Discuss gun control with someone, no matter which side of the fence you are on, and you will typically hit upon this topic: gun control and violent crime.

The question posed by one party or another is often, “Do more guns lead to more violence?” If you look to both anecdotal evidence and current research, the answer is no. In fact, more guns has been shown to equate to less violent crime across the nation. While regulation of guns is a hot topic, the argument that more guns equals more crimes is simply not a valid one.

In a study of “shall-issue” laws released by Professor John R. Lott, Jr. of the University of Chicago Law School, crime statistics from the FBI from 1977 to 1992 were closely analyzed. In the thirty-one states that allow the legal concealed carry of handguns, the numbers are surprising.

Murders were reduced by 8.5%. Rapes were reduced by 5%. Aggravated assaults were reduced by 7%. All of these reductions occurred after the states adopted “shall-issue” laws. Forget percentages and look at real numbers. 1,570 people would have had their lives spared, 4,177 people would not have been raped, and 60,000 aggravated assaults would not have occurred if these laws had been in effect prior to 1993.

The report also points to other statistics. For example, of the 300,000 concealed weapon permit holders in Florida registered between 1945 and 1987, only five were involved in violent crimes. None of these crimes resulted in a death. Anti-gun proponents often argue that if a person has a gun, they are more likely to commit a crime in a situation that does not necessarily call for the use of a weapon.

Traffic disputes were studied across all 31 states with “shall-issue” laws. There is only a single instance on record, in Texas, in which a concealed handgun was used in a traffic altercation. An investigation found that this weapon was used in self-defense. What about accidental death by handgun? Each year, it is less than 200 across all 50 states.

No study will end the debate about whether or not people should be permitted to carry concealed weapons. It is important, however, to note that the numbers are not on the side of anti-gun advocates. Guns do not kill people, and guns do not commit crimes. Guns, in fact, are highly likely to be a deterrent to crime and those who hold them responsibly are not the people we need to worry about.

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