The United States is comprised of many different people with many varying beliefs. We are not a one size fits all country. This is why states are intended to govern themselves. This doesn’t just cover the little things, like budgets and agriculture. It covers the big things like gun control laws, or the lack thereof. Although there’s a direct correlation between restricting concealed carry and gun violence, there are still states with strict gun laws. But what is it like living there?
What Is It Like Living in States with Strict Gun Laws?
It doesn’t take a whole lot of research to find that states with strict carry laws suffer the worst violent crime (especially in the cities). And it isn’t hard to demonstrate that it really is directly related to how restrictive those laws are.
For the purpose of this article, I will start at the city level and then move on to the state level. When compared, the evidence shows a very stark difference between restrictive areas and less restrictive areas. Spoiler alert, it isn’t what the media is telling you.
A Tale of Two Cities
In order to demonstrate the direct correlation between gun laws and violent crime let’s compare Chicago, Il to Kennesaw, GA.
Although not as large as Chicago, Kennesaw isn’t exactly a small rural town, either. Back in 1982 Kennesaw enacted a new gun law requiring that all heads of household own a firearm and ammunition. Of course, people could opt out if they wanted, but participation was highly encouraged—not by the use of law enforcement.
Before enacting the law, Kennesaw had a population of 5.1 thousand residents. After enacting the law, the population grew to 8.9 thousand by 1990. As word got out, more and more people wanted to live in the safety of this then small city. As a result, by 2010 the population exploded to 30.9 thousand. By 2020 the population continued to rise to 34 thousand. This is a Clear message regarding people’s desire to be able to protect themselves.
With residents of Kennesaw encouraged to carry, whether concealed or open carry, the violent crime rate there is incredibly low. According to AreaVibes.com, the violent crime in Kennesaw is 64% lower than the national average. Likewise, BestPlaces.net places Kennesaw at a rank of 9.7 out of 100 for violent crime. The national average is 22.7.
In contrast, in Chicago, with some of the strictest gun laws in the country, violent crime is staggeringly high. According to AreaVibes.com, violent crime in Chicago is 143% higher than the national average. Likewise, BestPlaces.net places Chicago at a rank of 49.9 out of 100 for violent crime. To further illustrate, 24 people were shot and 5 killed, including a baby, in Chicago, last weekend alone. Chicago poses a clear example that gun control does not prevent gun deaths. In fact, it is just the opposite.
But What About the States?
When looking at data on the state level, a similar trend shows. In this case, let’s compare the two ends of the spectrum—Maine and the District of Columbia. Although the District of Columbia is technically a territory and not a state, for the purpose of this comparison it qualifies, as it is typically listed along with the states for statistical purposes.
In 2015 Maine enacted Public Law 2015, Chapter 327 (LD 652), “An Act To Authorize the Carrying of Concealed Handguns without a Permit.”
The law “allows a person who is not otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm to carry a concealed handgun in the State of Maine without a permit. This law also authorizes a person to possess a loaded pistol or revolver while in a motor vehicle, trailer or other vehicle being hauled by a motor vehicle.”
In a listing of violent crime by states and territories on Wikipedia, Maine has the lowest violent crime with only 108.6 per 100,000 people.
Conversely, according to FindLaw.com, “the District of Columbia’s gun control laws are among the most restrictive in the country, requiring all firearms to be registered with the D.C Metropolitan Police Department.”
Included in the District of Columbia’s restrictive laws are bans on so-called “assault weapons” and “high capacity magazines.”
However, the Wikipedia list of violent crime by states and territories shows the District of Columbia as the highest, with 999.8 per 100,000. That is a pretty dramatic difference.
So, it begs the question. If gun control works, why isn’t gun control working? Maybe we have been looking at it all wrong. It is possible it has nothing to do with preventing violent crime and more to do with control.
So, we turned to our readers for a perspective on what it is like to live in an area with strict gun laws.
Restrictive of Choice
A major complaint of many that live in areas with strict gun laws is the restriction of choice. For many, options are limited as to what they can own:
“I live in New Jersey, and it is restrictive. It really constricts what you can and can’t buy. And the permits for [handguns] can be a pain.”
Although some states allow the purchase of what you want, you may not be able to own standard capacity magazines. But there are options to work around that:
“I’m from Colorado. We can get any gun we want from [an] FFL but we have a magazine size limit of 15 rounds. We have to purchase magazine parts and assemble them ourselves if we want 30 rounds or 33. [It’s] a pain.”
Sometimes the difference is so palpable you can feel it:
“I live in FL but I’m back in MA for vacation and just feel it. [Like] the dark side of the Force.”
Chalk another one up for restrictions to reasonable options:
“It sharply reduces your options.”
As I illustrated above, heavier restrictions on legal firearm ownership invites increased crime. But some of our readers didn’t need us to tell them that, they are living it:
“Well, you’ve probably read about what mischief goes on in California.”
I can’t think of a better illustration:
“Shut up and hand me your valuables!”
Chicago, in it to win it:
“Super safe (says no one in Chicago).”
One reader is watching crime increase as a direct result of more gun control, regardless of what politicians want them to believe:
“[In] Connecticut, our previous governor Malloy passed some of the strictest laws in the country saying we are all much safer. Just look at the news every day. It proves criminals don’t care about laws and we are certainly no safer.”
This seems fair and balanced:
“The crooks and guards have guns, but the subjects do not.”
When seconds count, police are only minutes away:
“You cannot rely on police, & criminals are in & out of jail like the Holiday Inn. You can figure it out from there.”
Although they are not part of the United States, we have seen gun control play out all over the world. It is not going well, as some of our international readers point out:
“In Australia, the criminals have [guns] but not the honest. It’s terrible.”
Sounds like a whole lot of red tape intended to make people give up:
“In Costa Rica. You have to take a written exam and a proficiency exam. Then background check, psychological exam, have your prints taken and you have to declare your tattoos[.] [And] at least the ones in your arms they will take pictures for your file. Then you get your gun.”
Remember Tiananmen Square:
“Ask the Chinese!”
Whatever the case, it is clear that gun control does not work. When you look at states with strict gun laws compared to states with looser laws, the evidence is clear. The more you restrict firearms, the more violent crime rises.
It cannot be said enough; criminals are criminals because they don’t care about the law. The only people that gun laws affect are law-abiding gun owners. If politicians keep pushing their outlandish gun control agenda, Kennesaw, GA might get a whole lot bigger.