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Concealed carry, crime, Texas and N.C.

With the North Carolina legislature considering a bill to do away with permits for carrying concealed handguns under most circumstances, it’s worth looking at one of the central claims of its proponents.

Namely, that concealed carry may deter crime by making criminals unsure who may have a gun and be ready to defend themselves and others.

Here’s what a Texas A&M researcher found in a study two years ago, when the Texas legislature opened state university campuses to concealed carry: No demonstrable correlation.

The study published in the Journal of Criminology looked at the connection between crime rates and concealed handgun permits for each county in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida and Texas.

Researchers used two sources of data from 1998 to 2010: concealed handgun license information and arrest data from Uniform Crime Reports, which the FBI compiles nationwide to gauge arrests for serious crimes including homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft and arson.

Overall, they found no connection between allowing concealed weapons and crime rates, which are trending downward nationwide.

“The idea that concealed handguns lead to less crime is at the center of much firearms legislation, but the science behind that conclusion has been murky,” said study lead Charles D. Phillips, an emeritus regents professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, in a statement. “The results have been so inconclusive that the National Academy of Sciences in 2004 called for a new approaches to studying the issue, which is what we’ve done with this research.”

Read the whole study here.

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