In a letter to the Deseret News on Sept. 18, Shane Christensen quotes extensively from a study out of the University of Chicago to support his claim that people carrying concealed weapons help to reduce crime. Mr. Christensen says that the Chicago study is important because it is "the first statistically sophisticated review of the nationwide data on the effects of . . . licensing adults to carry concealed weapons."
Well, it may be the first, but first doesn't make it correct. Mr. Christensen and the gun lobbyists are not so quick to cite the results of three subsequent studies by researchers at Carnegie Mellon, Georgetown and Johns Hopkins Universities that used the identical nationwide data, all three finding that the conclusions of the Chicago study were unsubstantiated. They concluded that the Chicago study was flawed by errors in the facts and the statistical methodology.Crime rates have recently declined in states with and without laws permitting the carrying of concealed weapons. The reduction is not correlated to the type of concealed weapons statute that is in effect. Rather, reductions are more closely connected to more effective law enforcement and limitations on criminals' easy access to guns through legislation such as the Brady law. Contrary to the assertions of the gun lobby, putting more guns in the hands of more people in more places does not make for a safer society. As the former Baltimore chief of police has said, "If guns were the answer to the threat of violent crime, we'd sell them at police headquarters."
Finally, Mr. Christensen claims that 99.6 percent of the nation's 35 million handgun owners will not use them to commit violent crime. Even if this claim were correct, it follows that 140,000 gun owners will use their guns to commit violent crimes. Is this an acceptable level of criminal use of firearms? Most Americans do not think not so.
Chairman, Utahns Against Gun Violence
Salt Lake City