Backers of allowing people to carry concealed handguns say such a policy reduces crime, but that has not been the result in at least four states that have tried it, including Texas, according to a newly published academic study led by a Texas A&M researcher, reports the Texas Tribune. The study published in the Journal of Criminology looked at the connection between crime rates and concealed handgun permits for each county in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida and Texas. Researchers used two sources of data from 1998 to 2010: concealed handgun license information and arrest data from the FBI. They found no connection between allowing concealed weapons and crime rates, which are trending downward nationwide.
“The idea that concealed handguns lead to less crime is at the center of much firearms legislation, but the science behind that conclusion has been murky,” said lead author Charles Phillips of the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health. “The results have been so inconclusive that the National Academy of Sciences in 2004 called for a new approaches to studying the issue, which is what we've done with this research.” Other research has reached different conclusions. “Studies are studies,” said Larry Arnold of the Texas Concealed Handgun Association, which promotes Second Amendment rights and education about gun legislation. Since concealed carry legislation began taking effect more than 35 years ago, he said, opponents have predicted “blood in the streets,” “fender benders turning into fire fights” and “more people with guns would shoot out instead of talk it out.” They were wrong, and concealed handgun license holders are less likely than other groups to be involved in a crime, Arnold said, “so I think that's a pretty good record.”