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Concealed-Carry Laws Do Not Reduce Crime

Publication Date: 
July 29, 2011
The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio)
Jack d'Aurora

A 2003 study by Professor John J. Donohue & Ian Ayres, which questioned whether allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons really deterred violent crimes, is mentioned in this Columbus Dispatch article on a new Ohio Senate Bill which allows concealed-carry permit holders to bring their guns into bars and restaurants.

Now that Ohio Senate Bill 17, which allows concealed-carry permit holders to bring their guns into bars and restaurants, is law, we will see whether it promotes safety. Some research shows that as guns become more available to law-abiding citizens, crime increases and additional problems are created. (Disclosure: I don’t own a gun, but once upon a time I flew fighters in the Navy; I’m OK with the appropriate use of lethal force.)

In their 2003 study published in the Stanford Law Review, Ian Ayres and John J. Donohue concluded that a proliferation of laws that permit concealed-carry licenses based on specific criteria (“shall-issue” laws, as opposed to laws that permit licenses based on proof of need) does not reduce crime and instead correlates to higher crime rates. Their study was in response to a 1998 book, More Guns, Less Crime, written by John R. Lott of the Yale Law School.


Concealed-carry laws also make police work more difficult. Illinois does not have a concealed-carry law. Anyone caught with a gun in public is in violation of state law and can be arrested. Having served as a consultant to the Illinois State Police, Donohue states that police see this as a powerful tool for taking criminals off the street.