Permitless Carry Homicide Increase Claim Refuted by Cited Study

Ohio-Gun-Control-iStock-884221290 Allexxandar
Making false claims about the right to bear arms in order to influence political decisions is an attack on all Ohioans. (Ohio-Gun-Control-iStock-884221290 Allexxandar)

U.S.A. – -( “A Republican permitless carry gun law will bring Ohio more death,” writer Craig Calcaterra asserts in a Tuesday Columbus Alive article. “Researchers have found that states with permitless carry laws have experienced an 11 percent increase in handgun homicide rates after enactment.”

The topic could not be timelier. At this writing, the legislature has passed Senate Bill 215 up to Governor Mike DeWine and it is awaiting his signature, his veto, or his silence, in which case it becomes law after 10 days without his participation.

DeWine has been a mixed bag for gun owners. At one time was called “a principled statesman” by the Brady Campaign, until he decided NRA’s endorsement worked better for his political ambitions. But recently he’s been making noises about distancing himself from that and going back to supporting gun laws like the so-called STRONG Act.

As expected, he’s being hammered by both sides, with the major, well-funded gun-grab groups and influential lobbyists like the Fraternal Order of Police getting the lion’s share of sympathetic headlines. Prominent among those is the aforementioned Columbus Alive article, especially influential because the outlet is part of the powerful Gannett Publications empire with its far-reaching USA Today network, and because Columbus is Ohio’s state capital, and politicians take note of what’s being said about them in the media.

An 11 percent increase in handgun homicides attributable to permitless carry is significant enough to make anyone sit up and take notice. If the figures bear out, gun owners can expect a governor (who at times appears to be working up the guts to chicken out) to set his speechwriters to work on excuses. And making that claim, right under the headline, is certainly an attention grabber.

“[P]ublic health researchers have found that states with permitless carry laws have experienced an 11 percent increase in handgun homicide rates after their enactment,” the article elaborates, providing a link to an August 2017 American Journal of Public Health abstract titled “Easiness of Legal Access to Concealed Firearm Permits and Homicide Rates in the United States.”

The curious thing is, I couldn’t find their subhead-“worthy” assertion substantiated. Perhaps readers here can check my work by following my methodology and see if they get different results.

First, I read the abstract. Nothing.

Then I decided to do a word search, starting with (since it’s the percentage quoted) the number “11.” That returned 18 results, for dates, footnotes, and stuff, with the only one coming close to relevancy being a claim that “firearm homicide rates … were 11.7% higher in ‘shall issue’ states.”

That’s very different from permitless carry. It also recalls a noteworthy deceptiveness of relying exclusively on rates over numbers:

“For example, in 1880 Dodge City, one person out of 996 was killed. However, 100 years later in Miami, 515 people out of 1.5 million were killed. Although more people were murdered in Miami, statistically speaking the city has a lower homicide rate — just 32.7, compared to the 100.4 of Dodge City in the 1880s.”

Relying on that abstract observation also neglects a significant and fundamental admission that it makes:

“At least 10 national studies have examined the relationship between shall-issue concealed-carry laws and firearm-related or total homicide rates at the state level. In 2 studies, shall-issue laws were found to decrease homicide rates. In 2 studies, these laws were found to increase homicide rates. Six studies reported no clear impact of shall-issue laws on homicide rates.”

That’s hardly “settled science,” and note it (unsurprisingly) makes no mention of the other side of the coin, lives saved by armed citizens.

Since “11” didn’t work to substantiate Columbus Alive’s claims, the next logical search to perform would be for the word “permitless.” Here we hit paydirt:

“We examined the potential impact of shall-issue laws, comparing them to may-issue laws. In other words, using the may-issue states as the reference group, we estimated the impact of shall-issue laws on homicide rates. Because only 4 states had permitless-carry laws in place during the study period, there were not enough observations to allow any meaningful analyses of these laws. Therefore, we deleted state–year observations in which a permitless-carry law was in effect … The number of states that had permitless-carry laws in effect at all during the study period was small … as was the number of observations  … limiting our ability to analyze the impact of these laws … Finally, we were unable to analyze the impact of permitless-carry laws because of the small number of observations. Only 4 states had permitless-carry laws in place during the study period. However, in the past 2 years, an additional 5 states have enacted such laws. Elucidating the impact of permitless-carry laws will require follow-up for the 9 states that now have such laws in effect.”

