Florida Update: Concealed Carry Permits Up, Violent Crime Down

By:  Bob Adelmann
03/21/2013
       
Florida Update: Concealed Carry Permits Up, Violent Crime Down

Florida's latest report on crime and permits once again confirms Professor John Lott's contention that carrying concealed reduces violent crime. Voices opposed are becoming muted.

The recent report from ABC News that in Florida, where there are more concealed weapons permits than anywhere else in the country, violent crime has dropped to the lowest point in history, delighted Sean Caranna, executive director of Florida Carry, Inc. “We’re happy to have facts and statistics put into these debates, because every time they do, we win,” he said.

Firearm-related violent crimes in Florida have dropped by one-third in just four years, 2007 to 2011, while concealed carry permits jumped by 90 percent in that period. Further, violent crime of any kind dropped almost as much, 26 percent.

There were naysayers, but their voices are becoming muted as more and more states have adopted “shall-issue” carry laws and have seen their own crime rates drop as well. One of the naysayers was Gary Kleck, a Florida State criminologist who calls himself “as liberal as they get.” He said the link between more permits and less crime might just be a coincidence. He said that nationally, crime has been falling steadily since 1991 and Florida’s numbers might just be part of that trend. He warned against drawing too hasty a conclusion that one statistic caused the other. "The real problem there in drawing conclusions is that you’re guessing why that decline or change in gun violence has occurred," he stated.

In a backhanded support of Kleck’s warning, Arthur Hayhoe, the executive director of the Florida Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, said “It’s difficult to attach gun control to the reduction of crime, and vice versa. We don’t know what works. We can’t prove that gun control works because we don’t have gun control laws.”

Kleck has authored numerous books and articles over the last twenty years, but none garnered as much national attention as his 1994 National Self-Defense Survey which, based on a survey of 5,000 households, concluded that there were far more incidents were gun owners defended themselves against potentially violent crime than there were actual crimes involving the use of guns. This outraged liberals who thought Kleck would find something that would support their typically anti-gun posture. One such was Marvin Wolfgang, another liberal Florida criminologist who described himself as being “as strong a gun-control advocate as can be found among all criminologists in this country.” He said,

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