Are Concealed Carry Laws Responsible for the Murder Reduction in Chicago?

It’s been a while since Chicago was regarded as the murder capital of the United States. The recent sharp decline in the murder rate in Windy City has raised a few questions.

According to the Chicago Police Department, the first quarter of 2014 registered the lowest number of homicides since 1958. In the first 3 months of the year, Chicago had 6 less murders than this time in 2013, and 55 fewer than this time in 2012. Overall crime plummeted 25 percent from 2013.

So what explains this stunning news? Gun advocates, such as U.S. Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX), quickly credited the broad use of legal guns for the positive results.

Gohmert told the Washington Times that every time concealed carry laws are implemented, the result is a sharp reduction in overall crime. Illinois passed a concealed carry law in July 2013.

The police, on the other hand, attribute the fall to other reasons. Law enforcement authorities from Chicago believe that better police training and the recovery of 1,300 illegal guns from criminals were key factors in the reduction of the city’s murder rate.

“This is now the sixth consecutive quarter that we’ve had significant reductions of murder and violence in the city,” Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy told ABC Chicago. “We’re pleased, but of course we have a lot of work to do.”

Previously, McCarthy and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel opposed concealed carry, saying that “tragedies” would be on the way.

While many will speculate on the key reasons why crime will rise and fall — some even alleging that a longer winter is the reason for the murder reduction in Chicago — a more careful analysis would suggest that there are several factors that contribute to a significant drop in crime rates. After 6 consecutive quarters of decline, a single law passed within that time cannot be solely responsible.

Photo Credit: Public Building Commission of Chicago