Tampa Crime Stats Neuter Gun Controllers' Arguments Against Permitless Carry

Townhall Media

When Florida lawmakers sent a permitless carry bill to Gov. Ron DeSantis last spring, anti-gun activists were quick to proclaim the state was about to become a more dangerous place. Everytown president John Feinblatt declared,"if Governor DeSantis and Republican legislators truly cared about public safety and protecting law enforcement, they’d be championing laws to keep guns out of dangerous hands — but instead, they’re choosing to flood Florida’s streets with concealed guns,” while Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts warned that the "dangerous policy" would enable violence. 


Everytown volunteer Gay Valimont was even more explicit in her assertion that crime would increase once permitless carry passed, asserting that "putting more guns in more places with no questions asked will only lead to more senseless and preventable tragedies here in Florida."

Well, the 2023 crime stats from Tampa have now been released, and just like in cities like Orlando and Miami, violent crime dropped last year; an outright impossibility according to the anti-gunners. 

According to the Tampa Police Department's annual report that was released on Monday, violent crimes declined by more than 8 percent last year, while violent crimes involving the use of a firearm plunged by almost 20 percent. 

Now, this doesn't mean that crime rates fell because of permitless carry, only that allowing lawful gun owners to carry without a government-issued permit did not lead to the dystopian hellscape that Everytown and Moms Demand Action activists predicted. 

Tampa isn't an outlier, either. In Orlando, homicides dropped by about 8 percent last year, but there was a 36 percent reduction in non-fatal shootings. Murders declined by a similar 6 percent in Jacksonville, but plunged from 49 to 31 in Miami, where officials also recorded a 34 percent decrease in non-fatal shootings. 


Do you think we'll see any mea culpas from Feinblatt or Watts now that last year's data has thoroughly debunked their claims that permitless carry would make Florida a more dangerous place? Yeah, me neither, even though it's undeniable that allowing lawful gun owners to legally carry without first obtaining a license hasn't been the disaster they predicted. 

In fact, they're now making the exact same claims about Louisiana's new constitutional carry law, which was signed by Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry on Tuesday. Check out this quote pushed out by Everytown today:

“Louisiana lawmakers have chosen to make our beaches, restaurants, grocery stores, parks, and everywhere else we go more vulnerable to gun violence, ” said Angelle Bradford, a volunteer with the Louisiana chapter of Moms Demand Action. 

Now compare that to one of the statements released by Everytown after the Florida House approved permitless carry last spring. 

“Governor DeSantis and House Republicans have chosen to make our beaches, restaurants, schools, grocery stores, parks, and everywhere else we go more vulnerable to gun violence, ” said Wendy Malloy, a volunteer with the Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action.

What a stale and tired talking point, and one that's been completely obliterated by the facts on the ground. Florida's permitless carry bill didn't make the state's beaches, restaurants, grocery stores, and parks more dangerous places, and Louisiana's Constitutional Carry won't either. Yes, there will still be violent criminals illegally carrying guns and committing home invasions, armed robberies, carjackings, and drive-by shootings. But there will also be more lawful gun owners carrying in self-defense, and as long as police focus their efforts on the first group while leaving the latter alone to exercise their Second Amendment rights in peace, there's no reason why Louisiana won't record similar declines in murders and other violent crimes when 2024's statistics are tallied at the end of the year.


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