In the ongoing debate over concealed carry one point that’s not often explicitly discussed is to the extent which the gun community is law-abiding.
That is to say, when compared to the general population do concealed carry permit holders commit more crimes? To put it another way, are gun owners really all that law-abiding?
According to a story published in The Wichita Eagle that studied crimes committed by those with CCWs licenses in Kansas, the answer to this question is rather evident:
Of the 51,078 permits that have been issued by the state since the law took effect in 2007, 44 permit holders have been charged with a crime while using a firearm through late October, according to records provided by the Kansas Attorney General’s Office.
That works out to one charge for every 1,161 permit holders, or 0.09 percent.
The numbers squeeze even tighter when you consider that of the 44 permit holders charged, 17 licenses have been revoked because they were convicted of a crime that disqualifies them from having a permit.
Now, in juxtaposing that figure with the violent crime rate for the overall population, one can detect a noticeable difference:
The violent crime rate in Kansas in 2011 was one for every 198 people at least 21 years old, or 0.5 percent, according to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.
It should be noted, and as The Wichita Eagle pointed out, there are limitations to looking at the numbers in such a simplified manner, but even so, it appears that concealed carry permit are overwhelmingly law-abiding folk when compared to non-permit holders.
Still, gun rights advocates want to remind the public that although statistically speaking concealed carriers are less likely to commit crimes than the average Joe, it doesn’t mean that all CCW holders are model citizens.
“Just because someone has a concealed-carry license, there’s really no guarantee that person can’t snap at some point,” Patricia Stoneking, president of the Kansas State Rifle Association told the Eagle. “There are bad apples in every basket.”
Yet, it would be wrong to pass legislation that’s designed to curtail gun rights due a few bad apples within the gun community, Stoneking explained.
“You don’t punish the populace by restricting their liberties because somebody might do something wrong,” Stoneking said. “If we were going to do that, we’d take cars away so people won’t have the opportunity to drive drunk.”
In the past, Guns.com has investigated crime levels amongst CCW permit holders in two other states, Minnesota and North Carolina. The findings in each case were similar in that when compared to the general public, CCW permit holders committed fewer crimes on average.
To give one an idea, the Vice President of the Minnesota Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance, Andrew Rothman, told the Star Tribune that permit holders commit “much less than their share of crime,” citing as an example that though “one in seven Minnesotans has a DWI on their record, only one in 545 of the state’s permit holders got one after getting a permit”.
So, given all this evidence that shows CCW permit holders are, by and large, responsible and law-abiding, one must iterate the obvious question, why are people still so vehemently opposed to concealed carry?