2020-07-26 20:40:25 UTC
Contrary to the common good guy with a gun argument, mass shootings
were no more or less likely to occur in areas with more permissive
concealed carry laws, according to a researcher writing in the
Justice Quarterly journal.
In fact, states that have passed permissive concealed carry
legislation experience higher rates of gun homicides than states
without such laws, writes Emma E. Fridel, an assistant professor in
the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida State
In her study, which examines the effects of household gun ownership
and concealed carry legislation on the rates of mass shootings and
firearm homicides in all 50 states between 1991 and 2016, Fridel found
that a disproportionate number of mass shootings occur in states with
higher levels of gun ownership.
Nevertheless, mass shootings incidents in which four or more
individuals are killed by a firearm within 24 hours occur
approximately 23 times per year on average and account for less than
1 percent of all homicides in the United States.
For this reason, Fridel argued that lawmakers on both sides of the gun
debate wrongly assume that mass shootings are representative of
firearms homicide more generally, and therefore that strategies to
prevent mass shootings will also reduce gun violence overall.
As part of her methodology, Fridel used data from the Centers for
Disease Control and Preventions (CDC) Web-based Inquiry Statistics
Query and Reporting System.
Fridel also created a unique dataset of 592 mass shootings in the U.S.
from 1991 to 2016 by collecting gun violence data from a number of
sources, including the Congressional Research Service, Gun Violence
Archive, Everytown for Gun Safety, and LexisNexis.
Previous research has both supported and refuted Fridels argument
that more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens will not deter
tragedies like the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High
School in Parkland, Fl., which left 17 dead; and the 2016 shooting at
the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fl., which left 49 dead and 53
The Violence Policy Center (VPC), a group that advocates for stricter
gun policies, reported that between 2007 and 2019, concealed handgun
permit holders were responsible for at least 1,335 deaths not
Concealed carry permit holders are supposed to be the good guys
with guns, said VPC in a statement. In reality, far too many permit
holders are a direct threat to public safety.
However, a recent RAND survey found that laws allowing the concealed
carry of firearms would reduce murder rates. And, according to a 2013
report by the CDC, firearms are used in self-defense between 500,000
and 3,000,000 times per year.
Self-defense can be an important crime deterrent, the CDC concluded.
Contrary to the CDC, Fridel found that at the state level, more
relaxed concealed carry laws were associated with a 10.8 percent
increase in the rate of firearm-involved homicides.
Additionally, higher rates of household gun ownership correlated with
a striking 53.5 percent increase in the rate of mass shootings,
according to the report.
In fact, the study said, gun ownership was the only significant
macro-level predictor of mass shootings.
That is, other factors often cited in the wake of mass shootings,
such as access to mental healthcare, do not significantly influence
the rate of these crimes, the author added.
The author also found that when concealed carry laws were taken into
account, gun ownership had a nominal effect on rates of
Reflecting on these results, the author wrote that gun ownership and
legislation do not impact mass shootings and firearm homicides in the
The results of the current study, for example, indicate that reducing
gun ownership benefits mass shooting prevention efforts, while
reinstating more restrictive concealed carry legislation decreases the
overall firearms homicide rate, Fridel wrote.
Interestingly, the author deducted, neither intervention appears to
have a deleterious effect on the other crime (e.g., higher levels of
gun ownership do not reduce the firearms homicide rate, and more
permissive concealed carry legislation is not associated with a
reduction in mass shootings).
Therefore, rather than focusing on the rare mass shooting, however
tragic such incidents may be, policymakers should enact distinct
prevention initiatives in order to address different types of gun
violence, Friedel wrote.
She added: Considering that other policies not considered here may
prevent one type of gun violence while promoting another, it is
imperative that legislators recognize the distinct correlates of mass
shootings and firearms homicide and consider potential collateral
consequences before enacting an intervention.