NYT Scare Story About Carry Permit Holders Shows They Are Remarkably Law-Abiding


A front-page story in today's New York Times tries to stir up alarm about liberalized carry permit laws, which let people carry concealed handguns if they meet a short list of objective criteria. To illustrate the hazards of that policy, the Times cites crimes committed by permit holders in North Carolina. How many crimes? Excluding traffic offenses, the Times counts 2,400 over five years, of which 200 were felonies. More relevant (since critics of nondiscretionary permit laws worry that they contribute to gun violence), "More than 200 permit holders were also convicted of gun- or weapon-related felonies or misdemeanors, including roughly 60 who committed weapon-related assaults." That's a dozen gun assaults a year. How many permit holders are there in North Carolina? According to the story, "more than 240,000." So 0.2 percent of them are convicted of a non-traffic-related offense each year, about 0.017 percent are convicted of a felony, and only 0.005 percent are convicted of a gun assault. The Times concedes that the number of permit holders convicted of crimes "represents a small percentage of those with permits." More like "tiny." By comparison, about 0.35 percent of all Americans are convicted of a felony each year–more than 20 times the rate among North Carolina permit holders. It seems clear these people are far more law-abiding than the general population, a finding consistent with data from other states. Such data are not surprising, since law-abidingness, as measured by a clean criminal record, is one requirement for a carry permit.

Between horror stories that suggest letting people carry guns in public fosters violence, the Times admits there is little evidence to substantiate that fear:

Researchers acknowledge that those who fit the demographic profile of a typical permit holder –middle-age white men–are not usually major drivers of violent crime. At the same time, several states have produced statistical reports showing, as in North Carolina, that a small segment does end up on the wrong side of the law. As a result, the question becomes whether allowing more people to carry guns actually deters crime, as gun rights advocates contend, and whether that outweighs the risks posed by the minority who commit crimes.

Gun rights advocates invariably point to the work of John R. Lott, an economist who concluded in the late 1990s that the laws had substantially reduced violent crime. Subsequent studies, however, have found serious flaws in his data and methodology.

A few independent researchers using different data have come to similar conclusions, but many other studies have found no net effect of concealed carry laws or have come to the opposite conclusion. Most notably, Ian Ayres and John J. Donohue, economists and law professors, concluded that the best available data and modeling showed that permissive right-to-carry laws, at a minimum, increased aggravated assaults. Their data also showed that robberies and homicides went up, but the findings were not statistically significant.

In the end, most researchers say the scattershot results are not unexpected, because the laws, in all likelihood, have not significantly increased the number of people carrying concealed weapons among those most likely to commit crimes or to be victimized.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but the people who are most inclined to commit crimes are the ones who are least inclined to worry that carrying a gun without a permit is illegal. But that undeniable reality does not stop the Times from insinuating otherwise with scary anecdotes, some of which are not even relevant. For example, the Times cites a permit holder who "shot his neighbor to death with a rifle in 2008 over a legal dispute." In what sense was that crime facilitated or encouraged by the fact that the attacker was legally allowed to carry a concealed handgun in public? 

Addendum: As Brian Doherty noted, the Times tried something similar last month, starting with felons and asking whether they had carry permits.

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  1. Look at the NYT’s story. It starts off with an anecdote of some loving family man who was shot for no reason by a guy with a carry permit.

    Never trust these kinds of stories–leading with a personal story is the crap reporters learn at journalism school to add color and slant to an otherwise dry story based on an extrapolation of statistics.

    It’s cheap emotion, and cheap writing.

    1. I call the Second Amendment the “Egalitarian Clause” of the Constitution.

      Try that on a liberal friend this New Years holiday.

      Talk about sociopolitical egalitarianism. Look up the term if you don’t know what the hell it means. No use coming across as a stupid conservative, yapping about equal haircuts, equal outcomes, equal bullshit.

      That’s the purpose of the 2nd amendment — sociopolitical egalitarianism. Equal power. “All men are created equal” sort of stuff.

      And fuck Rothbard and his essay on how egalitarianism is against nature. What a wanker.

