Impact of Changes to Concealed-Carry Weapons Laws on Fatal and Nonfatal Violent Crime, 1980–2019

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Impact of Changes to Concealed-Carry Weapons Laws on Fatal and Nonfatal Violent Crime, 1980–2019

Category: Crime, Firearm Policies, Homicide|Journal: American Journal of Epidemiology|Author: A McCourt, C Crifasi, D Webster, M Doucette|Year: 2023

The United States faces rapidly rising rates of violent crime committed with firearms. In this study, we sought to estimate the impact of changes to laws that regulate the concealed carrying of weapons (concealed-carry weapons (CCW) laws) on violent crimes committed with a firearm. We used augmented synthetic control models and random-effects meta-analyses to estimate state-specific effects and the average effect of adopting shall-issue CCW permitting laws on rates of 6 violent crimes: homicide with a gun, homicide by other means, aggravated assault with a gun, aggravated assault with a knife, robbery with a gun, and robbery with a knife. The average effects were stratified according to the presence or absence of several shall-issue permit provisions. Adoption of a shall-issue CCW law was associated with a 9.5% increase in rates of assault with a firearm during the first 10 years after law adoption and was associated with an 8.8% increase in rates of homicide by other means. When shall-issue laws allowed violent misdemeanants to acquire CCW permits, the laws were associated with higher rates of gun assaults. It is likely that adoption of shall-issue CCW laws has increased rates of nonfatal violent crime committed with firearms. Harmful effects of shall-issue laws are most clear when provisions intended to reduce risks associated with civilian gun-carrying are absent.

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