A permitless carry bill is on Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s desk, but his signature is not guaranteed at this point and anti-2A activists are mounting a last minute effort to persuade the governor to veto the measure because of opposition by some in law enforcement.
On today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, we’re taking a closer look at the main arguments that opponents of Constitutional Carry are making in Ohio; first, that because many police chiefs are opposed to the measure, DeWine should strike it down. Failing that, the anti-gun activists are quick to trot out studies that they claim prove Constitutional Carry is dangerous.
As is the case in most places where permitless carry has been enacted, Ohio police forces have spoken out against this bill because it will make their jobs harder and more dangerous. If the plight of police is not high on your list of priorities, know that public health researchers have found that states with permitless carry laws have experienced an 11 percent increase in handgun homicide rates after their enactment. This comes on top of the 14 percent higher rate of violent crime that followed the adoption of concealed carry permitting system similar to the one Ohio currently has in place. As it is, gun deaths in Ohio increased by 66 percent between 2007 and 2021. Between the “stand your ground” law Ohio adopted midway through last year and this new law, those numbers are almost certain to get worse.
Columbus, Ohio journalist Craig Calcaterra must have forgotten about the fact that the Buckeye State Sheriffs Association is actually supporting Constitutional Carry. Either that or he simply didn’t want his readers to know that, contrary to his claims, there’s plenty of support for permitless carry among police in the state.
As for the research Calcaterra points to, Dr. John Lott at the Crime Prevention Research Center has also taken a look at homicide rates in Constitutional Carry states, and found no increase in murder rates in the three years after the law takes effect in any given state. In fact, there was a modest decrease in the number of homicides, though Lott found that overall violent crime rates were unaffected by the change.
Beyond the debate over what the crime data shows, however, there’s an undeniable point of information that cuts against what opponents of Constitutional Carry are peddling; the fact that no state has ever gone back and repealed its permitless carry law once it’s taken effect. In fact, the same can be said of the 42 states that are “shall issue” when it comes to their concealed carry license. Not even the Democrats in liberal Vermont, which was the original permitless carry state, have seen fit to try to roll back the current law and replace it with a “shall issue” or “may issue” regime.
If Constitutional Carry were really the apocalyptic nightmare that opponents like Calcaterra claim it is, you’d think at least one of the more than twenty states that have adopted the law would have repealed it or at least modified it in some fashion, but that simply hasn’t happened. Compare that to bail reform laws in blue states like California and New York, which are now getting criticism from Democrats like New York Mayor Eric Adams and are likely to be “reformed” (if not repealed) in a number of Democrat-controlled legislatures this year.
It’s true that three of the five states with the highest homicide rates in the U.S. last year were Constitutional Carry states, but four of the five states with the lowest homicide rates in the country were also Constitutional Carry states, which tells me that it’s not the carry laws in any given state that are driving violent crime.
Given that research has shown that a very small number of individuals are responsible for a large amount of violent crime in any given community, if Calcaterra and other gun control activists are serious about public safety, they should drop their objections to permitless carry and start advocating for programs like Project Safe Neighborhoods and Operation Cease Fire; focused deterrence efforts that deal exclusively with the most prolific and violent offenders. As for Gov. DeWine, he should ignore the fearmongering and focus on the facts. If he does that, it should be an easy choice to put pen to paper and sign Ohio’s Constitutional Carry bill into law.