michigan: gun deaths drop after more people have guns
- this is especially timely in light of dc's upcoming supreme court
case. so far dc's best argument is that the constitution doesnt limit
states...only the federal govt (which is really really stupid)...as
seen in this article people are afraid of law abiding gun bearing
citizens for no reason.
Michigan sees fewer gun deaths — with more permits
January 6, 2008
By DAWSON BELL
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
Six years after new rules made it much easier to get a license to
carry concealed weapons, the number of Michiganders legally packing
heat has increased more than six-fold.
But dire predictions about increased violence and bloodshed have
largely gone unfulfilled, according to law enforcement officials and,
to the extent they can be measured, crime statistics.
The incidence of violent crime in Michigan in the six years since the
law went into effect has been, on average, below the rate of the
previous six years. The overall incidence of death from firearms,
including suicide and accidents, also has declined.
More than 155,000 Michiganders -- about one in every 65 -- are now
authorized to carry loaded guns as they go about their everyday
affairs, according to Michigan State Police records.
About 25,000 people had CCW permits in Michigan before the law changed in 2001.
"I think the general consensus out there from law enforcement is that
things were not as bad as we expected," said Woodhaven Police Chief
Michael Martin, cochair of the legislative committee for the Michigan
Association of Chiefs of Police. "There are problems with gun
violence. But ... I think we can breathe a sigh of relief that what we
anticipated didn't happen."
John Lott, a visiting professor at the University of Maryland who has
done extensive research on the role of firearms in American society,
said the results in Michigan since the law changed don't surprise him.
Academic studies of concealed weapons laws that generally allow
citizens to obtain permits have shown different results, Lott said.
About two-thirds of the studies suggest the laws reduce crime; the
rest show no net effect, he said.
But no peer-reviewed study has ever shown that crime increases when
jurisdictions enact changes like those put in place by the Legislature
and then-Gov. John Engler in 2000, Lott said.
In Michigan and elsewhere (liberal permitting is the rule in about 40
states), those who seek CCW permits, get training and pay licensing
fees tend to be "the kind of people who don't break laws," Lott said.
Nationally, the rate of CCW permits being revoked is very low, he
said. State Police reports in Michigan indicate that 2,178 permits
have been revoked or suspended since 2001, slightly more than 1% of
Another State Police report found that 175 Michigan permit holders
were convicted of a crime, most of them nonviolent, requiring
revocation or suspension of their permits between July 1, 2005, and
June 30, 2006.
But even if more armed citizens have not wreaked havoc, some critics
of Michigan's law chafe at how it was passed: against stiff opposition
in a lame duck legislative session and attached to an appropriation
that nullified efforts at repeal by referendum.
Kenneth Levin, a West Bloomfield physician, was one of those critics.
In a letter to the Free Press in July 2001, he referred to the
"inevitable first victim of road or workplace rage as a result of this
Last month, Levin said he suspected "it probably hasn't turned out as
bad as I thought. I don't think I was wrong, but my worst fears
But the manner in which the law was enacted was nevertheless "sneaky"
and "undemocratic," Levin said.
Other opponents remain convinced that it has contributed to an ongoing
epidemic of firearms-related death and destruction.
Shikha Hamilton of Grosse Pointe, president of the Michigan chapter of
the anti-gun group Million Moms March, said she believes overall gun
violence (including suicide and accidental shootings) is up in
Michigan since 2001. Many incidents involving CCW permit holders have
not been widely reported, she said.
The most publicized recent case came early in 2007, when a 40-year-old
Macomb County woman fired from her vehicle toward the driver of a
truck she claimed had cut her off on I-94. Bernadette Headd was
convicted of assault and sentenced to two years in prison.
Hamilton said that even if gun violence has ebbed, it remains
pervasive, tragic and unnecessary. At the least, a more liberal
concealed weapons law means there are more guns in homes and cars and
on the street, she said, and more potential for disaster.
Advocates for the law argue that there is nothing equivocal about the
experience of the CCW permit holders who have warded off threats and,
in a few instances, saved themselves from harm.
In September, a 36-year-old Troy man killed an armed 18-year-old
assailant who, with three other suspects, attempted to steal his car
outside Detroit Police headquarters.
Michelle Reurink, 40, a consultant in Lansing, got her CCW permit last
year, not so much because she felt an imminent threat to her
well-being, she said, but because she's a strong believer in the
Constitution's Second Amendment -- the right to bear arms.
"The primary reason I got it is because I feel like I have the right
to have it," she said.
Still, she doesn't often carry her gun during her daily routine,
though she takes it when she and her husband go on their boat, she
Having the license and a handgun makes her feel more secure in her
home (where no one needs a CCW license to have a gun), she said. She
also feels more secure because of the required training, including
self-defense lessons, she took as part of the license application.
Mark Cortis of Royal Oak, who conducts concealed weapons license
training and sits on the Oakland County gun board, said he believes
the benefits of an armed citizenry are evident in small ways almost
every day, as permit holders deter trouble and live more confidently.
"The police just can't protect you," Cortis said. "If you have to call
911, it's probably already too late."