The National Shooting Sports Foundation applauded a recent study of concealed carry laws that determined no connection between relaxed statutes and increases in violent crime.
Researchers from the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, presented their findings at the 2018 Clinical Congress — hosted in Boston in October — ahead of the article’s publication in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons this month.
“We found no relationship between the type of concealed carry process or the general permissiveness of the process and increased rates of homicide or other violent crime,” Dr. Mark Hamill, lead author on the study, told the ACS during his Oct. 22 presentation.
The team analyzed federal data collected from the U.S. Department of Justice Uniform Crime Reporting Program and Center for Disease Control between 1986 and 2015, comparing state-level results to concealed carry legislation on a sliding scale including “no carry,” “may issue,” “shall issue” and “unrestricted carry.”
“There has been a trend in all states over the past 30 years toward less restrictive concealed carry,” Hamill said. “Every state and the District of Columbia now has some legislation in place to allow for some form of civilian concealed carry. Changes to concealed carry legislation likely won’t reduce firearm violence.”
Larry Keane, NSSF’s general counsel, said the researchers’ thorough review made it stand out from other studies with “inconsistent mixes of results.”
“The dataset used was complete, with no missing variables,” he wrote in a Dec. 12 blog post. “The methodology is sound and rigorous, essentially using each state as its own control, rather than testing different states against each other, which removes state-to-state variations.”
Hamill, a former police officer and member of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, said he advocates for unbiased research focused on keeping guns out of the wrong hands — a place he often found them while patrolling the streets of Brooklyn in the 1990s.
“I saw that it’s not the people who legally own firearms who are the problem. It’s the people who use firearms for nefarious purposes that are the problem. So how do we keep the guns out of those hands?” he said. “We need to pursue people who fail background checks. We need to pursue straw purchases, where someone intentionally purchases a gun for someone who is disqualified. These laws aren’t consistently enforced.”
He said physicians only accept high-quality, unbiased research when making clinical care decisions. “We shouldn’t accept lower-quality evidence to make policy decisions than we would to take care of our own patients,” he said.
Keane said he hopes others share Hamill’s sentiments. “Let’s hope that other researchers follow suit with more research that uses sound methodology to examine data without the bias and deliberate inaccuracies embedded in so much of the research published in recent years.” he said.