Study: Most Ohio Cities Saw Drop in 'Gun Crime' After Constitutional Carry Took Effect

(AP Photo/Al Behrman, File)

Anti-gun activists predicted that the passage of constitutional carry legislation was going to turn Ohio into the “Wild West”, but it looks like the Buckeye State has been more the Mild Midwest since the law took effect. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced on Wednesday that a new study from the Center for Justice Research at Bowling Green University found a decline in gun-related crime in six of the state’s eight biggest cities since the law took effect.


Yost says he didn’t know what the data would show when he asked the center to take a look at crime data, but after several mayors criticized the law and claimed it would make their cities less safe he wanted to find out if those claims had any merit. According to the study, they do not.

Researchers analyzed data spanning from June 2021 to June 2023 – a year before and a year after the law took effect – focusing on crimes involving firearms, verified gunshot-detection alerts and the number of officers struck by gunfire.

Center for Justice Research Director Melissa Burek, who has a doctorate in criminal justice, led the research.

The study showed significant decreases in the number of crimes involving firearms in Akron, Columbus and Toledo, and across all eight cities combined.

The rate of gun crime in Parma fell the most – by 22% – followed by Akron and Toledo, each with decreases of 18%. Rates for Dayton and Cincinnati increased by 6% and 5%, respectively.

Data compiled from gunshot-detection technology also reflected a downward trend, with verified crime incidents dropping 23.2% in Toledo and 20.6% in Columbus. The other six cities had no available gunshot-detection data for the period studied.

To measure the impact of permitless carry on law enforcement, researchers examined cases of firearm-related injuries and deaths of officers in the eight cities of interest. They noted three such instances before the law took effect and four afterward, concluding that there was no substantial change.


The findings generally correlate with homicide rates in Ohio cities, though Cincinnati did record an almost 20 percent decline in homicides in 2023 while “gun crime” increased by 5 percent during the time period studied by researchers. Overall, however, researchers concluded that constitutional carry has had a minimal effect “on crime rates involving firearms, number of shots detected, and law enforcement officer injuries and deaths and generally show a decrease” in those incidents. Now, that’s not to say that permitless carry is responsible for the drop in crime. That would be just as simplistically stupid as Chris Murphy’s contention that the decline in the U.S. homicide rate is because of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. Clearly, though, permitless carry didn’t result in Ohio becoming a more dangerous place, which was the assertion of anti-gun lawmakers and activists alike.

Given what we know about violent crime, these findings make sense. Most criminologists agree that a disproportionate amount of violent crime is committed by a very small group of people who are well-known to law enforcement, and those individuals are both the most likely offenders and victims of violent acts. Lawful gun owners simply aren’t to blame for a lot of violent crimes, and that’s true whether we’re talking about a state that regularly infringes on our Second Amendment rights like California or those states that recognize the inherent importance of our right to keep and bear arms.


Now that we’ve got proof that constitutional carry didn’t turn Ohio into a lawless hellhole or the nation’s most crime-ridden state, will we hear a mea culpa from those anti-gun activists or politicians who swore the state would be a more dangerous place as a result of the legislation? I’m not holding my breath, but their silence will speak volumes on its own. Despite their assertions to the contrary, we can protect our Second Amendment rights while reducing violent crime, and Ohio is just the latest example of that phenomenon.


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