Last June, Ohio became the 23rd state in the nation to adopt a “permitless carry” law, allowing legal gun owners to both keep and bear arms without having to first obtain a government permission slip.
At the time, gun control activists and anti-gun politicians decried the move and declared it would make the state a more dangerous place. State Rep. Allison Russo even claimed that “Republicans have made it crystal clear that they value the approval of the gun lobby more than the lives of Ohioans and the police officers who protect our communities every day.”
With the FBI’s crime statistics for 2022 now publicly available, was Russo right? Did Ohio become a more dangerous place because of permitless carry? Were Republicans really casting their votes because they had no care or concern about the safety of their constituents or those tasked with enforcing the laws they approved at the state capitol?
Nope to all of the above.
Overall violent crimes were down in Ohio and the U.S. in 2022, with Ohio seeing a 7.5% decrease from 2021 and the U.S. reporting a 1.63% decrease.
Last year Ohio and the U.S. both also saw a drop in homicides after increases in 2021 and 2020.
Ohio had 6.1 homicides per 100,000 people last year, compared to 7.5 and 7 in 2021 and 2020, respectively, according data from the FBI. Nationally there were 6.5 homicide per 100,000 in 2020 and 6.8 in 2021 compared to 6.3 in 2022.
Not only did violent crime and homicide rates both decline last year, the drop in violent crime in Ohio far outpaced the national average. The doom-and-gloom predictions of the anti-gunners were flat-out wrong, and Ohio is a safer state today than it was when Gov. Mike DeWine signed SB 215 into law.
We still have a couple of months left in the first full calendar year since permitless carry took effect, and statewide crime stats for 2023 won’t be released for several months after that, but a look at crime analyst Jeff Asher’s Year to Date Murder Comparison dashboard shows continued declines in the homicide rate in many Ohio cities.
Akron, for instance, has seen its murder rate decline by almost 40% through September 30th. Homicides in Cincinnati are down 13% compared to last year, and murders have dropped by 30% in Toledo.
In Cleveland and Columbus it’s a different story. Murders have increased by almost 14% in Cleveland, while the state capitol has seen a 9.6% jump in homicides this year. Anti-gun politicians in those cities have been quick to blame Republican lawmakers and the “gun lobby” for the rise in crime, but the truth is that it’s those cities that are the outlier at the moment; not just in Ohio but across the country.
The vast majority of individuals who are responsible for the state’s homicides, armed robberies, aggravated assaults, carjackings, home invasions, and other violent offenses were already carrying without a permit long before Ohio’s permitless carry law took effect. They don’t care about a misdemeanor gun law prohibiting them from carrying without a license any more than they’re concerned with committing a violent felony.
Anti-gunners were absolutely convinced that permitless carry was going to make Ohio a more dangerous place, but once again we see that more guns doesn’t equate to more crimes. It is possible to protect the Second Amendment rights of responsible citizens while cracking down on violent criminals, and the “more guns, more crime” myth has been dealt another blow.