Texas' Concealed Carry Law Works, Says NCPA Report

DALLAS (May 26, 2000) – Marking the fifth anniversary of Texas' concealed carry law, a new report from the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) shows that Texans with concealed carry permits are far less likely to commit a serious crime than the average citizen.

"Many predicted that minor incidents would escalate into bloody shootouts if Texas passed a concealed-carry law," said H. Sterling Burnett, a senior policy analyst at the NCPA and the author of the report. "That prediction was dead wrong."

In 1995, Texas Gov. George W. Bush signed a law granting Texans the right to carry concealed firearms. This made Texas the 23 state to pass a concealed carry law since 1986.

According to the report, the slightly more than 200,000 Texans who have become licensed to carry a concealed firearm are much more law-abiding than the average person. Comparing arrest rates for example:

  • Texans who exercise their right to carry firearms are 5.7 times less likely to be arrested for a violent offense.
  • They are 14 times less likely to be arrested for a non-violent offense.
  • They are 1.4 times less likely to be arrested for murder.

Moreover, of the six licensees who were arrested and tried for murder or non-negligent manslaughter, four were found not guilty because they had acted in self-defense.

The right to carry may also be affecting Texas' crime rate in a positive way. Texas had a serious crime rate in the early 1990s that was 38 percent higher than the national average.

  • Since then, serious crime in Texas has dropped 50 percent faster than for the nation as a whole.
  • Murder rates have dropped 52 percent, compared to 33 percent nationally.
  • Rapes have fallen by 22 percent compared to 16 percent nationally.

This experience is consistent with the experience of other states with concealed carry laws. According to University of Chicago law professor John Lott, concealed handgun laws on average reduce murder by 8.5 percent, rape by 5 percent and severe assault by 7 percent.

"Far from recreating the Wild West, concealed carry laws create a safer society," said Burnett. "The law allows law-abiding citizens to protect themselves."