So what does that make of the claim that “Researchers have found that states with permitless carry laws have experienced an 11 percent increase in handgun homicide rates after enactment”? Their website does not provide for reader comments to correct the record and get the real information out, so wanting to give the benefit of the doubt, I approached both Columbus Alive and writer Craig Calcaterra on Twitter (politely, even):

“Please explain why the study you link to on that claim says: ‘Finally, we were unable to analyze the impact of permitless-carry laws because of the small number of observations.’”

That was three days ago. I have not received a response nor seen a correction published. You know they’re aware of it, the writer and the editor. And that seems at odds with another feature at their website, a pledge to readers, really, “USA TODAY Network’s Principles of Ethical Conduct for Newsrooms”:

“WE ARE COMMITTED TO … Seeking and reporting the truth in a truthful way … Serving the public interest … Exercising fair play … Maintaining independence … Acting with integrity…”

I’d escalate that to management, but last time (2013) I brought ethics concerns to their attention, after their The Journal News holding published gun permit holders’ names and addresses, and their Des Moines Register holding published a call for gun owners to be killed, they just ignored me. Seeing the way they use interns to censor that which they disagree with, and that my reaching out this time has been ignored, I’m not seeing much point in trying again.

If they were truly interested in living up to the ethical standards they claim, they’d realize a small correction, now that people have read their article and moved on, would be way too little way too late. Nothing less than another headline article, retracting and apologizing for their unsubstantiated claim, one explaining in detail what they got wrong, how it happened, and what steps they’ll take to ensure it never happens again, will suffice— and that’s provided it’s published before Gov. DeWine makes up his mind.

If they don’t have time to write one, I’ll let them post this one gratis as long as they credit AmmoLand.

Holding breath in 3…2…1…

About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

David Codrea


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Elections have consequences you can vote for someone who is wolf in sheep’s clothing. The perfect example is Mitt Romney who might just be a democrat hiding in the republican party. In 2013 how did the Journal News obtain the records of licensed gun owners and then print them then make a terrorist threat against residents . Sounds like they a bigger problem if there were no arrest made.Democrats quote polls & research that have no validation it is what they do “Lie” and now admit to it proudly. The midterms voters will need to pay attention in 2022 as… Read more »

Last edited 2 years ago by john
Green Mtn. Boy

Blood will run in the streets, only it hasn’t since 1791 and before in Vermont.


What the opponents of Constitutional Carry never mention is Ohio has OPEN CARRY for almost 150 yrs so how is this any different? No “rivers of blood” that I’ve seen in my 56 years of being a Ohio resident….


Our (so called ) Gov’t has Been ATTACKING Our ” bill of rights” For Many Years!- and it Started Long Ago( act of 1871) If everyone would Research this = You all Would have THE TRUTH About this SO-CALLED GOV’T! Because after President GRANT Took A LOAN To BAILOUT “OUR COUNTRY” – The Loan HOLDERS were ‘THE MOST – EVIL THINGS ON THE PLANET” !!! At that moment- These People within ‘Our Gov’t” became PUPPETS to The LOAN OFFICERS”!!!!! ( part of the hitler regime) ( satanic cults= bankers)-(the german regime DID NOT lose that War) they have INFILTRATED ”… Read more »

Wild Bill

Yes, and why do we send so many slick sociopaths to out various governments that are good liars and so willing to disrupt our lives?

Wild Bill

Damn spell check. It should be our, rather than “out”. Sorry for any confusion.

Wild Bill

And it is quicker than the eye can follow, too!


Even if there was an 11% increase in ‘handgun homicides’, it does not clarify if those actions were committed by people who legally purchased their firearms and went through a background check prior to carrying. This one piece of information is always left out of every news report involving a shooting, whether the act was committed by a person who had legally purchased the firearm (and was permitted), or a person who was not.


It also does not clarify what caused the alleged 11% increase. e.g., riots, murders & assassinations caused by pandering to woke racism, “Black Lives Matter” & “AntiFa”, emptying prisons, unemployment caused by covid hysteria, etc. The increase (if any) might’ve been worse without legal civilian carry.

Last edited 2 years ago by Russn8r

could be people defending themselves against car jacking


Also from the report:

 In addition, we did not have information on the number of concealed-carry permits issued in each state or the number of homicides committed by concealed-carry permittees.”

