Texas Concealed Handgun Carriers Are Law-Abiding...
In 1994, Texas citizens approved a nonbinding resolution asking the state to grant Texans the right to carry concealed weapons. Gov. Ann Richards had vetoed such a bill prior to the vote and vowed that no such bill would pass while she was governor. By contrast, her opponent in the race for governor--George W. Bush--said that if elected he would sign an appropriately structured "right-to-carry" law. Bush won the election and on May 26, 1995, signed a law granting Texans the right to carry concealed firearms. When he did so, Texas joined 30 other states that have made it legal to carry concealed weapons.
Because of its large geographic size and population and electoral importance, Texas` experience with concealed carry has come under sustained attack. Before passage, opponents predicted a decline in public safety, with minor incidents escalating into killings as the concealed carry law placed more guns in irresponsible hands. Further, critics claimed that criminals would be undeterred by an increase in armed citizens. Both predictions were wrong.
In 1998 and again in 1999, the Violence Policy Center, a research organization opposed to concealed carry (Editor`s note: VPC seeks a total ban on handgun ownership), released reports highlighting the numbers of Texas` concealed carry licensees who have been arrested since the law went into effect. Using Texas Department of Public Safety records, the center pointed out that Texas licensees had been arrested for nearly two crimes a day through 1998--with more than one arrest each month for a violent crime.
In isolation, these numbers paint a troubling picture. However, the reports are misleading for several reasons. First, they do not separate crimes that involve concealed weapons from those that don`t. In addition, they ignore the fact that more than 55 percent of licensees arrested for violent crimes are cleared of the crimes for which they are arrested. Most tellingly, when the arrest rates of Texas` concealed carry holders are compared with those of the general population, licensees are found to be more law-abiding than the average person.
In an unpublished report, engineering statistician William Sturdevant found that concealed carry licensees had arrest rates far lower than the general population for every category of crime. For instance:
** Licensees were 5.7 times less likely to be arrested for violent offenses than the general public--127 per 100,000 population versus 730 per 100,000.
** Licensees were 13.5 times less likely to be arrested for nonviolent offenses than the general public--386 per 100,000 population versus 5,212 per 100,000.
** Further, the general public is 1.4 times more likely to be arrested for murder than licensees, and no licensee had been arrested for negligent manslaughter.
"All the horror stories
I thought would come
to pass didn`t happen. . . .
I think it`s worked out well,
and that says good things
about the citizens who have permits.
I`m a convert."
--Glenn White, president
of the Dallas Police Association
This is unsurprising, since the standards for getting a concealed carry license in Texas are the strictest in the nation. One must be at least 21 years of age, submit a photo and fingerprints for a background check, pay a $140 fee and take more than eight hours of course work. In addition, applicants must pass both a written test covering laws pertaining to deadly force and gun safety and a shooting accuracy test. Even with all of these hurdles, more than 200,000 Texans have received concealed carry permits.
Shootings involving licensees are rare. However, most permit holders who have wounded or killed purported assailants have not been arrested because the authorities have determined that the shootings were justified. For instance:
** Licensee Jim Eichelberg ended James Turner`s brief crime spree when, in an exchange of gunfire, he shot Turner as Turner tried to carjack Eichelberg at gunpoint. Earlier, Turner had robbed another driver.
** In 1996, licensee Becky Shelton shot and killed a man who was attempting to rob and shoot her husband in their Richardson jewelry store.
Of the concealed carry licensees who have been arrested for a murder, several have been no-billed by grand juries that determined the killings were lawful. Gordon Hale, III, was the first Texas licensee to kill an assailant using his concealed firearm--and the first licensee arrested. Hale had been involved in a minor noninjury traffic accident that turned into an assault when the other driver, Kenny Tavai, punched Hale repeatedly in the face and then attempted to drag him out of his car through the window. Hale fired his weapon in response, killing Tavai. The Dallas district attorney`s office charged Hale with murder for using what it considered excessive force in defending against Tavai. The grand jury believed that Hale justifiably feared for his life and refused to indict him. Of the six licensees who were arrested for murder or nonnegligent manslaughter and brought to trial, twice as many (four) were found to have acted in self-defense as were found guilty of murder (two).
When criminals suspect that the costs of committing a crime will be too high, they are less likely to commit it. The possibility of a concealed weapon tilts the odds in favor of the potential victim. Studies have shown that rape victims who resist with a gun are only half as likely to be injured as those who do not resist.
In More Guns, Less Crime (1998), the University of Chicago`s John Lott examined the impact of concealed carry permits. Using data from all 3,054 U.S. counties between 1977 and 1992, he found that after controlling for other factors:
**Concealed handgun laws reduce murder by 8.5 percent, rape by 5 percent and severe assault by 7 percent.
** Passage of nondiscretionary carry laws in states that did not have them in 1992 would have reduced murders in that year by 1,839; rapes by 3,727 and aggravated assaults by 10,990; robberies by 61,064 and burglaries by 112,665. The total value of this reduction in crime in 1992 dollars would have been $7.6 billion, Lott says.
These reductions are beyond the general decline in crime rates that the U.S. has experienced during the past eight years.
