One of failing presidential candidate Ron DeSantis’ most recent legislative victories was allowing Floridians to carry loaded concealed weapons without facing a pesky permit process. Meanwhile, a new study out of Rutgers University offers further proof that lax gun safety laws leads to more gun violence.
The study, published in the Journal of Urban Health, looked at “832 concealed carry weapons licenses issued in 832 counties in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Utah from 2010 through 2019.” The authors found no evidence that carrying those concealed loaded weapons made people in those 11 states any safer.
Rather, the increases in licenses issued “were statistically associated with increases in total gun homicide” the following years. In other words, an increase in concealed carry licenses led to an increase in the number of gun-related deaths the following year.
“We take this … to mean that people aren’t using concealed guns in public defensively to thwart potential homicides,” said Daniel Semenza, director of interpersonal research of the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center, who is also a co-author of the study. “Rather, having more guns in public through concealed carry appears to be more dangerous and leads to higher homicide numbers. Policy makers need to seriously consider the dangers of allowing more guns in more public places, understanding that an increasingly armed society does not necessarily make us any safer.”
This new study aligns with a Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health study last year. That research found that the “average rate of assaults with firearms increased an average of 9.5% relative to forecasted trends in the first 10 years after 34 states relaxed restrictions on civilians carrying concealed firearms in public.” And that 2022 study built off of a similar 2017 study, which saw significantly higher gun homicide rates in states with more permissible concealed carry laws.
Every state in our country allows for people to carry concealed weapons in public, but a majority of them—27 states as of Sept. 1, when Nebraska’s permitless carry law takes effect—allow people to carry loaded, concealed handguns in public with no checks at all. Ten of them have “shall issue” laws, which do not allow authorities any discretion when it comes to denying permits to people who meet the bare minimum requirements.
The radical right-wing Supreme Court hypocritically decided recently, in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen ,to conveniently ignore “state’s rights” when it comes to gun laws. This means that more unsafe legislation and lawsuits are coming, and the losers are families who lose someone to gun violence.
Fortunately, more gun-related data became available to researchers after the federal government resumed funding gun-violence research in 2019, over decades-long opposition from right-wing Republicans. The studies all show what was obvious to most of us: Lax gun safety laws and more guns on the streets leads to more gun violence.
This proof is what Republicans and Second Amendment fetishists like the NRA want to avoid as they continue to actively try and stop federal funding for these studies.