On July 9, 2013, a bill to recognize Illinois gun owners’ right to carry concealed firearms was passed by both chambers of the state Legislature. Illinois became the last state in the nation to allow public possession of concealed guns.
Gun control advocates warned that high-crime areas, like Chicago, would only see more violence if residents were allowed to carry guns in public.
In reality, the opposite may be happening.
On Tuesday, the Chicago Police Department announced that the city experienced its lowest murder rate since 1958 in the first quarter of 2014. There were 6 fewer murders than the same timeframe in 2013 — a 9 percent drop — and 55 fewer murders than 2012, police said.
Further, there were reportedly 90 fewer shootings and 119 fewer shooting victims compared to last year. There have also been 222 fewer shootings and 292 fewer shooting victims compared to the first quarter in 2012.
All crime is down 25 percent from 2013 and police say they have confiscated over 1,300 illegal guns in the last three months.
Now, it’s entirely too soon to conclude that the concealed carry law is partly responsible for Chicago’s across-the-board drop in the crime. However, it is not unreasonable to conclude the drop in crime may undercut gun control advocates’ argument that more guns equal more crime.
It should also be noted that the first concealed carry permits were issued in late February, so the decrease in crime can’t yet be attributed to more people carrying guns.
The more telling statistics will be revealed as 2014 marches on. Still, as always, correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation.
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy called the drop in crime a “trend.” He attributed the drop to the “talent level of individuals” on the police force, “intelligent policing strategies” and other programs. He did not mention the concealed carry law.
The thugs are probably not smart enough to understand that the carry laws haven’t actually had a chance to increase the number of folks able to shoot them as they pursue their normal thug life daily rounds. So they’re opting for better safe than sorry.
And of course no Chicago PD politician is going to credit anything as unthinkable as concealed carry for private citizens as having anything to do with it. It will always be some miraculous improvement in the quality of policing that just, by some wild coincidence, happened to occur just as concealed carry became a fact of life in Chi-town.