Open and concealed "carrying" lowers crime because the bad guys know they better not try anything. It is pretty much a gun zealot catechism ever since John Lott's More Guns Less Crime, published in 1998. Lott lost credibility when he was unable to produce data or records showing a survey he cited in the book actually existed and for creating an online "sock puppet" named "Mary Rosh" to defend himself against online charges of lax methodology.
But the myth of carriers deterring bad guys continues. This week, the Washington Times perpetuated the self-flattering fantasy by noting that "the number of robberies that have led to arrests in Chicago has declined 20 percent from last year" and the reason is"carriers!
"It isn't any coincidence crime rates started to go down when concealed carry was permitted. Just the idea that the criminals don't know who's armed and who isn't has a deterrence effect," the Times quotes Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association saying. "The police department hasn't changed a single tactic -- they haven't announced a shift in policy or of course -- and yet you have these incredible numbers."
The incredible numbers Pearson cites include five people killed and 42 wounded by gun violence in Chicago over this past, August 23 weekend, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Even though "carriers" have only been on Illinois streets since February and Chicago is in the middle of a gun bloodbath, Pearson cannot resist taking a bow. More guns--less crime!
What gun zealots don't want to talk about is that crime is down in Europe, Canada, Asia including Japan and China and many other parts of the world. According to the Economist, crime began to fall in the U.S. in 1991, long before "carriers" and has also fallen in Britain since 1995 and France since 2001.
Social scientists have many theories for the falling crime from better policing tactics like DNA testing and surveillance cameras to better behaved young people. In fact, young people are more likely to live with their parents, these days, and to be in higher education, says the Economist.