In the days and weeks following America's most recent school shooting, lawmakers, policy wonks, and laymen alike have begun debating solutions to the nation's gun problem. For some, the answer consistently has been 'more guns'.
But recent research by the National Bureau of Economic Research demonstrates the faulty aspects of this thinking after crunching the numbers regarding gun violence in states that have enacted concealed carry laws.
Researchers ran several regressions analyzing 14 years of data in 11 states that have “right-to-carry” laws, seeing whether there was any movement in crime statistics after the adoption of these laws.
Turns out being able to carry a handgun spikes up crime in states: By the tenth year of these laws, violent crime was up between 13 and 15 percent.
The findings are no real surprise. As the Daily Beast notes, this was not the first time researches have investigated the relationship between the two:
In a more specific example of one way right-to-carry laws lead to higher rates of crime, the authors describe the type of situation in which someone who has not been flagged as a danger might become more dangerous if carrying a firearm:
“If you are an angry young man, with somewhat of a paranoid streak, and you haven’t yet been convicted of a crime or adjudicated to be a mental defective, it is likely that the ability to carry a gun will both be more attractive and more likely in a RTC state,” the authors note. “That such individuals will, therefore, be more likely to be aggressive once armed and hence more likely to stimulate violence by others should not be surprising.”
Other research has suggested that a 'good guy with a gun' is not always the best solution active shooter situations.
[John Donohue of Stanford University Law School] cites the example of Columbine, where 13 people died despite an armed guard and a combined 141 shots fired at the gunmen, none of which hit them. In a 2014 FBI report, the agency investigated 160 active shooter situations and found that in only five of those incidences, armed civilians were able to intervene, with the shooter either dying or taking his own life after grave injury. In contrast, 21 other non-armed interventions led to the shooter being restrained.
Together with the fact that more concealed weapons also translates to more stolen guns and increases incidents of accidental discharges, in the end more guns tends to equal more crime and violence.
The authors of the study forecast a morbid future should concealed carry become a national movement: “[A]s more citizens carry guns, more criminals will find it increasingly beneficial to carry guns and use them more quickly and more violently to thwart any potential armed resistance.”