Right-to-carry lowers violent crime

March 18, 2012

Tricia Bishop misrepresented my research as well as the debate over concealed-carry laws ("Gun laws' sketchy effect," March 11). She makes it appear that I am only "one economist" who claims to find that right-to-carry laws reduce violent crime.

By now, a vast body of research supports my results. Among peer-reviewed national studies by criminologists and economists, 18 find that right-to-carry laws reduce violent crime, 10 claim no effect, and just one claims one type of crime temporarily increases slightly. The possibility that permit holders might lead to more crime is easily evaluated by looking at how incredibly law-abiding they are, with them losing their permits for any firearms-related violations (usually trivial ones) at hundredths or thousandths of 1 percentage point.

Forty-one states currently have right-to-carry laws where permits are based on objective criteria, such as passing a criminal background check. These laws have worked well — so well that no state has chosen to repeal the law or even held legislative hearings to reconsider it.

John R. Lott Jr., Burke, Va.

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