      The shift from scavenging and the occasional opportunistic hunt very likely had a good deal to do with another defining characteristic of our species: egalitarianism. Most social primates are strictly hierarchical, like chimpanzees. But, when troops of young, male chimpanzees go on hunting expeditions, that hierarchy often begins to break down. Hunting is a cooperative effort?trying to maintain hierarchy in that situation simply imperils the hunt. As humans began to look to meat for the bulk of its nutritional needs, cooperation became more important, and hierarchy became a luxury our ancestors could not afford.

      Egalitarian societies built on sharing and cooperation and guided by consensus were much more adapted to the niche humans exploited than the hierarchical troops of other primates. This egalitarianism even became part of our very bodies?humans have some of the lowest sexual dimorphism in the entire animal kingdom, on par with penguins. Compare this to, say, the baboon, where males may be up to three times the size of females.

      Thesis #7: Humans are best adapted to band life.
      by Jason Godesky | 22 September 2005…

      1. You know, you look like a real fruitcake in your photos. What is your IRL mental illness, Jason?

        1. Yeah, but you suck your daddy’s dick. What’s wrong with you?

    2. Yeah, I agree with Albo. Those types of “personal” stories are the ones that piss me of the most. There is zero logic, just an appeal to emotion. I’m guessing you could pick about any item from any store and come up with some tragedy where it caused some kids death. I’m sure some kids probably choked on some cotton balls at some point.

    3. Just like the Wild West!!!one!exclamat!on1!one!eleventy!

      Where are the tens of thousands of dead bodies littering the streets, anti-gunners? You know, like you predicted would happen?

  2. Gun control is crack for Liberals, no matter how much damage it does to them politically they just keep right on smokin it.

    1. It really is amazing how they just cannot let the gun control thing go. They have lost that battle so badly it’s almost not funny, yet they keep going back to it.

      It’s actually pretty amusing.

      My daily carry gun of choice.

      1. remind me not to cut in front of you at Walmart.

      2. Since I’m not a malnourished 4’11” greaseball like you, I’ve been carrying a real gun.

        1. Do you wear it all day with zero discomfort like I do? I doubt it at 23oz. Fatass.

          This is for when I want something bigger.

          1. I wear my SIG for hours at a time. Roughly the same weight as Warty’s. In the winter I wear it in a crossdraw shoulder rig, pretty comfy.

            1. Yes, but I wear mine in my waistband and don’t even notice it. But it helps not being a fatass like Warty.

              1. If you guys were serious you’d carry two guns, maybe three.

            2. I’ve always felt the SIGs’ barrel axes are too high above the forearm line.

          2. I went with a Sigma in a .40 S&W for my daily carry. It was very cheap brand-new. came with extra mags and is a tack driver right outta the box.

          3. What’s the price on that .380 ACP ammo? Don’t recall seeing any in the local shops. But I don’t buy rounds very often. .22s for target practice, but haven’t bought any boxes for the higher gauges in years.

              1. I saw a video on some Hornady Critical Defense ammo in .380 shot into some ballistics geletin. It was pretty impressive actually.

          4. Hey Epi since you like the Kel-Tecs have you seen the new KSG dual-tube shotgun. It’s pretty sweet. That’s probably my next toy.

          5. Insert gun forum tough talk about not trusting your life to anything made by Kel-Tec.

            1. Hey Epi since you like the Kel-Tecs have you seen the new KSG dual-tube shotgun.

              I’ve seen it. It’s neat, but mostly a gimmick.

              Insert gun forum tough talk about not trusting your life to anything made by Kel-Tec.

              They’re cheap because they don’t do a lot of post-production work on them. However, if you send in a new one after you buy it, they will “fluff and buff” (sounds like Warty’s mom) it for free. I did that with my P3AT and it has never jammed or fed bad since.

            2. I’ve heard they’re decent guns. The KSG is a pump shotgun, unless they’re using cheap plastic internal parts it’s pretty tough to screw up a pump shotgun.

              1. They are quite decent. Send them in to the factory or have a gunsmith do a simple polish job on them after purchase and you have a great gun for under $300.

          6. This is my daily carry:


      3. Glock and Wesson on my hip. I’m still better with a bow.

        And yeah, I can start fire with a single gesture of my hand, like Thor.

