Myth No. 4

Right-to-carry laws decrease crime.

Supporters of right-to-carry laws, which require the issuance of concealed-carry handgun permits to applicants who meet the criteria, often argue that carrying guns makes the public safer: The person with a gun will be able to prevent an attack or take down an active shooter. The economist John Lott wrote in his book “More Guns, Less Crime” that right-to-carry laws are correlated with decreases in violent crime.

Yet the most comprehensive study on the effects of these laws found that violent crime rates increased with each additional year such a statute was in place, presumably as more people were carrying guns. By 10 years after the adoption of a right-to-carry law, violent crime rates were 13 to 15 percent higher than predicted had such laws not been in place.

Additionally, armed civilians are rarely able to deter or interrupt various crimes or even mass shootings. In fact, in zero of the 111 gun massacres analyzed by researcher Louis Klarevas did an armed civilian stop a mass shooting in progress. A separate FBI analysis revealed that unarmed civilians are more than 20 times as likely to end an active shooting than are armed civilians (excluding armed security guards).

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