Monday, November 18, 2013

WI murders involving guns rise after first year of concealed carry

Murder rates increase in spite of promises of lower crime

The finer points:
  • One year after concealed carry passed, Wisconsin's murder rates increased by more than 26 percent (from 2011 to 2012)
  • Murder rates involving guns increased by more than 34 percent

Last week, I discussed at great lengths how murder and crime rates in general had gone up in Wisconsin, despite 2012 being the first full year of concealed carrying licenses being granted to citizens.

It was once posited by pro-carry Wisconsinites in the lead-up to the bill being signed into law in 2011 that concealed carry would make the state safer. Indeed, Gov. Scott Walker himself said that, “By signing concealed carry into law, we are making Wisconsin safer for all responsible, law abiding citizens.”

And while one year of evidence shouldn’t determine definitively whether the law succeeded in reaching those ends or not, the first year has nevertheless shown some worrisome trends.

From 2011 to 2012 many things changed for the worse. As I pointed on Thursday, the violent crime rate (per 100,000) in Wisconsin increased by more than 18 percent. Murder and aggravated assault rates also went up, by 26 percent and 29 percent, respectively.

The rise wasn’t just in the urban areas, either. When you subtract Milwaukee from the equation, the murder rate in Wisconsin increased from 2011 to 2012 by more than 60 percent.

The City of Madison’s murder rate actually went down from year-to-year, decreasing by 63 percent. This was in spite of warnings by gun activists that our “no guns allowed on premises” signs would lead to more robberies (which also saw its rate decrease by more than 12 percent in the city).

After I published my post, I got to thinking: what about guns specifically? That is, with crimes involving guns, specifically murders, did Wisconsin see any changes?

It should be noted that I had never set out to prove that Wisconsin was more violent under concealed carry -- my intention, rather, was to show that concealed carry had failed to make the state safer, at least in its first year.

Still, curiosity got the best of me, and I decided to look into these numbers as well. What I found was that the number of murders committed through the aid of guns increased at a rate that was even higher than the state’s “general-murder” totals.

That is, homicides through gun usage went up, and at a higher rate than I reported last week for homicides overall.

While the murder rate per 100,000 in Wisconsin went up by 26.8 percent, the murder rate for homicides involving guns went up by 34.7 percent.

To compare, murders that didn’t involve a gun at all only went up by about 15.7 percent per 100,000 citizens statewide.

That means that homicides involving a gun increased at a rate that was twice the rate that murders without a gun went up by.

To be fair, this is only one year of data, and the rate increases could be due to some unseen variable.

Still, it’s troubling to see murder rates increase when we were told the concealed carry law would make the state safer. The rate of murders through the usage of guns went up significantly higher than murder without guns, and no amount of spinning by gun advocates can change that fact.

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