Six years after new rules made it much easier to get a license to carry concealed weapons, the number of Michiganders legally packing heat has increased more than six-fold.
But dire predictions about increased violence and bloodshed have largely gone unfulfilled, according to law enforcement officials and, to the extent they can be measured, crime statistics.
The incidence of violent crime in Michigan in the six years since the law went into effect has been, on average, below the rate of the previous six years. The overall incidence of death from firearms, including suicide and accidents, also has declined.
More than 155,000 Michiganders — about one in every 65 — are now authorized to carry loaded guns as they go about their everyday affairs, according to Michigan State Police records.
About 25,000 people had CCW permits in Michigan before the law changed in 2001.
John Lott, a visiting professor at the University of Maryland who has done extensive research on the role of firearms in American society, said the results in Michigan since the law changed don’t surprise him.
Academic studies of concealed weapons laws that generally allow citizens to obtain permits have shown different results, Lott said. About two-thirds of the studies suggest the laws reduce crime; the rest show no net effect, he said.
But no peer-reviewed study has ever shown that crime increases when jurisdictions enact changes like those put in place by the Legislature and then-Gov. John Engler in 2000, Lott said.
The cops in Michigan are trying to spin their original panicky announcements that anarchy would result from issuing carry permits to the unwashed masses by saying “things weren’t as bad as they expected” when if fact for the average citizen things became a lot better as criminals decided against risking their lives to prey upon victims who might be armed.
Gun availability decreases crime. It’s a scientific fact.