The Violence Policy Center (VPC) claims a high number of homicides committed by concealed carry weapon (CCW) permit holders, but Crime Prevention Research Center’s John Lott says this conclusion is the result of counting open cases as convictions.
In other words, where there are “pending cases” involving a death and a permit holder, the VPC is assuming the permit holder has committed a crime. But Lott stresses that such an approach is wrong because “most cases never result in a conviction.” Moreover, because “many cases can be listed as pending for two or three calendar years,” counting “pending cases” as convictions “results in massive over counting.”
Writing in The Hill, Lott said:
The VPC… asserts that in the 10 years from May 2007 to April 2017, U.S. concealed handgun permit holders were responsible for 969 non-self-defense gun deaths (with any type of weapon, not just handguns). Of these deaths, 314 were suicides and 17 were the result of accidental shootings. In all, 324 permit holders purportedly killed people.
Lott added, “Looking at the VPC numbers for 2016, they claim that 26 permit holders supposedly committed 29 homicides. With over 15 million permit holders nationwide last year, those deaths amount to 0.2 homicides per 100,000 permit holders.”
Regarding the 2016 numbers, Lott wrote, “Almost all of [the cases] are listed as pending, and most of the defendants will be acquitted on account of self-defense.” Yet the VPC is counting them as convictions while they can, and even with such an approach the homicide rate among permit holders is “0.2 homicides per 100,000 permit holders.”
Lott explained that the over-counting that results from including “pending cases” is magnified by the fact that news reports on those cases are counted as well. Thus, “a case that ends in acquittal will, therefore, be counted four times if it is covered in a news story and is pending for three years.” For example, “Over the past 10 years, 17 Michigan permit holders were convicted of homicide, not 78.”
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.