Study finds significant increase in firearm assaults in states that relaxed conceal carry permit restrictions: Specific provisions in conceal carry laws may reduce risks associated with civilian gun carrying

A new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that the average rate of assaults with firearms increased an average of 9.5 percent relative to forecasted trends in the first 10 years after 34 states relaxed restrictions on civilians carrying concealed firearms in public.

The studyexamined two aspects of policy changes: the overall impact on gun violence when states changed their laws for civilians carrying concealed firearms from more to less restrictive ones and, secondly, whether less restrictive measures — known as “shall issue” laws — containing specific safety and screening provisions influenced gun violence outcomes.

The study found that moving to less restrictive laws was associated with a 24 percent increase in the rate of assaults with firearms (12.75 per 100,000) when individuals convicted of violent misdemeanors were eligible to obtain concealed-carry licenses. The researchers also found that states with shall issue laws that had live-fire firearm safety training requirements did not see the significant increases in firearm assaults that were estimated for states that lacked such requirements.

The findings were published online September 14 in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

“In general, violent crime increased after states loosened concealed carry permitting requirements,” says Mitchel Doucette, PhD, assistant scientist in the Department of Health Policy and Management and director of research methods at the Center for Gun Violence Solutions at the Bloomberg School. “Allowing more individuals to carry concealed guns in public — including some who would have previously been denied carry permits due to prior arrests or restraining orders — can increase inappropriate use of firearms in response to interpersonal conflicts, disputes, or other situations.”

For their analysis, the researchers identified 36 states that weakened their conceal carry permit requirements from 1980 to 2019. They excluded two states — Kansas and Missouri — due to other significant firearm laws changing around the same time.

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