While it is well understood that the vast majority of gun owners never commit a crime, let a lone use a firearm in the commission of a crime, the reality is that anti-gun activists are always looking for new ways to put the blame on guns and law-abiding gun owners for the acts of criminals. There is no doubt that guns are used in crimes. Guns are used in homicides. Guns are used by drug traffickers to protect their supply and enforce their control over the drug trade. Guns are also used to commit robberies, burglaries, and other property crimes. In some cases, guns are even used to intimidate or threaten victims. However, the reality is that guns are not the cause of crime. That’s just common sense. But what does the science say?
Studies have consistently shown that the availability of guns does not increase the likelihood of crime. In fact, some studies have even found that the availability of guns can actually reduce the likelihood of crime. So another attack on gun rights is coming from the self-proclaimed research group GVPedia, releasing a blog post challenging the research of Dr. John Lott, a pro Second Amendment authority and researcher on gun violence.
The GVPedia challenge focuses on Lott’s argument that concealed carry permit holders are extremely law abiding, and therefore not contributing to increases in crime. If fact, Lott’s research shows that permit holders are even more law-abiding than sworn law enforcement officers. Despite this, GVPedia quotes research from Lott’s 2020 book Gun Control Myths in which Lott writes, “[p]ermit holders are convicted of firearms-related violations at about 1/6th of the rate that police officers are”, which GVPedia acknowledges, but argues because that is because permit holders have passed a background check, but quibble with Lott’s assertion claiming Lott doesn’t prove that permit holders are any more law-abiding than regular citizens that could pass a background check. What? So, GVPedia agrees with the conclusions of Lott’s research? GVPedia never directly challenges Lott’s data, they just have a bone to pick with his conclusions and it would seem with Lott himself. As if on queue, GVPedia joined in what appears to be a concerted and coordinated effort by gun control activists to attack Dr. Lott and his work.
Let’s look at the research in question. In the 2017 report, Lott says concealed carry permit holders are even more law-abiding than police: “Between October 1, 1987 and June 30, 2017, Florida revoked 11,189 concealed handgun permits for misdemeanors or felonies. This is an annual revocation rate of 10.4 permits per 100,000. In Texas in 2016 (the last year for which data is available), 148 permit holders were convicted of a felony or misdemeanor – a conviction rate of 12.3 per 100,000. Combining Florida and Texas data, we find that permit holders are convicted of misdemeanors and felonies at less than a sixth of the rate for police officers.” In Lott’s 2020 book Gun Control Myths, he repeats the conclusion “[p]ermit holders are convicted of firearms-related violations at about 1/6th of the rate that police officers are.”
What GVPedia hopes the casual reader will take from their post, is that concealed permit programs are rife with permit holders that should be disqualified. More to the point, they aim to discredit the Lott’s research. GVPedia does not present their own research, they rely on online article from online publication MLive and a 2011 report from the New York Times. The New York Times reporting shows that 2,400 North Carolina permit holders were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors, some of which they acknowledge may not have been disqualifying. A continued reading of the article shows just 200 of the 2400 were felonies with half of those (100) having had their permits revoked, leaving just 100 that didn’t. This is certainly not the massive problem that the New York Times hoped it would uncover. Nevertheless, GVPedia hopes to stoke the ashes and rely on the hope that their audiences will not scrutinize their work. They missed their target.
The fact of the matter is, people who choose to commit crimes are the ones responsible for their actions. Guns may be used, but they are not the cause of crime. Not in dispute is that the vast majority of gun owners are law abiding. They use their guns for self-defense, hunting, sport shooting, and other lawful activities. But the anti-gun activists won’t stop until we reject their pseudo-analysis and attacks on actual research.