        1. Kind of hard to conceal carry a bow, isn’t it?

      4. Keltec huh? Always seemed like cheap pieces of crap to me. Not that cheap guns can’t be good, I carry a CZ82.

          1. Do you carry with the bayonet locked or stowed?

            1. Stowed of course. I’m no charlatan!

              1. That almost beats my buddy’s tactical battle spork.

      5. Unfortunately, we haven’t had as much progress here in Canada. Some good things happening though like the abolition of the long-gun registry.

        1. Until a few years ago you had better machinegun-related laws. Now there are no new lawful machinegun owners in Canada, and the current ones are slowly dying off. When the last one dies, there will be no more lawfully privately-owned machineguns in Canada, unless the law is changed. Now, when a licensed machinegun owner dies, their collection has to be sold to another licensed MG collector or forefeit to the government for destruction.

          1. Jesus Christ that’s depressing. Here’s hoping the conservatives do something good on that.

    2. Gun control is crack for Liberals, no matter how much damage it does to them politically they just keep right on smokin it.

      The irony there is that it makes them huge chumps. For decades there was little to no ideological debate about gun control. It was part of the agenda of the Rockefeller Republican establishment of social control to which working class liberals were not even a party. They could have easily have made the pro-gun argument based on class grounds, and scored points, but they fell hook, line and sinker for the ‘expert’ garbage of their betters.

  3. Mr. Diez, as it turned out, was one of more than 240,000 people in North Carolina with a permit to carry a concealed handgun. If not for that gun, Mr. Simons is convinced, the confrontation would have ended harmlessly. “I bet it would have been a bunch of mouthing,” he said.

    Would it make ya’s feel any better, little goil, if you’d a been swung at with an unlicensed baseball bat?

  4. I imagine that licensed drivers also commit crimes, why not ban cars?

    1. It depends how many cars are used to kill people..

      1. ABout 30,000+ yearly

  5. Gun owners with a legal permit commit much less crime than the average citizen on average. Why? The article points out that this shouldn’t be “surprising, since law-abidingness, as measured by a clean criminal record, is one requirement for a carry permit.” Ah, so government regulation works?

    1. Correlation of high crime to draconian regulation very close.

      1. Officer, am I free to gambol about plain and forest?

        1. You sure as hell are, sir. Go West, youngman, and gambol!

    2. it’s no use trying to reason with these little boys. every gun thread turns into a pissing contest. you’ll only get wet.

    3. Eh. In my state, the only requirement is that you not have committed a felony or misdemeanor domestic battery, you take a class, and you give the county sheriff a copy of your fingerprints.

      In Florida, 1.6M permits have been issued, 627K were still valid as of 2009. 4317 had been revoked for crime after licensure, of which 167 (in the history of CCW in FL) involved a firearm. In 22 years, 167 permits have been revoked for use of a firearm that leads to arrest. Which means that statistically, the best way to ensure you don’t get arrested as an adult in FL is to get a CCW permit on your 18th birthday.

      1. Link here to the updated as of 7/31/2011 data in FL. Since the 2009 data quoted above, exactly one more firearms related revocation. We also have 843k current holders. So, go us.

    4. I think you’re a bit confused.

      People who have gun permits are self selecting; if they were inclined towards criminality, they wouldn’t bother with getting the gun permit in the first place. This of course means that gun permit owners are less likely act criminally than the rest of the population. What it DOESN’T mean is that the law actually prevents crime, nor does it prevent criminals from obtaining guns; it merely creates an obstacle for law-abiding citizens, while doing absolutely nothing to prevent criminals from illegally carrying.

    5. But the statistic also holds true in Vermont, Arizona, and Alaska, where the complete lack of government regulation also works.

  6. Shorter New York Times: Math and rational risk assessment are hard!

    Either that or they are simply liars. Probably the latter.

  7. How many crimes are committed with unlicensed knives?

    1. Are you referring to the “Ginsu Control Act” of 1968?

      Nobody needs a knife that stays sharp after cutting a rubber hose and tin can.

