Gun owners say it all the time, “Allowing law-abiding citizens to carry concealed firearms does not increase crime.”
And we say it so often because, well, it’s true. Putting guns in the hands of responsible citizens does not make society more dangerous.
Evidence for this maxim is all around. Recently, in fact, KCRG, a local Iowa news affiliate, examined the state’s ‘shall issue’ concealed carry law two years after it’s passage and what the investigative reporter found was quite telling.
For starters, the number of CCW permit holders more than doubled from 2010 to 2011, the year in which the CCW law was enacted. According to the Iowa Department of Public Safety, in 2010, there were 40,747 permit holders. In 2011, that number surged to 102,729 Iowans with concealed carry licenses.
Given this bit of information, a “low-information voter” (the buzzword of the day) or the average Joe might expect a spike in gun-related crime, right?
Well, actually, in looking at the number of shootings in a place like Ceder Rapids, there was an increase from 2011 to 2012. In 2011, Cedar Rapids police responded to a dozen gun-related incidents. In 2012, that number is already at 52.
Now, to be clear, those gun-related incidents include “shot-up buildings, suicides and murders,” so it’s difficult to really discern what specific factor lead to the overall increase (i.e., In a downed economy, is it possible that more people are committing suicide?).
That said, though, there’s also one other critical piece of information, that is, police records showed that not one of the known offenders in any of those gun-related incidents had a concealed carry permit.
In other words, whatever it was that caused the spike in shootings in Ceder Rapids, it was not CCW license holders (Overall, and throughout the entire state, violent crime was down from 2010 to 2011, check out Iowa’s crime data here).
“The violence isn’t coming from the people with permits, we don’t have to worry about that,” gun shop owner Ernie Traugh told KCRG.
Indeed, but some individuals, despite the evidence, still see concealed carry as a scourge to society.
Gun control advocate John Johnson worries that contentious situations involving gun owners have the potential to turn violent.
“…a shooting during an argument, or a dispute, or an unintended shooting or an attempt of suicide…” Johnson, the former director of Iowans for the Prevention of Gun Violence, told KCRG.
Like many activists, Johnson points the finger at politicians for not having the temerity to fight the NRA and to introduce tough gun laws.
“Lawmakers are gutless when it comes to standing up to the gun lobby on this issue,” said Johnson.
It could be that they’re “gutless” or it could just be that the majority of lawmakers recognize the futility in fighting the facts that gun control is wholly ineffective at thwarting criminal behavior and concealed carry permit holders do not pose a threat to society.
Either way, it’s good to see that more and more Iowans are embracing their 2nd Amendment rights. Hopefully, some day soon, all 50 states will pass ‘shall issue’ or ‘Constitutional’ concealed carry laws.