Skip to comments.Florida firearm violence hits record low; concealed gun permits
Posted on 01/13/2013 12:53:19 PM PST by Red Steel
In the so-called Gunshine State, home to the most gun permits in the country, firearm violence has fallen to the lowest point on record.
As state and national legislators consider gun control laws in the wake of last month's Connecticut school shooting, Florida finds itself in a gun violence depression. The Firearm-involved violent crime rate has dropped 33 percent between 2007 and 2011, while the number of issued concealed weapons permits rose nearly 90 percent during that time, state records show.
"We're happy to have facts and statistics put into these debates, because every time they do, we win," said Sean Caranna, executive director of Florida Carry Inc., a pro-gun-rights advocacy group.
But other state and national data suggests a more nuanced picture of gun violence.
Florida statistics show murderers are increasingly using firearms. Between 2000 and 2005, Florida's firearm-involved murder rate never topped 3.5 per 100,000 residents. Every year since, it's exceeded that number. And in 2011, for the first time on record, guns were used in more than 70 percent of homicides.
Mirroring the 33 percent decline in gun violence since 2007, the violent crime rate also dropped 26 percent during that time, which could suggest other factors at play in causing fewer criminal acts.
"It's difficult to attach gun control to the reduction of crime, and vice versa," said Arthur Hayhoe, executive director of the Florida Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. "We don't know what works. We can't prove that gun control works because we don't have gun control laws."
Often an emotionally charged debate, more so in the wake of the Connecticut shooting that left 20 children and six adults dead, the issue of gun control will certainly become a political football this year. President Barack Obama and some Democrats have pledged action on gun control legislation, while some Florida Republicans have floated the idea of allowing educators to carry weapons.
"In our zealousness to protect people from harm we've created all these gun-free zones and what we've inadvertently done is we've made them a target," state Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, author of the state's "stand your ground" law, told the Associated Press last month.
Less certain is whether gun regulations actually curb crime, and whether Florida's decline in firearm violence says anything about the greater debate over gun laws.
Regarded as a somewhat lax state for gun control the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence ranks it as having the 25th most-strict laws in the nation Florida boasts the most concealed weapons licenses in the nation, according to a July 2012 federal report. Florida's firearm-involved murder rate ranked 13th highest in the nation.
Gary Kleck, a Florida State criminology professor who has studied the link between guns and crime, cautions against tying recent declines in firearm violence to more gun permits.
Kleck, who has long argued his research shows little evidence that more gun laws equal less crime, notes gun violence has fallen nationally for nearly 20 decades, not just in Florida. He also said concealed weapon permit data is an unreliable way to measure gun ownership in a state.
"The real problem there in drawing conclusions is you're just guessing why that decline or change in gun violence has occurred," Kleck said.
Kleck argues against sweeping restrictions on gun laws but offers a few legislative changes his research has proven effective in curbing gun crime background checks for private transfers of firearms, better cross-referencing of mental health records during background checks and local law enforcement better enforcing carry laws. (Politically, Kleck calls himself "as liberal as they get," adding he donated $1,000 to Obama's 2012 campaign.)
Hayhoe doesn't expect any strengthening of gun laws in Florida by the Republican-controlled Legislature, placing his hope on Obama and Democrats in Congress.
"The way to pass gun laws is on a national level," Hayhoe said. "Nothing is more difficult in Florida than getting a gun control law passed."
The odds are...if you pick one hundred residences to rob in Florida....at least eighty of them have guns. And if they shoot you...based on state law...there’s a small formal hearing at the judge’s chamber, and most of the time...your untimely death is remarkably noted as your own fault....no excuses...end of the story.
The public chose this manner of protection and elected both Republicans and Democrats into place who would approve of such situations. Cops are simply around to take reports and clean up the mess at the end for the most part.
My bro-in-law in Broward has a big safe and a lotta guns init. Love to go shooting with him. Great state for guns.
“Gun violence depression”
‘Cause poor widdle crooks just don’t like getting SHOT!
It’s so unfair. So wacist. So unfeeling, that people will defend hearth & family using deadly force.
How DARE we try to level the playing field with our common enemies?
Do not forget, in 04 Jeb Bush installed the castle doctrine. It drove the libtards wile. I remember it. Wackjobs went to the airport handing out little cards like “Welcome to the wild wild west” etc.... It was such a circus.
Kel-tec .380 is my amex card. Made in FL, guaranteed for life. Don’t even know it’s in your pocket.
sorry, it was 05 and libs went wild.
I hate laptops.
Most criminals aren’t very smart but they are smart enough to know that, if you have mischief on your mind, you may want to stay away from people who are or might be armed.
The biggest takeaway from this article is the admission from a gun control advocate that they don't know what relationship, if any, exists between the number of crimes and the number of gun owners. And yet, they make their living, socially and financially by claiming there is.
Maybe I should investigate that. S&W .38 gets heavy.
Also, IIRC, our three strikes law is still in effect, and if you commit a crime with a gun, whether you use it or not, you get to be some big buck's wife for twenty years.