For gun control advocates, there is a strong tendency to try and link lawful gun ownership with violent crime, particularly so-called gun crime.
We, on the other hand, have long maintained that any such link is tenuous at best.
In Minnesota, which isn’t exactly a pro-gun state, a study recently provided us with a bit of data along those lines.
Just .03 percent of concealed carry permittees in Minnesota committed a gun crime last year.
That’s according to last week’s release from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). The agency reports about 1,260 permit holders committed a gun crime out of the nearly 400,000 living in the state. The numbers show Minnesota concealed carriers commit gun crimes at a much lower rate than the national average.
The FBI’s National Incident-Based Reporting System found there were 246,893 gun crimes in 2021. That same year, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated there were 332,031,554 Americans. That means the average American was more than twice as likely to commit a gun crime than somebody licensed to carry a gun in Minnesota. The same trend holds within Minnesota itself, according to the same data.
Additionally, the fact that the FBI only details the use of guns in violent crimes while Minnesota’s report counts any crime where a gun is involved combined with poor compliance with the NIBRS’s voluntary data collection system (the agency notes on its website that only 66 percent of the population is covered by its data) suggests the gap between the average American and licensed gun carriers may be significantly wider.
The numbers suggest that those who obtain a concealed carry license, which requires a background check and firearms training in Minnesota, tend to be more law-abiding than the general public. The data from Minnesota and other states may curtail ongoing efforts in states like California and New York to restrict the issuance of concealed carry licenses.
The BCA report found people with permits committed 4,199 crimes overall. The agency said that was the highest number of crimes it has recorded among permit holders in a given year. However, it said that represented about one percent of all permit holders, which is in line with reporting from previous years.
This data isn’t new, but what we can see as a result of it isn’t.
For years, we’ve known that permit holders are among the most law-abiding citizens you’re likely to find. That’s hardly surprising. Anyone who will jump through all the hoops required to lawfully carry a firearm is unlikely to do all of that, only to then go on some kind of crime spree.
Those inclined to break the law are more likely to start by ignoring carry regulations.
Further, when we look at the gun crimes committed by those who have permits, I’m curious as to just how many of those are the result of a willful desire to break the law versus errors in judgment.
What I mean is that there’s a huge difference between someone who pulls his gun to intimidate someone who made him mad and the guy who thinks the threat he’s facing justifies drawing his weapon, only to find out it’s not when police are putting the cuffs on him.
From a legal standpoint, I’m not sure that matters, but for the purposes of discussion, it does. Especially since Minnesota has a training requirement.
Yet it’s also unlikely that such data exists.
Regardless, this is an important point that cannot be as easily dismissed as many would like to claim. Those who try to carry in a lawful manner will continue to try and act in a lawful manner. This isn’t rocket science by any stretch of the imagination, but as anti-gunners continue to try and make claims, it’s important nonetheless.