Texas - 10 years after CCW law


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Brat7748
January 5, 2006, 05:49 PM
http://www.dallasblog.com/dallas-blogs/2006/1/5/viewpoint-the-concealed-handgun-law-ten-years-later-by-hon-jerry-patterson.html

VIEWPOINT: THE CONCEALED HANDGUN LAW: TEN YEARS LATER By Hon. Jerry Patterson

When the Texas Concealed Handgun Law took effect in 1996, pundits and naysayers predicted anarchy. Any minute, there would surely be mass violence as armed Texas citizens began roving the streets settling arguments with gunfire. Certainly, several proclaimed, within a year there would be blood in the streets as Texas returned to the days of the Wild West.

Ten years later the facts paint a different picture. Texas under the Concealed Handgun Law isn’t the Wild West, but the Mild West. No recurrent shootouts at four-way stops, no blood in the streets. Quite the contrary, Texans are safer than before.

But why are we safer? Why did the fears of the naysayers fail to materialize?

One of the reasons I authored Senate Bill 60, the Concealed Handgun Law, was because I trust my fellow Texans. Contrary to opinions expressed on almost every editorial page across the state, I knew that when law-abiding Texans’ constitutional right to keep and bear arms was restored with the passage of S.B. 60, they would exercise good judgment and behave responsibly.

Ten years later, and the statistics continue to prove the point.

Since the passage of the Concealed Handgun Law, the FBI Uniform Crime Report shows an 18% drop in handgun murders, down from 838 in 1995 to 688 in 2004. And a 13% drop in handgun murders per 100,000 population, down from 4.5 murders per 100,000 Texans in 1995 to 3.95 per 100,000 in 2004.

In 2000, on the fifth anniversary of the Concealed Handgun Law, the National Center for Policy Analysis issued a report that indicated Texans with concealed carry permits are far less likely to commit a serious crime than the average citizen.

According to the report, the more than 200,000 Texans licensed to carry a concealed firearm are much more law-abiding than the average person.

The report illustrated that Texans who exercise their right to carry firearms are 5.7 times less likely to be arrested for a violent offense. They are 14 times less likely to be arrested for a non-violent offense. And they are 1.4 times less likely to be arrested for murder.

H. Sterling Burnett, a senior policy analyst at the NCPA and the author of the report, concluded:

“Many predicted that minor incidents would escalate into bloody shootouts if Texas passed a concealed-carry law. That prediction was dead wrong,” Burnett said.

With 247,345 concealed handgun licenses active in Texas as of December 2005, the number of law-abiding licensees has had a positive effect on the crime rate.

Texas Department of Public Safety Uniform Crime Report indicates the overall crime rate in Texas has continued to drop over the past 10 years. In 1997, DPS reported 5,478 crimes per 100,000 Texans, based on a population of 19,355,427 Texans. In 2004, with almost 3 million more Texans, the crime rate is 5,032 per 100,000.

The effect of the Concealed Handgun Law has been so positive, it has converted some of its most outspoken initial critics.

John Holmes, former Harris County district attorney, wrote to me several years after the passage of the law.

“As you know, I was very outspoken in my opposition to the passage of the Concealed Handgun Act. I did not feel that such legislation was in the public interest and presented a clear and present danger to law abiding citizens by placing more handguns on our streets,” Holmes wrote. “Boy was I wrong. Our experience in Harris County , and indeed state-wide, has proven my initial fears absolutely groundless.”

Glenn White, president of the Dallas Police Association, shared this view. “I lobbied against the law in 1993 and 1995 because I thought it would lead to wholesale armed conflict. That hasn't happened,” White told the Dallas Morning News. “All the horror stories I thought would come to pass didn't happen. No bogeyman. I think it's worked out well, and that says good things about the citizens who have permits. I'm a convert.”

To the supporters of individual liberty and the constitutional right to keep and bear arms, this outcome is no surprise. However, the Concealed Handgun Law isn’t just about personal safety. Perhaps even deeper than its roots in constitutional freedom, the Concealed Handgun Law is about trust.

And after ten years, the Concealed Handgun Law is a shining example of what happens when elected officials have faith in their fellow Texans.

The legacy of Senate Bill 60 is grounded in the concept that our government should place its trust in us, not the other

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Henry Bowman
January 5, 2006, 05:53 PM
Glenn White, president of the Dallas Police Association, shared this view. “I lobbied against the law in 1993 and 1995 because I thought it would lead to wholesale armed conflict. That hasn't happened,” White told the Dallas Morning News. “All the horror stories I thought would come to pass didn't happen. No bogeyman. I think it's worked out well, and that says good things about the citizens who have permits. I'm a convert.” I think that most antis don't really believe this crap, they jusy hope it will scare others. Guess it takes guts for this guy to admit that he was a moron as opposed to simply a partisan.

Thefabulousfink
January 5, 2006, 05:57 PM
Hot Damn!

