Oklahoma became the 16th state on Friday to allow “Constitutional carry,” that is, carrying a firearm in public without a permit, and at least one news agency—KOKH in Oklahoma City—took time to explode some myths surrounding the new law.
The state Supreme Court refused to delay implementation of the new law, which had been challenged by anti-gunners on the grounds that the legislation violated a state constitutional “single subject” requirement.
According to the Tulsa World, opponents had argued, “Although peer-reviewed studies on the impact of permitless carry laws specifically are not yet available, reviews of raw CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) data have shown that states that have passed permitless carry laws have subsequently experienced a significant increase in firearm-related deaths…And numerous reputable studies have linked less-restrictive firearms laws to an increase in firearm-related crime and death.”
But is that accurate?
CFL checked the FBI Uniform Crime Reports and found that this isn’t always the case. In 2015 in Alaska, there were 57 slayings in which firearms were used in 39 cases. Last year, there were 47 murders, including 31 involving firearms.
In 2015, Arizona saw 278 slayings including 171 involving guns, and last year there were 339 killings with 203 involving firearms, FBI data reveals.
Kansas—home to “Wild West” towns including Dodge City, Wichita and Abilene—saw 125 murders in 2015, including 91 involving guns. Last year, Kansas reported 110 murders, of which 78 involved firearms.
So, the assertion that Constitutional Carry comes with a bloody premium doesn’t necessarily hold water.
According to the KOKH story, here are the myths and the facts:
Allegation: “Anyone can buy a gun now.” Fact: Not so; the law still requires background checks on firearms purchases, which would prevent criminals from legally purchasing guns at retail.
Allegation: “Anyone can carry guns now.” Fact: Not hardly. Restrictions remain on who can legally carry firearms, and that means convicted felons remain prohibited persons, along with illegal aliens, people who have been adjudicated mentally ill and those with misdemeanor domestic violence convictions.
Allegation: “People can have guns anywhere.” Fact: Wrong again. Private property owners, including private businesses, can nix guns in their establishments, and that includes restaurants.
Allegation: The new law will turn Oklahoma into the Wild West. Fact: While Oklahoma technically was part of the “Wild West,” this claim is bogus. As noted by KOKH, “The same claims were made when the state passed concealed carry and open carry laws.”
Meanwhile, 1,500 air miles to the north, Washington State’s Department of Licensing on Friday reported that October saw the number of active concealed pistol licenses climb to 638,639, an increase of 7,388 new CPLs since the last report Oct. 1. Last month at this time, the DOL reported 631,251 active CPLs. On Dec. 31, 2018 there were 608,460 active CPLs in the state. This translates to a spike of 30,179 new carry licenses issued during the past ten months, an average of more than 3,000 per month.
Since January 2013, the number of CPLs has risen by 245,855, which means roughly one in nine adults in the state of 7.5 million is licensed to carry. That may play importantly in the ongoing effort to repeal Initiative 1639, the gun control measure passed last year by 59 percent of the voters who returned ballots.
Gun rights activists this week launched their own initiative effort to repeal I-1639. Initiative 1094 is purely a grassroots effort, done with no organized funding. They need 300,000 signatures by the end of December to present the initiative to the Legislature in January.
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