Last summer Illinois, acting to bring the state in compliance with federal court rulings upholding the right to bear arms, became the last state in the union to allow lawful carry of guns. The law took effect in January, and since then some 50,000 people have applied for permits and, through early March, about 5,000 permits have been issued.
Now, according to our friends in the anti-gun movement, looser gun laws mean more violence and more shootings. But that hasn’t been the experience in Chicago so far. Despite dire warnings about a spike in violence and shootings in the wake of the state’s looser gun laws, murders and shootings are actually down for the first quarter of 2014
On Tuesday, the Chicago Police Department announced that the city experienced its lowest murder rate since 1958 in the first quarter of 2014. There were 6 fewer murders than the same timeframe in 2013 — a 9 percent drop — and 55 fewer murders than 2012, police said.
Further, there were reportedly 90 fewer shootings and 119 fewer shooting victims compared to last year. There have also been 222 fewer shootings and 292 fewer shooting victims compared to the first quarter in 2012.
These are very early numbers, and we certainly can’t say that expanded gun carry rights are contributing to lower crime, but certainly liberalized gun regulations haven’t been the catastrophe the anti-gun folks told us it would be.