In the early 1990s, Texas` serious crime rate was 38 percent above the national average. Since then serious crime in Texas has dropped 50 percent faster than for the nation as a whole. For example, during the 1990s Texas` murder rate dropped 52 percent compared to 33 percent nationally, and the rape rate fell by 22 percent compared to 16 percent nationally. In light of Lott`s research, it is likely that Texas` concealed carry law has contributed to the declining crime rates.
Both John B. Holmes, Harris County district attorney, and Glenn White, president of the Dallas Police Ass`n, initially opposed concealed carry in Texas but have subsequently embraced it. Holmes said, "I ... (felt) that such legislation ... present(ed) a clear and present danger to lawabiding citizens by placing more handguns on our streets. Boy was I wrong. Our experience in Harris County, and indeed statewide, has proven my initial fears absolutely groundless." And White said, "All the horror stories I thought would come to pass didn`t happen. ... I think it`s worked out well, and that says good things about the citizens who have permits. I`m a convert." The evidence indicates that concealed carry is a vital tool in the fight against violent crime.
If folks would give the Pro-gun vs anti-gun stats a honest look. They would see that is the the rule NOT the exception.
Preaching to the chior, i know.......
I thought it was an interesting article - worth posting - Good info there...
Good job,,,,,,,,,,good job, Ship
You also answered my question from a while back regarding when Texas passed the law.
I thought of that too, when I read it - but I couldn't remember who had asked me hat.
I knew the law didn't go into effect until 96 - because I moved here that year, and it had just started. So, it passed in 95, but they had to work up all the details before they started issuing the permits.
Thanks. Nice piece. I wonder if anyone knows what the crime stats are for people rejected for CCW.
A few years ago, I was told in a CCW renewal class that the rate of crime committed by CCW holders in TX was lower than the r ate of crime among police officers in TX. I have no sources for that - but, just found it interesting...
That would be interesting.Originally Posted by Wandering Man
Thanks, now I'm worried........there were 13 rejections in my little community.......... Although I guess that's better than not having them.Originally Posted by propellerhead
That's the way I looked at it too. At least you know the screening process is working. Whew!
Fabulous job on the report. Thanks for sharing it with us.
There was also a huge "fear" that everyone and their mom would go out and get a CHL when the law was passed; when in fact the number was so small that both pro and anti folks were quite surprised.
On another note. Texas Law Enforcement's little car computers tell them if you have a CHL when running your Drivers License so you should inform them of this fact or better yet hand the officer your CHL with your DL to the officer so they don't freak out when the computer goes beserk and he pulls his gun...........................
Last edited by hunterdl; 12-16-2006 at 12:26 PM. Reason: Poor grammer
You got it all wrong. The decline in crime in the 90's was due to midnight basketball.
If you live in a state that requires a purchase permit to own a handgun, what is the likelihood that someone can be approved for the purchase permit, but not the concealed carry permit?
As I see it, the only real difference between the two is that in NC, you have to sign off and give them access to medical records. The pruchase permit does not dive into medical records.
Also, I wonder if there are crimes you can have on your record that are OK for purchase permits, but will disqualify you from getting the CCW.
If you all like statistics, check out this website and compare to the map showing right-to-carry:
You'll notice that Vermont, which has absolutely no restriction whatsoever, other than age likely, also has the lowest violent crime rate.
DC, on the other hand, which effectively bans handgun ownership, has the absolute highest.
Other 'May Issue' states like Maryland, which essentially denies the right to carry is also quite high.
In fact, I noticed a number of similar relationships between high rates of violent crime and the level of right to carry restrictions.
Note that the link is for 2004, so states like Alaska that went from No Issue to Shall Issue, in 2003/2004 will still be high. I believe that this and the initial numbers seen in Texas, are due to the public's conditioning that guns are not allowed.
Particularly, when moving from a No Issue to a Shall Issue. Missouri only recently (2003) changed their laws to allow it. My dad who lives there is still under the impression that he can't get one, either due to restrictions or cost.
I think I heard that Texas has extended it's four year lis. to five years. But I haven't heard wether that means my CHL will automatically be extended another year or if my lis. is only good for four years since that was the time limit when I got it. Guess I could get that info from TXDPS but if any of you know anything about it please share. Thanks.
Idaho did the same thing. They didn't extend the existing licenses, so if you had one under the four year plan you would still have to get another on the 4 year anniversary, but the new one would be valid for another 5 years.
I would suspect that TX probably has the same deal.
You should be able to do an Internet search for TX State Code and find it.
Same here on that being true. I did see the stats & wish I had kept them in my personal records. The only one listed that higher arrest rate for permit holders was DWI. I know LEOs do arrest DWI officers on occasion but I have to wonder how the buddy system comes into play on that one.
Even us Transplant Texans are lawabiding.
They have great stats on the DPS web site in the Concealed handgun section that compares crime state for CHL v's non CHL licensees. As a CHL instructor in Austin, Texas I agree that the requirements to apply for a CHL pretty much rule out people that would be considered high risk such as felony, class A and B convictions, DWI's and drug convictions. Pretty amazing stats well worth checking out