The state of Iowa is one of a number of states to embrace permitless carry this year. The state has been fairly pro-gun for a while, but this was a bold move nonetheless.
Frankly, it needed to happen.
As in so many other places, Iowa is seeing an uptick in violent crime. Allowing armed citizens to carry their firearms more easily will likely reduce that violence considerably. Especially if more of the state’s violent population suddenly finds themselves devoid of a heartbeat.
However, the media is trying to frame things quite a bit differently. After all, their story about both permitless carry and the spike in violent crime got a title like, “Gun Deaths Rising In Iowa As New Law Removes Handgun Permits.”
Gun deaths are surging in Iowa, as a law is set to go into effect Thursday that will allow people to more easily buy handguns and carry them in public without training or a permit.
A record 353 Iowa residents died from gunshot wounds in 2020, including 263 suicides and 85 homicides, an Iowa Department of Public Health spokesperson said Tuesday. The shooting deaths represent a 23 percent increase from Iowa’s previous high of 287 in 2019, including an 80 percent jump in homicides, according to state data.
It’s the most dramatic one-year hike in an upward trend that has accelerated since 2016. From 1999 to 2001, Iowa averaged only 194 annual gun deaths, including just 25 homicides, according to federal data.
Iowa is among several Republican-led states that have passed laws this year allowing for the permitless carry of guns, including one that will take effect Thursday in Tennessee and another in Texas on Sept. 1. Iowa’s new law also eliminates a requirement that people pass background checks to obtain permits to purchase handguns, breaking with more than 20 other states that have similar policies.
A leading gun violence researcher said Iowa’s surge in gun homicides in 2020 was part of a national increase that experts are trying to understand. Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Prevention and Policy, said he expects Iowa’s sweeping handgun deregulation that begins Thursday to make things worse, pointing to studies that have associated such changes elsewhere with a 25 percent or higher increase in homicides.
Except, without a link to that study, we can’t actually examine the data for ourselves, which I suspect is by design. Especially since historically we started seeing violent crime decrease when states began liberalizing their gun laws back in the 80s and 90s. While correlation doesn’t necessarily equal causation, we can say that if their claim that more guns on the streets mean more crime is true, we should have seen an increase then.
What’s going to happen, in truth, is that we’ll likely see a similar number of shootings to start with, but a lot of them are going to be self-defense. Good guys with guns are going to be shooting bad guys with guns.
Over time, what will happen, though, is that those bad guys are going to serve as examples to their criminal buddies who will decide to rethink their life choices.
Leave it to the media to try and scare the people with this nonsense.
People in Iowa are about to be a lot freer, and that’s going to yield positive results for everyone.