Gun Crime Declined After Constitutional Carry Adoption, Ohio Study Finds

"[T]he key takeaway here is that we need to focus on criminals, not responsible gun owners.”

posted on February 1, 2024
1Aconstitutional Carry Trend
Image courtesy of Bowling Green State University.

A study commissioned by the Attorney General’s Office of Ohio—published by the Center for Justice Research—identified a significant decline in Ohio’s gun-crime after June 13, 2022, when Constitutional Carry became law. Currently, 27 states recognize constitutional carry, in one form another, and the report’s verifiable statistics may attract others into joining that roll.

Gun crime dropped in six of Ohio’s eight largest cities after Constitutional Carry was enacted, according to the report. A trio of municipalities experienced the largest declines—Parma (22 percent), Akron (18 percent) and Toledo (18 percent). The study, which encompassed the two-year period between June 2021 and June 2023, included all firearm-related crimes and any gunshot-detection alerts that were later verified by law enforcement.

“I genuinely did not know what the study would find. I thought it would be useful either way,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said after releasing the report. He emphasized it doesn’t downplay the serious problem of violent crime, “But the key takeaway here is that we need to focus on criminals, not responsible gun owners.”

The study, which applied in-depth statistical analysis to figures from a variety of sources, concludes, “When comparing the average number of crime incidents involving firearms in each city and then compared pre- and post-PCL [Constitutional Carry], the results showed that four cities significantly differed before and after the enactment of the law. These were Columbus, Toledo, Akron, and Parma. We did not observe significant variations for any other city or when the cities’ values were combined and means tested.”

Melissa Burek, Director of the Center for Justice Research (CJR) and Julia Bell, CJR research coordination, were lead authors on the report, which was released Jan. 3. The pair hold PhD and Masters Degrees in Criminal Justice, respectively. Eric Cooke, also PhD, was contributing author.

“This study helps us understand the complex picture of crime rates and policy implementation,” Burek told 19 News, a Cleveland CBS TV affiliate. “It’s valuable data for informing future decisions.”


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