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COMPARISONS BETWEEN CIVILIAN AND POLICE USE OF FIREARMS (Source: Civil Rights Attorney Don Kates, St. Louis University School of Law, in \Restricting Handguns: The Liberal Skeptics Speak Out,\ \Firearms and Violence\, and "Gun Control and the Subway Class." The first two are books; the last is an article in the January 10, 1985 Wall Street Journal.) Percentage of privately owned handguns used in crime: .004% Number of times a year private handguns successfully used in defense: 645,000 Percentage of times armed police have succeeded in wounding or driving off criminals: 68% Percentage of times armed private citizens have succeeded in wounding or driving off criminals: 83% Percentage persons shot by armed police who are innocent of a crime: 11% Percentage of persons shot by armed private citizens who are innocent of a crime: 2% Now, let's look a Florida's crime rate. We already know that Florida concealed-carry-weapons licensees aren't a problem. But is there any other change in the Florida crime statistics since they instituted their new carry law? Not a dramatic or conclusive one, but the crime trend in Florida is reversing. Note the following: CRIME IN THE UNITED STATES, the FBI's Uniform Crime Report. MURDER AND NON-NEGLIGENT MANSLAUGHTER Florida ____________________________________________________________ Year Total % Change Rate/100,000 % Change ____ _____ ________ ____________ ________ 1990 1,379 -1.9 10.7 -3.6 1989 1,405 11.1 1989 1,405 - .8 11.1 -2.6 1988 1,416 11.4 1988 1,416 +3.3 11.4 ---- 1987 1,371 11.4 1987 1,371 ---- 11.4 -2.6 1986 1,371 11.7 1986 1,371 +5.8 11.7 +2.6 1985 1,296 11.4 ********************************************************** Which shows that homicide, the most serious of the offenses, has been in a downward trend in Florida during the period when the number of private persons legally carrying firearms is increasing. HCI responded by charging that the homicide figures weren't telling, because rape and assault were still rising. Well, they aren't anymore. The trend has started to reverse. VERBATIM STATISTICS ON VIOLENT CRIME IN FLORIDA, 1991: MURDER DOWN 8% w/Handguns DOWN 3.9% w/firearms DOWN 15.4% w/knives DOWN 5.2% w/hands/fists/feet DOWN 14.1% Other DOWN 17.9% ROBBERY DOWN 1.7% w/Handgun UP 0.6% w/firearms DOWN 10.3 w/knives DOWN 6.6% w/hands/fists/feet DOWN 0.6% Other DOWN 4.6% AGGRAVATED ASSAULT DOWN 1.7% w/handgun DOWN 5.9% w/firearms DOWN 9.4% w/knives DOWN 3.4% w/hands/fists/feet UP 5.5% Other UP 1.3% BURGLARY DOWN 3.8% w/forced entry DOWN 2.0% no forced entry DOWN 9.5% Attempted entry DOWN 5.3% PURSE SNATCHING DOWN 7.3% Now lets look at some NON-VIOLENT CRIMES from the same 1991 Annual Report: LARCENY UP 3.1% Pocket Picking UP 1.0% Shoplifting UP 4.8% Theft from Coin Machines UP 11.4% Motor Vehicle Theft UP 1.5% DRUGS: Sale Overall UP 11.0% Cocaine sale UP 11.3 Marijuana sale UP 34.3 FRAUD UP 0.7% Credit Card/ATM UP 16.2% Impersonation UP 9.0% Welfare UP 45.5% Wire (telephone fraud) UP 87.5% Crooks in Florida do seem to be avoiding occasions where they might run into an armed citizen. I would say that while it is not conclusive, there is as much statistical weight at this point to the proposition that increasing the number of firearms being carried by the civilian population inhibits violent crime, as there is to the statistical linkage between cigarette smoking and heart disease or emphysema. It is indisputable that the Florida concealed-carry firearms law has not turned Florida into the Gunshine State, as HCI and CBS News predicted in 1986. It is indisputable that making ccw-licenses available to anyone who wants one and can pass an ordinary background check showing no criminal or psychological disqualification does not endanger the public. And it is getting statistically strong that increasing the ability of the civilian population to carry firearms reverses rising crime trends as well. What can we conclude from all this? 1) Restricting firearms does not reduce the homicide rate. Look at Scotland and Washington D.C. 2) Proliferating firearms does not increase the homicide rate. Look at Switzerland, Israel, New Hampshire, and Vermont, and the concealed- carry-weapons licensees in Florida. 3) Civilians carrying firearms are more safe and effective at deterring crime than are professional police. My bottom line is my tagline: Gun Control=Victim Disarmament & Increases Violent Crime! ************************************************************************** J. Neil Schulman is a novelist, screewriter and journalist living in California.


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