      1. I often use the “Nobody needs” reasoning to argue for banning performance automobiles.

        1. “Slices bricks in half, and STILL razor-sharp for those tough bone-cutting sessions in your basement kill-floor!”

        2. Instead of that argument I usually respond with, “I don’t NEED any of it, I WANT it. I’m not a freakin’ subsistance farmer, or a hunter-gatherer, I’m an American. My needs are handled.”

  8. A licensed publication with articles that are criminal?

  9. If you don’t like guns, then don’t own one.

    1. if you don’t like guns, then don’t be killed by one.

      1. OK …. ?

      2. or cars. or cigarettes. or cheeseburgers. yeah.

  10. I have several handguns, but I don’t actually feel the need to lug one around with me all the time.

    Now that winter is here, the “winter project” 1911 (assembly required) might even make it to the top of my to-do list.

    1. We are here for your protection.

  11. roughly 60 who committed weapon-related assaults.

    I wonder how many of those cases hinged on a disputed interpretation of the rules regarding the level of perceived threat.

  12. “I would never accuse a journalist like Dean of being too lazy or incompetent to perform basic research, so he must just be a damned liar.”


  13. If I felt I needed to have one with me all the time?

    Despite Sig’s assholish refusal to warranty the cracked (not exactly “normal wear and tear”) slide on the Mosquito, I’d probably choose the P6.

    1. If I felt I needed to have one with me all the time?


    2. What are we if not your personal protection?

  14. I guess one meaningful study would be one that compared the rate of crimes committed with handguns outside the home between (a) concealed carry holders and (b) the demographically comparable group of non-concealed carry holders.

    Has anyone done such a study?

    Of course, the picture isn’t complete unless and until you get a handle on crimes stopped/prevented/deterred by the existence of an unknowable group of people who may be carrying. I have no idea how you would get a grip on that data.

    And, of course, its all irrelevant if you happen to believe that the right to self-defense (and thus the right to the means of self-defense) is a basic human right. And, if you don’t believe that, well, fuck off, slaver.

    1. See above. In Florida there has been exactly one gun related revocation for a CCW holder since September 1, 2011. And I’m pretty sure you get revoked upon arrest and reinstated after trial for any violent crime. I’m 100% sure it goes down like that for any domestic violence crime, including the misdemeanors. I doubt you can find 1:600k+ for any other segment of adults, but I could be wrong. It would be statistically impossible to have fewer. The difference between 1 and 0 at that point is waaay too far from a meaningful standard deviation.

  15. The guy in the photo certainly has no business with a CCL: his 40 caliber automatic handgun is cocked and his finger is inside the trigger guard before he has acquired his target.

    In fact, he hasn’t even fully removed from his purse. Metrosexuals like the model and his photographer probably shouldn’t get CCLs.

  16. Your numbers are wrong. The article says “60 weapon related assaults”. We don’t know what kind of weapons they were. Maybe none of them were guns.

  17. Would be interesting to see the percentage of law enforcement convicted of crimes??

  18. Does anybody know the felony conviction rate for NYPD officers? Even with the fact that cops cover up for cops and DAs won’t prosecute cops, I’ll bet it’s higher than .017%.

  19. A liberally spun article in a liberal newspaper…if you don’t like what we have in NC then by all means stay the hell up there!! We’ve got enough down here already!

  20. This is a study in newspaper propaganda. Propaganda in the U.S. must be subtle, circuitous and not distort facts too violently. Leaving out key facts, putting concessions near the end of the article and of course the art of innuendo are common methods.

    Put simply, this is high-class lying.

    Reading news with an eye for the propaganda is a skill too few of us acquire but the process is rewarding. Among other things it shows you what persuasions a newspaper is striving for in addition to pretending to inform and making its copy valuable as advertising space in order to keep revenue flowing.

  21. This is a great article. What would be a great follow-up would be how many times have permit holders used their firearms for self-defense and thus saved an innocent life. Then compare that with the so-called rogues that are a very small percent.

  22. It would be illuminating if someone would interview Michael Luo, the author of the NYT article, and ask him whether he prefers to be remembered as biased, or just stupid.

  23. “An armed society is a polite society.”
    Robert Heinlein

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