Gun Crime Drops After Ohio Enacts Constitutional Carry
When Ohio passed its constitutional carry law, anti-gun activists and some politicians predicted that the state would turn into the “Wild West” characterized by a surge in gun-related crimes. However, recent findings have painted a different picture altogether. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost commissioned a study, and its results have taken many by surprise.
The research was carried out by the Center for Justice Research at Bowling Green University. It examined crime data spanning from June 2021 to June 2023, encompassing the period both before and after the constitutional carry law went into effect. The primary focus was on crimes involving firearms, verified gunshot-detection alerts, and incidents where law enforcement officers were struck by gunfire.
The results of the study revealed a significant decline in gun-related crimes in various Ohio cities. Akron, Columbus, and Toledo, in particular, experienced noteworthy decreases. Moreover, when considering all eight major Ohio cities together, a clear trend of reduced gun-related crimes emerged. Among these cities, Parma recorded the most substantial decrease, with gun-related crimes dropping by an impressive 22%. Akron and Toledo followed with 18% reductions, while Dayton and Cincinnati saw slight upticks of 6% and 5%, respectively.
The study also examined data from gunshot-detection technology. It showed a substantial decline of 23.2% in verified crime incidents in Toledo and 20.6% in Columbus. Unfortunately, data for the remaining six cities were unavailable for this specific study.
To measure the impact of constitutional carry on law enforcement, the researchers also looked at cases involving firearm-related injuries and deaths of officers in the eight cities. The study identified three such instances before the constitutional carry law took effect and four afterward. The conclusion was that there was no substantial change in these incidents.
While the research generally aligns with homicide rates in Ohio cities, Cincinnati stands out as an exception. Despite an increase of 5% in “gun crime” during the study period, the city experienced a nearly 20% reduction in homicides in 2023. This anomaly aside, the overall findings suggest that constitutional carry had a minimal effect on “crime rates involving firearms, the number of shots detected, and law enforcement officer injuries and deaths.”
In short, the evidence indicates that lawful gun owners are not responsible for the rise in violent crime. Criminologists frequently concur that a small group of individuals, well-known to law enforcement, are the primary perpetrators and victims of violent crimes.
Ohio’s experience demonstrates that it is possible to protect Second Amendment rights while also reducing violent crime. While those who predicted disaster may not admit their error, the data speaks for itself, and it should prompt a reevaluation of their arguments. Ohio’s constitutional carry law has not turned the state into the lawless frontier some feared, but rather it has proven that responsible gun ownership can coexist with public safety.