The latest preliminary report on crime in the United States in 2011 is being used as evidence for something concealed carry advocates have believed for quite some time: that the violent crime rate is continuing its decline that began when concealed carry (also known as CPL or CCW) programs took off.
The data, not yet official until the release of full statistics in the fall, shows a 4% drop in 2011 in violent crimes such as murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. This follows a 6% drop from 2009 to 2010 and 4.4% drop from 2008 to 2009.
Meanwhile, gun ownership has been on the rise, with companies like Ruger and Smith & Wesson posting unbelievable sales numbers (more than one million firearms in one year for Ruger, and nearly half a billion in backlog firearm sales for S&W announced in April) and rates of CPL acquisition exploding, such as in Wisconsin, which has shown incredible growth in both firearm sales and concealed carry permits since the introduction of its concealed carry law in 2011. With firearms such as the Ruger LCP leading the charge as one of the best-selling firearms in the U.S., it’s highly doubtful that the two are not related.
Gun control groups have been notably silent so far on the issue, as can be expected considering what these findings may entail. Still, it could and will be argued by some that crediting this decline to an increase in legal concealed carry is a basic logical error, the cum hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. That is to say, one assumes that because two events occurred together, one must have caused the other. In truth, people arguing this concept are probably not 100% incorrect. The decline has likely has many contributing factors, including changes in police tactics, tougher sentencing for criminals, an aging general population, and an increasingly isolated lifestyle, but that does not mean that the increase in concealed carry has not ultimately played a large factor.
As Andrew Arulanandam, spokesman for the NRA stated in The Washington Times, “This is not a one-year anomaly, but a steady decline in the FBI’s violent-crime rates. It would be disingenuous for anyone to not credit increased self-defense laws to account for this decline.”
Will the trend continue? Many are worried that the economic downturn will eventually bare its teeth, as economic hardship is virtually always a precursor toward skyrocketing crime rates, or that we’ve hit the bottom of the drop in crime and that it will quickly be on its way up again. No one is really certain, but if these statistics are correct, and CPL acquisition has been having this kind of impact, then prepared CPL holders will not only be ready to defend themselves if things do turn south, but they might, just might, never have to at all.
Image from user Smallchief from the Wikimedia Commons