Do States with Concealed Weapons Have Reduced Crime?
The impact that shall-issue concealed weapons licenses has on reducing crime has been hotly debated for decades. Many people have asked, Do states with concealed weapons reduce crime? Despite dozens of studies, the answer to whether or not concealed weapons reduce crime or not is murky. While some studies suggest a mild reduction in crime, others imply there is no effect at all.
No matter the impact of these statutes, it is important to remember that violating them can have serious consequences. Minnesota prosecutors often aggressively pursue violations of state concealed carry laws. If you have been charged with unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon, the attorneys of Gerald Miller can help.
Crime Statistics in Concealed Carry States
There were dozens of studies over the last 20 years into the effectiveness of concealed carry laws on the crime rate. In breaking down the results of these studies, the RAND Corporation found the evidence to be inconclusive.
The RAND Corporation points to two major studies from the past 20 years: one by the National Research Council and another by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In the end, the national Research Council found the following to be true:
The evidence to date does not adequately indicate either the sign or the magnitude of a causal link between the passage of right-to-carry laws and crime rates. Furthermore, this uncertainty is not likely to be resolved with the existing data and methods. If further headway is to be made, in the committee’s judgment, new analytical approaches and data are needed.
In other words, the data does not clearly link concealed carry statutes to the crime rate at all, much less show that they reduce violent crime. If you’re wondering do states with concealed weapons reduce crime, there isn’t a definitive answer, unfortunately.
Minnesota Concealed Carry Laws
Minnesota law allows for the concealed carrying of a pistol under certain circumstances. Like many states, Minnesota’s concealed carry license policy is “shall issue.” This means that state or local authorities do not have the leeway to reject a license application from a person that meets all of the requirements.
In Minnesota, the license needed to carry a concealed pistol is known as a Minnesota Permit to Carry a Pistol, or PCP. Minnesota also honors similar permits from other states.
To qualify, you must be at least 21 years of age or older. Additionally, you must complete a firearms course prior to applying for a PCP. There are permit options for Minnesota residents as well as non-residents. Additionally, you must not be prohibited from owning a firearm by law. This includes convicted felons or those found guilty of domestic violence crimes.
A concealed carry permit is only necessary for individuals to conceal a pistol on their person in certain places. A permit is not required to transport a weapon from one place to another or to keep it at your place of business or your home.
Violent Crime Rates in Minnesota
Regardless of gun laws, the rate of violent crime in Minneapolis and through Minnesota has increased in recent years. According to the 2020 Uniform Crime Report, violent crime increased in the state by almost 17 percent in 2020.
Like with most laws involving firearms, the failure to adhere to Minnesota concealed carry laws can come with steep consequences. It is unlawful to carry a concealed handgun without a license in Minnesota. Additionally, carrying a concealed weapon is unlawful if you are intoxicated—even if you have a PCP. For a first-time offender, an arrest for unlawfully carrying a handgun is a misdemeanor. However, if you have been convicted of this offense before you can expect to be charged with a felony.
A conviction for unlawfully carrying a handgun can result in more than just time in jail or a steep fine. Having a criminal record at all could cause issues with maintaining your employment or finding a place to live. In some cases, a conviction could even cost you the right to own a firearm at all.
Other Firearm Charges
Criminal charges related to firearms come in different forms. While many arrests involve individuals possessing firearms unlawfully, these instances are only one example of gun crimes in Minnesota. These offenses generally fall into one of two categories: offenses designed to regulate weapons and the use of firearms in other crimes.
The attorneys of Gerald Miller could help you protect your gun rights and personal freedom in either situation. Our firm understands the stakes that come with gun charges. In addition to the possible loss of freedom that is attached to any criminal charge, you also face the potential loss of your constitutional rights. Let our firm help you fight back against any type of gun offense you face.
Offenses Related to Firearm Regulation
Many of the gun-related offenses in Minnesota involve violation of firearm regulations. Both state and federal law carefully restrict who can own weapons, where they can be carried, and who can sell them. Some of these offenses include:
- Felon in possession. It is a violation of both state and federal law for a felon to possess a firearm. This is one of the most commonly-charged gun crimes in Minnesota. Possession of a firearm by someone convicted of a felony is unlawful under any circumstance.
- Silencer laws. It is not inherently illegal to sell firearms in the state, but the sale of some of their accessories can be. This is especially true when it comes to selling devices like silencers intending to muffle the sound of a gunshot. This felony charge is in place given the high likelihood that silencer use is intended to aid in criminal activity.
- Carrying without a permit. Permits are necessary to carry firearms in many cases. Any person carrying without a permit could face arrest.
- Possession of illegal weapons. There are some weapons that are banned by the state or federal government. Others are heavily regulated to the point that they are virtually outlawed. A common example is fully automated weapons.
- Possession of a firearm in prohibited places. Weapons that are legal in some places may not be carried anywhere. It is illegal to take weapons into a number of locations like schools, courthouses, or bars.
Using Firearms in a Crime
Not all gun crimes are related to the unlawful ownership, sale, or use of these weapons. In many cases, a gun charge will stem from the use of a firearm as part of a larger criminal act. In some cases, the use of a firearm simply enhances the penalties associated with a crime. In others, it is the act involving the firearm that is the crime itself. Some of these offenses include:
- Brandishing a firearm. It is against the law to draw a weapon and point it at another person if that weapon is capable of injuring or killing another person. This is true whether the gun is loaded or unloaded.
- Discharge offenses. In certain cases, it is illegal to fire a gun even if it was not pointed at another person. It is against the law to recklessly discharge a weapon in the presence of other people.
- Assault with a dangerous weapon. Assault with a dangerous weapon is one of the most serious gun offenses written into Minnesota law. This offense involves using a weapon to injure or threaten to injure another person.
- Reckless handling. There are regulations and safety precautions that must be taken by individuals handling otherwise-legal firearms. Failing to adhere to these requirements could lead to a misdemeanor arrest if the person handling the weapon put others in danger.
Discuss a Firearm Charge with Gerald Miller
According to the research, there is no clear evidence that concealed weapons laws have any impact on the crime rate. While advocates believe that these laws deter and prevent crime, that position has not be born out by the data evaluated so far.
If you have been charged with a gun offense in Minnesota, understand that a conviction could dramatically impact your legal rights. Do not delay in discussing your case with a skilled attorney, as the consequences of a conviction might last forever.
The attorneys of Gerald Miller are experienced with defending weapons offenses. If you have been accused of carrying a handgun unlawfully in Minnesota, our team is ready to discuss your options. To learn more, schedule your free consultation with Gerald Miller as soon as possible.
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