We need to make 10,000 copies of that and send it to every politician we can find!

I really like the part where he includes the opinions of his one-time opponents, it gives more weight to our side, and gives the anti's something to think about before they dissmiss it out of hand.

larry_minn
January 5, 2006, 06:02 PM
John Holmes, former Harris County district attorney...
"As you know, I was very outspoken in my opposition to the passage of the Concealed Handgun Act. I did not feel that such legislation was in the public interest and presented a clear and present danger to law abiding citizens by placing more handguns on our streets,” Holmes wrote. “Boy was I wrong. Our experience in Harris County , and indeed state-wide, has proven my initial fears absolutely groundless.”

Got to respect a man who when confronted with facts admits he didn't know what he was doing.
Agree get this out there.

HighVelocity
January 5, 2006, 06:26 PM
Thanks for posting that. I am proud to be a Texan. :)

Mot45acp
January 5, 2006, 06:37 PM
Great thread Thank you to fellow Texans

Standing Wolf
January 5, 2006, 11:08 PM
“As you know, I was very outspoken in my opposition to the passage of the Concealed Handgun Act. I did not feel that such legislation was in the public interest and presented a clear and present danger to law abiding citizens by placing more handguns on our streets,” Holmes wrote. “Boy was I wrong. Our experience in Harris County , and indeed state-wide, has proven my initial fears absolutely groundless.”

Well, yeah, sure, but the governor of Wisconsin knows better.

trickyasafox
January 5, 2006, 11:50 PM
good to see some positive press coming our way. if new york would hop on this line of thought it might be a litttle more tolerable:)

Slotback
January 6, 2006, 12:12 AM
This definately needs to be in the hands of our friends in Wisconsin.

Lupinus
January 6, 2006, 12:23 AM
I respect those who share my beliefs. I respect those even more who have come to my side of the isle and admit they were wrong.

LJWebster1
January 6, 2006, 12:28 AM
I'm going to my CHL class on Saturday, so you can count one more Texan carrying!

MechAg94
January 6, 2006, 01:57 AM
This is why it is sometimes very useful to get a Concealed Carry law passed and working even if it isn't a perfect law.

mec
January 6, 2006, 02:10 AM
The december 05 numbers are quite a jump from the last report issued in feburary 05-(I believe about 10,000 more). At that time, the number of licenses was down by a couple of thousand from the previous report.

When the legislature attempted to make carrying in a car legal, a lot of us predicted the bottom would drop out of license applications and renewals. We were wrong. Police Chiefs and DAs decided to announce that they were going to just keep on arresting people even if they obviously met the legal criteria for having a gun in their vehicles.

The demographics are interesting. The single largest number of CHLs are held by 58 year olds. This is the same group of people who lead the pack in 1996 at which time they were 47 or 48. This group has been the modal number every year since the law went into effect.

Women account for just under 20% of licensees and this has either remained stable or decreased a bit. African Americans started out at under 3% but now are at about 6%. This is a respectable number as the AA percentage -11.5% {2000 census} of the population is decreasing as compared to Anglo and Hispanic.

Anglo and Hispanic are no longer differentiated in most public statisics. They are lumped together as "White" under the CHL statute and some other demographics.

Licensees are predominantly over 40 and disposable income is a big factor as the financial investment in a texas CHL is significant.

bigun15
January 6, 2006, 03:18 AM
The report illustrated that Texans who exercise their right to carry firearms are 5.7 times less likely to be arrested for a violent offense.

Break out the FN 5.7's and the P90's in celebration

one-shot-one
January 6, 2006, 09:53 AM
than just incorrect beliefs of the anti's this in my opinion shows that for the most part those who have chosen to be law abiding will remain so and those who have chosen to be criminals will also remain so but a little less bold about it when their victim may be equipped to defend themselves.

waterhouse
January 6, 2006, 10:11 AM
Great read, thanks for posting.



I'm going to my CHL class on Saturday, so you can count one more Texan carrying!

Where are you taking the course?

svtruth
January 6, 2006, 10:20 AM
to be from The Great State of Texas,

jlbraun
January 6, 2006, 03:59 PM
To keep things in context, violent crime as a whole has gone down significantly nationwide in the same time period. See the DOJ statistics here (http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance/viort.htm). Therefore, I would resist characterizing the CCW law as causing the drop in violent crime. At least it didn't go up. :rolleyes:

I think the thing to highlight for politicians here is that registered gun owners are upstanding citizens and are a lot less likely to commit any type of crime.

Standing Wolf
January 6, 2006, 04:07 PM
I think the thing to highlight for politicians here is that registered gun owners are upstanding citizens and are a lot less likely to commit any type of crime.

That's well worth pointing out to politicians; I believe it's worth mentioning, however, there's nothing about "registered gun owners" to differentiate us from the vast, vast majority of gun owners. We're ordinary, average law-abiding American citizens.

