Chicago is #1 in Gun Control Laws and #1 in Murder and Gang Violence.
John R. Lott, Jr.: States with the largest increases in gun ownership also have the largest drops in violent crimes. Thirty-four states now have such laws—called “shall-issue” laws. These laws allow adults the right to carry concealed handguns if they do not have a criminal record or a history of significant mental illness.
Question: It just seems to defy common sense that crimes likely to involve guns would be reduced by allowing more people to carry guns. How do you explain the results?
Lott: Criminals are deterred by higher penalties. Just as higher arrest and conviction rates deter crime, so does the risk that someone committing a crime will confront someone able to defend him or herself. There is a strong negative relationship between the number of law-abiding citizens with permits and the crime rate—as more people obtain permits there is a greater decline in violent crime rates. For each additional year that a concealed handgun law is in effect the murder rate declines by 3 percent, rape by 2 percent, and robberies by over 2 percent.
Concealed handgun laws reduce violent crime for two reasons. First, they reduce the number of attempted crimes because criminals are uncertain which potential victims can defend themselves. Second, victims who have guns are in a much better position to defend themselves.