Quelle Surprise! South Bend shooting numbers down “despite” permitless gun law

(AP Photo/Al Behrman, File)

There are a few defining characteristics of the gun control movement. The first and foremost trait is their brazen lying. The second trait is repeating those lies, getting increasingly louder when confronted with facts. The third trait is avoiding debate.

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Anyone paying attention to the permitless carry push knows how the gun control side has been raising a hue and cry about it. They love to use ominous phrases like “hidden, loaded guns,” “without training,” and “without vetting” to up the scare meter to Halloween levels.

Their claims of blood flowing in the streets are a repeat of what happened when several states went from no-issue or may-issue to shall-issue permitting. Here’s Everytown making a claim about a “direct correlation”:

Note the deception above: Everytown uses the phrase “gun death” which is a sum of homicides, suicides, negligent/accidental discharges, and justifiable homicides. The casual reader will tend to think only of homicides, often high-profile public mass shootings. Everytown knows this and plays mind games to their advantage.

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Propaganda still must pass the reality test, and we get a good dose of reality from Indiana, which adopted permitless carry last year. WNDU reports (archived links):

South Bend shooting numbers down despite permitless gun law

By Alex Almanza

Despite a statewide permitless handgun carry law being in effect for more than a year, South Bend officials say that the number of shootings in the city has gone down compared to previous years.

HEA 1296, passed on July 1, 2022, removed the requirement to have a permit to carry a handgun in the state of Indiana. The proposed law had city leaders up in arms before it was passed.

“We had a say, and we said it, but it fell on deaf ears,” said South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski during a 2022 press conference. “The police departments said it, the Sheriff’s Association said it, the state police have said it… Don’t do this, and what did they do? They did it.”

South Bend is the second most dangerous city in Indiana, and has the highest number of violent crimes. If permitless carry increases violence, we should have seen that in the statistics. But the opposite happened. That means that permitless carry does not increase violence like the gun controllers like to claim.

Even with requirements being repealed, all nine counties in our viewing area (Elkhart, Fulton, Kosciusko, LaGrange, LaPorte, Marshall, Pulaski, St. Joseph, and Starke) have seen a small increase in active licenses.

According to data from the Indiana State Police, on January 1, 2022, all nine counties showed a total of 120,956 active licenses. Exactly one year later, the number of licenses increased by 3.2% to 124,869.

“As Indiana was already a ‘shall issue’ license state prior to enacting constitutional carry, I don’t believe the new law had any impact on law-abiding people who wanted to carry a concealed weapon legally,” said Terry Demaegd, a moderator for a local second amendment group.

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The demand for concealed carry licenses did not vaporize. People still get them. There are various reasons to do so: it could come in handy when you’re traveling out of your home state, and given that’s a valid government-issued ID, you can even use it as a voter ID!

As for criminals, they were already carrying without a permit given that a lot of them are already prohibited persons. All that permitless carry did is free Indiana’s lawful and peaceable citizens from a burdensome requirement.

Mayor James Mueller said that while shootings are down, they could be lower. He also adds that the lack of permit requirements makes it difficult for officers to stop gun violence in the first place.

Now that permitless carry has proven to be good public policy, the Mayor moves the goalposts instead of admitting he was wrong when he called for a gubernatorial veto last year.

Pierre Atlas, a senior lecturer at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, commented to WNDU:

“What the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department reported was a doubling of accidental shootings since the implementation of the permitless carry law,” said Atlas. “I think that goes to the point that, and this is my own interpretation, I think permitless carry facilitates irresponsible gun ownership. The carry license that Indiana had that ended last year served as a gatekeeper. You had to pass a criminal background check and give your fingerprints. So people who were prohibited persons automatically were rejected, and then they knew they were rejected.”

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Indiana’s carry permit, to the best of my knowledge, did not have a training requirement. I don’t see how permitless carry could be a causal factor in the increase in accidents. As for the theory that people learned that they were prohibited by applying for a carry permit, I’m skeptical given that the 4473 background check is still in effect. In fact, the WNDU report concludes with just that:

Despite the relaxed restrictions, other state and federal restrictions still stand in terms of who can and cannot possess a firearm.

None of this is surprising to gun rights supporters, but this must be shared with the public at large so they know the truth about permitless carry.

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