This morning, NH Senate Judiciary Committee gets set to debate a proposed bill that would eliminate the need for permits for gun owners to carry their weapons concealed. Proponents of the bill - including Sen. Jed Bradley - argue that concealed weapons make law-abiding citizens safer. "If we allow what’s called constitutional carry, in other words without a permit, we’ll be an even safer state than we are today."
But the facts about the relationship between crime rates and gun laws are less clear. Economist John Lott's book, More Guns, Less Crime, is often cited by those advocating looser restrictions on gun carrying and ownership for the connection it draws between right-to-carry legislation and dropping U.S. crime rates. But Lott's work has been heavily criticized by other scholars, who point out lowered crime rates did not result immediately after right-to-carry laws were adopted, but a significant time afterward, casting doubt on a casual relationship between the two.
While I'm sure a majority of gun owners exercise all possibly safety precautions when carrying their weapons, I simply do not trust that all of them are doing so. Requiring a permit for concealed carrying is a sensible check that helps reinforce responsible gun ownership.