“Finally, we were unable to analyze the impact of permitless-carry laws because of the small number of observations. “

Bill N

Back a few years ago we in West Virginia got constitutional carry. The leftists cried, “there will be blood running down the streets in Martinsburg, here in the eastern panhandle cried the local “newspaper”. Well, it’s been over 3 years since the passage of that bill. I have yet to see any red in the streets. Either the city sanitation dept. is doing a great job at night to remove that: “red” or there just ain’t none. Just sayin’.Oh and by the way that local paper is very left leaning.

Wild Bill

The leftists have said that in every state. And as you correctly point out, they were wrong.


Question, are they lumping in LEGAL SELF DEFENSE uses, as “Homicides”? Because Self Defense should NO be counted that way!! And, if more VICTIMS can defend themselves and do, then of COURSE that number may rise.. and justifiably so! Until the crooks wise up, and knock it off! that is!


Good point. Then again, I doubt this was included:


I read last night that Georgia passed concealed carry without a permit Georgia House Republicans on Friday passed a bill that would allow Georgians to carry a concealed handgun without a permit. The 94-57 vote along party lines follows approval from Georgia’s GOP-controlled state Senate last month, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. More debate is expected to reconcile the two versions of the bill. Gov. Brian Kemp (R) on Friday signaled that he supports the move. “It’s great to see so much support for the 2nd Amendment,” Kemp wrote on Twitter. “I am committed to working with both the Georgia House and Senate to get Constitutional Carry across the finish… Read more »


I take no exception with the point of the article. I did find the quote from the “rates over numbers” (“howstuffworks”) article a bit of a head-scratcher. So for anyone else who’s curious: the “32.7” appears to be an error / typo in the source article; and, the math is 515/1,500,000 x 100,000 = 34.3, and 1/996 x 100,000 = 100.4. Thus, the 34.3 and 100.4 are the “murder rates per 100,000 residents of Miami and Dodge City, respectively.” Yet, because Dodge City did not have even 1,000 residents to extrapolate to 100,000 is nonsensical; which is Codrea’s point and… Read more »


they are not journalists, they are talking heads that just regurgitate the propaganda of authoritarians. if they were journalists they would check the data themselves and offer comments that would provide both sides of the story. television is worse than print media, and why i don’t watch news anymore. you really have to use critical thinking skills when reading these stories. when i read biased stories i do respond to the outlet and let them know about their erroneous facts. but it seems like they don’t care and i can cross another worthless media outlet to read or watch. you… Read more »

Wild Bill

Yes, mere agitprops for the DNC!


There is no way Dewine will sign this because he’s still hurt over his red flag laws not seeing the time of day. Once this bill becomes law without his signature, it should be the nail in his political career. Also with this law, you’ll see crime start going down, not up.

Arizona Don

No restrictive gun law has ever curtailed any criminal from using a gun to commit a crime. Furthermore criminals always carry concealed and always will because in many, if not most, cases they are already illegal just having a gun. Constitutional carry not only levels the playing field with the criminal it makes the criminals job more deadly because that criminal does no longer know if a law abiding citizen is armed or not. Consequently not everyone needs to carry a gun to be much safer.   Many years ago Arizona was rapidly becoming the kidnap carjack capital of America. Something had to be done. Consequently… Read more »


20 yrs after FL became the ‘model’ shall-issue state, murder & violent crime fell but it still had one of the worst rates. Why? Due to NRA-Hammer’s patchwork-quilt of ‘gun free’ zones in schools & places serving liquor. Planning hassle & risk of busting the zones deterred getting permits, and carry by those who got them. Result: Parkland, Pulse.

NRA made VA shall-issue worse in some ways than the may-issue it replaced. A pro-gun VA economist friend got a permit but rarely carries for that reason. Result: V-Tech.

Same in TX. Result: 22 dead in El Paso, church killings etc

Last edited 2 years ago by Russn8r
J Gibbons

May-issue and Shall-issue have no bearing on gun-free (free-violence) zones. So the whole point of the post is meaningless other than to complain about the NRA, which just about everyone other than WLP agrees needs to be restructured.


You don’t know what you’re on about. These are specific laws covering not just permitting, but where you can carry. “May” vs “Shall” isn’t the only diff, although NRA marketed it that way. VA’s May-Issue didn’t have all the ‘gun free’ zones NRA jammed into Shall-Issue.

There’s no single “whole point”. It deals with the danger of patchwork-quilt “gun free” zones, which you deflected for the purpose of gratuitous attack.

Last edited 2 years ago by Russn8r