Why Are CCW Permit Holders Even More Law-Abiding Than Law Enforcement Officers?

Feb. 15, 2019
by Bob Adelmann

Those deciding to take the time and invest the money into obtaining their concealed carry (CCW) permits take their new responsibilities very seriously. On their person they now carry lethal power to maim or kill. In addition there is the great likelihood that the aftermath of a shooting, fatal or not, is going to cost them thousands of dollars in legal fees, not to mention much mental anguish.

That’s why the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network has grown so rapidly. It declares that you don’t have to face the legal system alone. It helps pay some or most of the legal fees incurred following a self-defense incident, including a fee deposit paid to an attorney immediately after such an incident. It helps with bail, if necessary, and further funding assistance if a member is criminally charged or sued in civil court.

That’s why it isn’t a surprise – or shouldn’t be – that CCW permit holders hold themselves to a very high standard of conduct in public. Not only are they provably more law-abiding than members of the general public; they are much more law-abiding even than law enforcement officers!

It was Guy Smith, writing in his Gun Facts blog, who first alerted his readers to a study showing that “people with concealed carry licenses are 5.7 times less likely to be arrested for violent offences than the general public and 13.5 times less likely to be arrested for non-violent offenses than the general public.” Referring to another study, Smith noted that it “concluded that the four-year violent crime arrest rate of CCW holders is 128 per 100,000 [but] for the general population it is 710 per 100,000. In other words, CCW holders are 5.5 times less likely to commit a violent crime [than the general public].”

But it was John Lott, President of the Crime Prevention Research Center, who went one step further: comparing how CCW holders behave when compared to police. He concluded that “Concealed handgun permit holders are extremely law-abiding,” adding, “In Florida and Texas, permit holders are convicted of misdemeanors and felonies at one-sixth of the rate at which police officers are convicted.”

From recent data Lott calculated the ratios: general public versus police officers versus CCW permit holders:

With about 685,464 full-time police officers in the U.S. from 2005 to 2007, we find that there were about 103 crimes per hundred thousand officers. For the U.S. population as a whole, the crime rate was 37 times higher – 3,813 crimes per hundred thousand people….

Even given the low conviction rate for police, concealed carry permit holders are even more law-abiding than police. Between October 1, 1987 and June 30 2017, Florida revoked 11,189 concealed handgun permits for misdemeanors or felonies. This is an annual revocation rate of 10.4 permits per 100,000. In Texas in 2016 (the last year for which data is available), 148 permit holders were convicted of a felony or misdemeanor – a conviction rate of 12.3 per 100,000.

Combining Florida and Texas data, we find that permit holders are convicted of misdemeanors and felonies at less than a sixth of the rate for police officers. Among police, firearms violations occur at a rate of 16.5 per 100,000 officers. Among permit holders in Florida and Texas, the rate is only 2.4 per 100,000. That is just 1/7th of the rate for police officers.

But there’s no need to focus on Texas and Florida – the data are similar in other states.

Lott failed to mention that often those misdemeanors that cost permit holders their licenses might have been speeding violations or other simple violations having nothing to do with carrying a concealed sidearm. So the numbers he quoted overstate the rate at which CCW holders lose their licenses. In other words, they are even more law-abiding than Lott suggests.

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There’s an added bonus that neither Lott nor Smith emphasized enough: CCW permit holders have reduced the rate of violent crimes committed by criminals, often merely by their presence. In 2018 the FBI analyzed 50 active shooter incidents in 2016 and 2017:

In 10 incidents, citizens confronted the shooter. In eight of those incidents, one or more citizens safely and successfully acted to end the shooting:

·       In four incidents, unarmed citizens confronted or persuaded the shooter to end the shooting. In two incidents, school staff confronted and restrained the shooter. In one incident, the citizen used his car to thwart the shooter. In one incident, the citizen persuaded the shooter to surrender via telephone during a police chase; she ran up to the shooter’s car as he came to a stop and pulled him out of his seat, bringing the chase to an end.

·       In four incidents, citizens possessing valid firearms permits successfully stopped the shooter. In two incidents, citizens exchanged gunfire with the shooter. In two incidents, the citizens held the shooter at gunpoint until law enforcement arrived.

·       In one incident, a citizen possessing a valid firearms permit exchanged gunfire with the shooter, causing the shooter to flee to another scene and continue shooting.

·       In one incident, a citizen possessing a valid firearms permit was wounded before he could fire at the shooter.

Lott would say that this is far too small a sample size to prove statistical significance, that far more data would be needed to measure the impact CCW holders have on public safety. But as this article was being prepared, an incident in Tennessee just occurred that proves the point. As reported locally by WISH TV, on Valentine’s Day a husband “went into a dentist office and shot his wife…. A bystander, with a carry permit, shot the suspect and held him until authorities arrived.”

Such surveys and reports confirm what most already know: those with CCW permits follow the law carefully, and, in the event of an “incident,” will do everything possible to avoid pulling a weapon. These surveys and reports are, on the other hand, extremely upsetting to anti-gunners who just know that more guns equal more crime. So they must ignore the facts, the history, the experience, the proofs, the surveys, the real-life incidents, and instead move ahead with their attempts to disarm them.



ArmedCitizensNetwork.org: Can you survive the legal aftermath of self defense?

TheFreeThoughtProject.com: Study Shows Concealed Carry Permit Holders Break Laws Far Less Than Cops

WISHTV.com: Sheriff: ‘Hero’ with concealed carry stops suspect after shooting at dentist’s office

Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States: 2018

AmericanRifleman.org: Fear & Loading: Permit Holders Obey Laws Better Than Cops

GunFacts.info: Concealed Carry

Concealed carry in the United States: Effect on violent crime

Active Shooter Incidents in the United States in 2016 and 2017 as reported by the FBI

TheNewAmerican.com: Was CCW License Holder Who Helped Chicago Police Justified in Shooting at Suspect?

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