The Attorney General is at it again. In his most recent press release (Dec. 7, 2017), the Attorney General engages in fear mongering in a tirade against the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (H.R. 38) that recently passed the House of Representatives (see HERE for our prior discussion on this bill), asserting that enactment of this law would be a “public safety disaster for our nation.” Nonsense.
As John Lott has demonstrated in one peer-reviewed paper after another, there is “a very strong relationship between more permits and less violent crime.” See John R. Lott, Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States: 2016.
In particular, the Attorney General laments that the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would permit carry by persons from constitutional carry states, suggesting that Maryland would be flooded with violent criminals from such states. Yet, as John Lott demonstrates, in 2014 (the last year for which data was then available), “the seven states that [then] allowed concealed carry without a permit had much lower rates of murder and violent crime than did the seven jurisdictions with the lowest percentage of permit holders.” Similarly, while the Attorney General bemoans the fact that states have differing standards for permits, you are vastly safer in Pennsylvania (where 12.2% of the adult population had permits and the state does not require training) or in Virginia (with 6.8% of the adults with permits and requires minimal training) than in Maryland (where, as of 2016, only 0.4% of the adults had permits and requires 16 hours of training for those few permits it does issue). The most recent FBI crime statistics confirm Lott’s analysis. According to the FBI, in 2016, Maryland had a violent crime rate of 472 per 100,000 inhabitants. Yet, Pennsylvania had a much lower violent crime rate of 316 per 100,000 and the Virginia rate is even lower at 302 per 100,000. At least Maryland has the cold comfort that its violent crime rate is lower than that of the District of Columbia, which had a rate of 1205.9 in 2016. Of course, the one thing that both Maryland and DC have in common is that both have extremely strict gun control laws.
The hard reality -- that the Attorney General nowhere disputes -- is that permit holders are “extremely law-abiding,” and commit far fewer crimes than even commissioned police officers. In Florida and Texas (both “shall issue” states), for example, permit holders are convicted of a felony or misdemeanor at a rate of 22.3 per 100,000, a rate that is less than “a sixth the rate for police officers” and a rate vastly lower than the U.S. crime rate for the general population of 3,813 per 100,000. So much for the Attorney General’s fears of permit holders descending upon Maryland. Indeed, permit holders would actually make Maryland safer while visiting.
In a particularly odd assertion, AG Frosh states that the police would be unable to confirm that a person has a valid permit (it is not that hard) and then asserts that the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would “put the lives of law enforcement at risk.” Yet, the October 2015 study cited by the Attorney General looked at “the relationship between state firearm ownership rates and LEO occupational homicide rates.” It did not purport to study or examine homicides committed by permit holders or, for that by matter, by persons who carry firearms in constitutional carry states. The study is thus utterly irrelevant to the carry contemplated by the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. To suggest otherwise, as the Attorney General does, is fear mongering at its worst.
It gets worse. In a recent interview on CBSNews, the Attorney General claimed that the out-of-control murder rate in Baltimore was irrelevant because it was all attributable to the Freddie Gray incident (which took place in April 2015). That doesn’t cut it. While the Baltimore murder rate spiked in 2015 with 344 murders, the murder rate remains horrendous, with 318 in 2016 and at a rate of roughly one a day in 2017 (329 as of 12/15/2017). The Attorney General must surely realize that he cannot continue to blame the Gray incident for all this mayhem. In the same vein, the Attorney General claimed in the CBSNews interview that Maryland’s gun control laws have reduced violent crime in Maryland. Likewise false. According to the FBI, in 2012, before the State passed the so-called Firearm Safety Act of 2013, the Maryland violent crime rate was 476 per 100,000. In 2016, that rate was 472 per 100,000. Both rates far exceed the national rate in 2013 of 367.9 per 100,000. In short, Maryland’s strict gun control laws have not even dented the carnage. And the Attorney General does not even begin to address or explain why the violent crime rate in Maryland so vastly exceeds that of our neighbors.
Mark W. Pennak, President MSI