Today, there are only 5 states that do not have a right-to-carry system.
States with right-to-carry laws have lower overall violent crime rates, compared to states without right-to-carry laws. In states whose laws respect the citizen's right-to-carry guns for self defense the total violent crime is 13% lower, homicide is 3% lower, robbery is 26% lower and aggravated assault is 7% lower. (Data: Crime in the United States 1996, FBI Uniform Crime Reports)
Right-to-carry license holders are more law-abiding than the general public. In Florida, for example, the firearm crime rate among license holders, annually averaging only several crimes per 100,000 licensees, is a fraction of the rate for the state as a whole. Since the carry law went into effect in 1987, less than 0.02% of Florida carry permits have been revoked because of gun crimes committed by license holders. (Florida Dept. of State) Research reports printed in "More Guns, Less Crime", John R. Lott, Jr., the John M. Olin Visiting Law and Economics Fellow at the University of Chicago, examined data ranging from gun ownership polls to FBI crime rate data for each of the nation's 3.045 counties over a 1977 too 1994 time span. Lott's research amounts to the largest data set that has ever been put together for any study of crime, let alone for the study of gun control. Among Prof. Lott's findings:
• While arrest and conviction rates being the most important factors influencing crime.... non discretionary concealed-handgun laws are also important, and they are the most cost-effective means of reducing crime.
• Non discretionary or "shall-issue" carry permit laws reduce violent crime for two reasons. They reduce the number of attempted crimes because criminals can't tell which potential victims are armed, being able to defend themselves. Secondly, victims who do have guns are in a much better position to defend themselves. Concealed carry laws deter crime because they increase the criminal's risk of doing business.
• States with the largest increases in gun ownership also have the largest decreases in violent crime. And, it is high crime, urban areas, and neighborhoods with large minority populations that experience the greatest reductions in violent crime when law-abiding citizens are allowed to carry concealed handguns.
• There is a strong relationship between the number of law-abiding citizens with permits and the crime rate--as more people obtain permits there is a greater decline in violent crime rates.
• For each additional year that a concealed handgun law is in effect the murder rate declines by 3%, rape by 2% and robberies by more than 2%.
• Murder rates decline when either more women or more men carry concealed handguns, but the effect is especially pronounced for women. An additional woman carrying a concealed handgun reduces the murder rate for women by about three to four times more than an additional man carrying a concealed handgun reduces the rate for men.
• The benefits of concealed handguns are not limited to those who carry them. Others get a free ride from the crime fighting efforts of their fellow citizens.
• The benefits of right-to-carry are not limited to people who share the characteristics of those who carry the guns. The most obvious example of this "halo" effect, is the drop in murders of children following the adoption of non discretionary laws. Arming older people not only may provide direct protection to these children, but also causes criminals to leave the area.
• The increased presence of concealed handguns "does not raise the number of accidental deaths or suicides from handguns."