And Constitutional Carry will save Georgians the cost of obtaining a license, with permit fees and other costs usually totaling about $75. Costs matter; just compare the numbers in neighboring states, Illinois and Indiana. In Illinois, the total cost of getting a five-year permit is $450; there is no license fee in Indiana. While only 4% of Illinoisans have a concealed handgun permit, 22% of adults in Indiana already have one, the second-highest number of permits per capita.
More importantly, the people who benefit the most from carrying are the most likely victims of violent crime, overwhelmingly poor Blacks who live in high-crime urban areas. They are also the most sensitive to the fees required to get a permit. In Illinois, wealthy white males who live in the suburbs are overwhelmingly the ones who get permits. In Indiana, people living in urban, heavily minority zip codes get more permits.
Some opposition to Constitutional Carry is ironic. While some of the same people oppose even free voter IDs as imposing too much of a burden, they have no problem with people paying $75 to have the right to defend themselves and their families. They demand same-day registration for voting, saying people can’t plan ahead, but they have no problem making people wait weeks to get a carry permit.
Gun control advocates claimed there would be blood in the streets when the Georgia Attorney General clarified the interpretation of the state’s concealed carry law to make Georgia a “shall issue” state. That didn’t happen. The fact that several dozen peer-reviewed academic studies show there’s no evidence of any uptick in gun crimes linked to concealed carry laws, and most show violent crime declines. Research also shows that murder rates fall even more when states move to Constitutional Carry laws.
When PoliceOne asked its 450,000 law enforcement members about the effects of private gun ownership, 76% of officers answered that legally armed citizens are either very or extremely important in reducing crime.
Today, there are over 21.5 million concealed handgun permit holders nationwide. Permit holders nationwide are incredibly law-abiding. Police officers are extremely rarely convicted of firearms-related violations, but it still happens at a rate twelve times more often than for permit holders. In the 19 states with comprehensive permit revocation data, the average revocation rate is one-tenth of one percent. Usually, permit revocations occur because someone moved or died or forgot to bring their permit while carrying.
Gun control advocates keep trying to take advantage of people’s fears of the unknown and claim that bad things will happen when people are allowed to defend themselves and their families. But Georgians don’t have to guess what will happen with Constitutional Carry. Over twenty states are proof that Constitutional Carry is common sense.
John R. Lott Jr. is the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center.