No one should ever required a license to exercise his or her civil rights.

NineseveN
January 6, 2006, 04:24 PM
To keep things in context, violent crime as a whole has gone down significantly nationwide in the same time period. See the DOJ statistics here (http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance/viort.htm). Therefore, I would resist characterizing the CCW law as causing the drop in violent crime. At least it didn't go up. :rolleyes:


But hasn't crime gone up dramatically in areas with increased CCW and firearms restrictions over the same time period? And what about places with poor firearms and low or no CCW support that have simply maintained status quo? With so many states getting enhanced CCW and firearms rights in the recent years, perhaps there is a trend worth noting when comparing such areas?

If I had time, I'd take a look, I don't right now, perhaps someone will have a chance though...

Double Naught Spy
January 6, 2006, 05:13 PM
Hot Damn!

We need to make 10,000 copies of that and send it to every politician we can find!

I really like the part where he includes the opinions of his one-time opponents, it gives more weight to our side, and gives the anti's something to think about before they dissmiss it out of hand.

It sounds cool, but it isn't true. The purported drop in Texas crime was NOT due to concealed carrying licensing. Sure, crime has dropped since the CHL went into effect, but how do you account for the several years that the crime rate in Texas was dropping prior to 1996? Obviously, the drop in those years had nothing to do with CHLs.

If you want to talk correlations with the Texas CHL and crime drops, do you realize that since Texas got its CHL program that it has been so effective to have caused crime to drop in MA, CA, NY, and ME over the last 10 years, the latter states not being terribly pro gun states at all. And that, my friends, demonstrates just how powerful the Texas CHL is. We do things bigger and better in Texas! Or does it?

Of course, I don't expect any of you to believe that Texas CHL has been so successful that it lowered the crime rates in distant states. What we have is a correlation, not a causation. When examined against the bigger picture, the crime rates in all of the states I mentioned were either all showing a marked decline in crime or fluctuating decline in crime with a generalized downward trend already in the years preceding 1996. So we can say that crime dropped in Texas after we instituted the CHL program, but based on the trend already in place, the crime rate was already in decline long before the CHL program.

People on both sides of the gun and CCW issue have been very quick to point out correlations that support their claims, indicating that the factors are causations when they cannot be shown to be be causations. Some, I am sure, know the difference, but some do not. Many of these folks believe that correlations substantiate causation and that is not necessarily the case as I sort of demonstrated with Texas CHL and crime rate information. You can verify by checking the source of my data which is the FBI Uniform Crime Reports.

Something to consider with all this is the fact that Texas instituted its CHL program and the trend of crime did not change. The crime rate was falling since 1992, I believe and simply continued its course. CHLs certain did not cause there to be more crime either. In other words, the impact of CHLs fails to demonstrate any actual trend changes on the state level in regard to crime rates.

The other aspect to the supposed widespread benefit of CHLs in Texas is that a drop in the overall rates of crime in the state does nothing to explain why particular types of crimes against persons still managed to have multi-year increasing trends in some major cities of the state. Take Dallas for example. Since 1996 when the CHLs came into effect and until 2004, Dallas has had one of the highest per capita murder rates in the country. 1996 marked the start of an increasing murder rate that had declined since 1992. If you want to make a causative between CHLs and murder in Dallas and other pro gun supporters are doing for the crime rates and CHL, it would give the impression that CHLs were most definitely a very bad idea since the murder rate in Dallas went up because of CHLs.

Correlations are NOT the same as causations.

And to understand whether or not CHLs are actually having an impact on the crime rate in anyway, the correct data are not being gathered to learn this. Whether or not the state allows licensed concealed carry in public has no impact on crimes committed in personal residences. Texans have always been allowed to have guns in their homes and to carry guns openly or concealed on their own property. So nothing has changed in the ability of Texans to protect themselves on their own property with the passage of CHL laws. So to determine if CHLs are having a trend sort of effect, crimes will have to be identified or classified as those where people could carry guns without permits versus those where a permit is required.

With that in mind, CHLs have most definitely made a huge difference in the lives of individuals who have had to draw on and sometimes shoot attackers with their legally carried guns. At times such as when you are being the victim of a particular crime, state and national trends mean nothing because at that moment, the only statistic is YOU. So CHLs have most definitely benefitted many individuals and no doubt saved the lives of many individuals and that aspect cannot be stated strong enough.

Art Eatman
January 6, 2006, 09:46 PM
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement gave the same sort of information, but some years earlier. A Florida state representative, who as a member of Handgun Control Insanitized opposed the bill with the usual rhetoric, publicly stated his change of heart and publicly resigned his membership in HCI.

As for CHL passage and crime rate, it was quickly evident from the rate of decline in Florida compared to other states, the CHL law had an effect. This was born out by interviews with "professinal" crooks. The CHL law created uncertainty as to the ease of attack on a potential victim.

Art

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