Six years after new Michigan rules made it much easier to get a license to carry concealed weapons, the number of people legally packing heat has increased more than six-fold, reports the Detroit Free Press. Dire predictions about increased violence and bloodshed have largely gone unfulfilled. The incidence of violent crime in Michigan in the six years since the law went into effect has been below the rate of the previous six years. The overall incidence of death from firearms, including suicide and accidents, also has declined.
More than 155,000 Michiganders — about one in every 65 — now now authorized to carry loaded guns as they go about their everyday affairs. About 25,000 people had permits before the law changed in 2001. Academic studies of concealed weapons laws that generally allow citizens to obtain permits have shown different results, said John Lott, a visiting professor at the University of Maryland who has studied the issue. About two-thirds of the studies suggest the laws reduce crime; the rest show no net effect, he said. In Michigan and elsewhere (liberal permitting is the rule in about 40 states), those who seek permits, get training and pay licensing fees tend to be “the kind of people who don’t break laws,” Lott said.