Don't blame permitless carry for Oklahoma homicide increase

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As of earlier this year, 25 states have permitless carry. One of those states is Oklahoma, which passed the law in 2019. It was a big win for Oklahoma, to say the least.

However, it was immediately followed by 2020. A pandemic followed by civil unrest and a massive surge in violent crime made the next year or two pretty hairy.

Unsurprisingly, some are trying to blame permitless carry for the issue.

Just 44 days on the job, Gov. Kevin Stitt signed his first bill as governor, which allowed Oklahomans over the age of 21 to carry a gun without a permit or training. During the ceremony to sign the so-called “permitless carry” law, Stitt said it would expand the rights of Oklahomans while also making the state safer against gun violence.

“There shouldn’t be any uptick in violence,” said Stitt, who was flanked by more than a dozen lawmakers there to show their support.

Since Nov. 1, 2019, when the “permitless carry” law went into effect, Stitt’s prediction has not come true.

Gun deaths in Oklahoma have increased since the new law went into effect as the state has recorded some of its deadliest months in history, according to an analysis of state medical examiner data by The Oklahoman.

In the decade prior to “permitless carry,” there had only been 10 months with 70 or more firearm deaths. From November 2019 until this January, a 15-month span, there were 10 months with more than 70 gun-related deaths. This included 95 deaths in June 2020, the deadliest month in the 12 years of data examined.

In all, the average number of gun deaths per month increased nearly 20% compared to the 10 years before the new law went into effect, a period in which the population grew just over 6%.

All that sounds awfully damning…unless you remember that all-important thing known as “context.”

See, any numbers provided in isolation can give one an impression that doesn’t actually bear any resemblance to reality.

For example, let’s remember that 2020 was plagued with headlines about a massive surge in violent crime throughout the United States. Some of the worst-hit seemed to be New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago–all cities residing in gun control states without any form of permitless carry.

In fact, looking at Oklahoma’s homicide mortality rate–the overall rate, not just for guns–the state’s rate is lower than gun-controlled states like Maryland and Illinois

Basically, there was a lot of stuff going on that impacted the entire nation, not just Oklahoma.

But why mention any of that when you’re trying to hit a political opponent for making a decision you want to criticize him for?

The truth is that, as of right now, we’re still piecing together the overall crime trends from 2020. However, only someone drinking their own ink could potentially think that what transpired in Oklahoma is purely the result of permitless carry being passed.

Now, I happen to believe it had nothing to do with the increase at all, and likely kept the increase in homicides from being higher, but I’m intellectually honest enough to admit that it’s just speculation on my part.

However, if the writer of this piece were intellectually honest himself, he’d have never written such nonsense. This is nothing more than an attempted hatchet job to attack a law and a governor the writer disagrees with, and he’s clearly willing to manipulate data and present it in a misleading manner to reach his desired goals.

Luckily, I suspect most in Oklahoma couldn’t care less.