective October 1, 1987.
1988 N/A No data available.
1989 700 After a rash of unintentional deaths of children by firearms, the Florida legislature passes the first Child Access Prevention Law (CAP) in the nation.
1990 588 A background check on handgun purchasers passes in the Florida Legislature, effective October 1, 1990. A state-wide election on a Constituional Amendment (Article 1, Section 8) for a three-day waiting period on handgun purchasers passes by a margin of 85% to 15% effective November 6, 1990.
1991 565 In accordance with the Constitutional Amendment, the Florida Legislature makes it a felony to violate the three-day waiting period.
1992 554
1993 525*

The bottom line is that Florida, now the most violent state in the nation, has not seen the results promised by their CCW law. There has been an increase in violent crime with no corresponding increase in personal security.

These trends continue in Florida. According to 1994 FBI Uniform Crime Report data, Florida cities still rank high in terms of violent crime. In 1994, Tampa and Miami were the 4th and 5th most violent cities in America. Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and Miami ranked 1, 2 and 3 respectively in the category of highest rates of property crime (which includes burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft).

Let’s look at ALL homicides, not just HANDGUN homicides, shall we? (All data from the CDC WISQARS tool)

Year Number of Homicides Florida Homicide rate National Homicide Rate
1987 1,480 12.34 8.59
1988 1,709 13.89 8.91
1989 1,593 12.61 9.15
1990 1,583 12.16 9.87
1991 1,460 10.92 10.38
1992 1,369 10.03 9.80
1993 1,374 9.87 9.87
1994 1,308 9.19 9.33
1995 1,230 8.46 8.47
1996 1,176 7.92 7.66
1997 1,115 7.34 7.15
1998 1,061 6.85 6.49
1999 964 6.12 6.05
2000 937 5.86 5.96
2001 969 5.92 7.12

Now, starting in 1989 the total number of homicides did nothing but trend DOWN, did it not? And meanwhile, what was the rest of the nation doing? National homicide rates continued to trend up for two more years. The Brady Center called Florida the “most violent state in the nation” but in 1993 Florida’s homicide rates matched the national average, down from 43% higher than the national average just five years before. And Florida’s homicide rate – continuously trending downward – hovered in close proximity to the national average from that point forward.

Yet weren’t the gun control groups calling Florida the “Gunshine State” and “Dodge City East” when the bill was being considered in the legislature? The Brady Center has to cherry-pick homicides committed with handguns to obscure the fact that initially, homicide trends in Florida were better than the national average, and later were at least equal to the national average. And the only thing that changed in 1989 was a “Child Access Prevention Law” that made it a misdemeanor to leave a gun where a child could access it. Yet we’re supposed to accept that THAT law was the “tough” one that caused the decrease in homicide rates after 1989?

If you believe that, I’ve got the title to this bridge in Brooklyn…

And what of that “most violent state” business? Well, check this page out for National rates of various types of (recorded) crime from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, and this page for Florida’s rates. Here’s a graph of Florida’s violent crime rates since 1994:

Photobucket pooped!

And one showing the percentage change from year to year:

Photobucket pooped!

I thought “liberalized concealed carry” was supposed to make violent crime go UP? Isn’t that what the gun control groups told anybody who’d listen? Isn’t that still what you see in the op-eds when another state looks at joining the 36 other states that have it? Florida’s ALWAYS been at the top for violent crime! Why do you think the people finally went for a “shall-issue” concealed carry law? They were tired of the high violent crime rates. They may still be #1, but the actual rate is far, far lower today than it was in 1987.

The gun control groups tell us that “liberalized concealed carry” legislation will result in “more guns on the street” and that more guns on the street will lead to “Dodge City” shootouts and higher crime. But it never happens. Gun rights proponents tell us that “shall issue” concealed carry laws will make the community safer. That hasn’t been (in my opinion) statistically proven, but the assertions of the gun control groups have been proven wrong over and over and over again. The worst thing they can honestly say is that liberalized concealed carry might not reduce violent crime.

I can live with that.

One more thing: It would be a relatively simple matter for the Brady Center to update this “FAQ” page. The data is out there. But it apparently suits their purposes better to use older data, since the later data doesn’t make their position look as good, does it?

(More to come…)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *