Friday, July 1, 2016

Brad Schimel says WI is safer with 5 years of concealed carry, but forgets murder rate is up 72%

The idea that more guns make us safer is flawed -- and Wisconsin is a case study in it

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel seems to think Wisconsin is safer today than it was five years ago. He doesn’t base this assumption on stats or figures. He bases it on the fact that, five years ago this week, Wisconsin passed a concealed carry bill into law that was meant to allow citizens the right to carry guns in public places.

The justifications back then for passing the bill were simple: if the criminals in our state didn’t know whether you had a gun or not, they’d be more hesitant to approach you with a weapon themselves.

“Criminals in Wisconsin are going to have to start asking themselves if their potential crimes are worth the risk encountering someone ready to fully defend themselves,” Rep. Jeff Mursau (R-Crivitz) said in 2011.

Gov. Scott Walker similarly promised that our state would be safer with concealed carry when he signed the bill passed by the legislature. “By signing concealed carry into law today we are making Wisconsin safer for all responsible, law abiding citizens,” he said then.

And the way Brad Schimel gushes about the law today, you’d think that Wisconsin vigilantism is a successful part of our law enforcement system. “Hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites hold a concealed carry license, making our state a safer place to live, work, and raise a family,” he said recently.

So obviously our state is much safer today than it was back then. Right?

Nope. We’ve actually gone the wrong way -- murder and violent crime rates have gone up since 2011, not down. Wisconsin has become less safe since that time.

Based off of 2015 crime and population growth estimates, Wisconsin’s violent crime rate has gone up by more than 22 percent since concealed carry was passed and implemented (all crime stats are derived from the FBI and state DOJ sites). Wisconsin has seen a 71 percent rate increase in murders since then as well.

And it’s not just in Milwaukee, as some are too quick to suggest. The argument that all the crime in Wisconsin can be attributed to our largest urban center is an appealing one to make for Republicans. But while a lot of crime does occur there, the rise in crime is pretty consistent across the state: outside of Milwaukee, our state’s murder rate is up 62 percent since 2011 when compared to the most recent estimates from 2015.

These rates don’t by any means indicate that concealed carry is responsible for the rise in crime. But they do bring to light one core problem with Schimel’s recent statements: concealed carry cannot be depended on as a way to deter criminals, and we cannot assume that we are safer for having it in place than we were before. While the idea of criminal deterrence may seem appealing to argue, it’s clear that the evidence suggests otherwise.

More guns don’t make us safer. And there’s ample evidence available to suggest more guns makes people less rationale, too. The Mutual Assured Destruction theory of self-defense that too many Republican state lawmakers are endorsing is a dangerous path to take us on -- and one that undoubtedly won’t result in a safer Wisconsin.


  1. The Milwaukee disaster, in top ten in country fro crime wort run is the reason. Drug war go unchecked felons with guns go unprosecuted.

  2. This blog is a perfect example of cherry-picking data to push an ideological agenda. The author fails to note that 2011 was the year of the lowest Wisconsin homicide rate since 1970. The point about crime being statewide is also disingenuous. Milwaukee and it's surrounding areas accounts for nearly all the increase in homicides. This has been widely reported in the Journal Sentinel. As for concealed carry, correlation is not causation. In other states, concealed carry has been correlated with decreases in homicide rates, proving the author's thesis false.

    1. I can't use 2011 as a starter year because it was the lowest rate of homicide since 1970? Why not? There was a declining trend up to that year, and it's at that point that the trend starts moving upward. But fine. Let's look at 2009, when crime rates were a tad higher. Even by that standard, violent crime in the state went up by 16 percent from then to 2015. The murder rate in 2015 is similarly 68 percent higher than it was in 2009. As for Milwaukee being a driver in crime, it's true that most crime occurs in that metro area, and it's true that a surge is occurring there also. But it's happening in non-metro areas also. The violent crime rate in non-metro communities went up by 11 percent from 2011 to 2015, and the murder rate jumped by 28 percent. You can't say with a straight face that was Milwaukee's fault. Lastly, I don't claim that concealed carry is correlating with this rise in crime. But to suppose that concealed carry is making us SAFER is an untrue assertion to make. Schimel and others are making that claim, but it's patently false.