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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

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Study: no correlation between CHLs, crime

Phillips+Study
Graphic by Claire Shepherd
Phillip’s Study

October has already seen three separate school shootings, the most deadly of which killed 10 people and injured seven. But while a national discussion on whether or not the government should closer regulate guns in America continues to trend, one study by the A&M School of Public Health finds concealed handgun licenses had no relationship with crime rates.
The study, published by Texas A&M researcher Charles Phillips in September, found no significant correlation between the number of concealed handgun licenses and crime rates.
“The basic question underlying the hypotheses investigated in this research is simple — Is CHL licensing related in any way to crime rates?” the study reports. “The results of this research indicate that no such relationships exist.”    
Phillips and his associates looked at over a decade of data on crime rates and concealed carry licenses in every county in Texas, Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania.
“More people acquired concealed carry permits in counties where more businesses or individuals sold firearms,” the study reports. “The number of CHLs issued was driven more by the number of individuals or businesses offering handguns for sale (the supply of handguns) than by changes in the real threat of victimization as measured by county crime rates.”
For some, the survey adds another layer to the debate on gun control in the United States.
Chris Kirk, Brazos County sheriff, said he wasn’t surprised by Phillips’ research. Kirk said in his experience in a state like Texas, people value the freedom of gun ownership.
“Personally I think people choose to arm themselves in Texas because they can,” Kirk said. “With the instantaneous reporting of news, we see a lot of bad things in our everyday lives on TV and across our electronic devices, and it’s only natural to personalize that.”
Andrea Brauer, executive director of the gun violence prevention organization Texas Gun Sense, said she’s glad research is being done on the subject of guns and crime. Brauer said she doesn’t take issue with the Second Amendment but is concerned about increased firearm access.
“The problem is not necessarily the law abiding [concealed handgun license] holder, but a problem of access,” Brauer said. “When you have more guns around, you have more theft [of guns]. They end up in the wrong hands.”
Kirk said this perception that there are bad things happening, true or not, makes people want to be able to defend themselves, and this choice is something society needs to value.
“It comes down to that a lot of people don’t want to be helpless,” Kirk said. “They want to be prepared to defend themselves or others, and that personal choice is something we need to protect.”
Brauer said the argument of the “good guy with a gun” saving the day just isn’t based in reality — because in reality, even a concealed handgun license holder, who happens to be at the right place at the right time, has a lot more to consider.
“Look at all these mass shootings we see throughout the United States,” Brauer said. “We don’t see a ‘good [guy]’ CHL holder swooping in and saving the day, it’s just not happening. Even in Oregon, there was [a] CHL holder there with a gun on campus, and he chose not to step up because he didn’t want to be shot by law enforcement.”
Larry Arnold, the legislative director for the Texas Concealed Handgun Association, said the argument isn’t about being a good guy with a gun, it’s about personal protection.
“When I carry a concealed handgun, it’s not to protect the State of Texas — I’m not a police officer, I don’t go around solving crimes or stopping crimes or arresting people — I carry the handgun to protect myself,” Arnold said “This is to protect me, to protect my family, not necessarily to protect the State of Texas.”

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