A buddy of mine sent me this:
When Maine passed a “Constitutional Carry” law allowing Maine residents to carry a concealed firearm without any special permit in 2015, opponents of the law forecast a dangerous future for the state. They said the new law would hurt public safety and put Maine kids at risk.
One state representative who opposed the bill went so far as to say it would give Mainers a reason to be afraid every time they went out in public or to work.
That’s the script. The only thing that changes is the name of the location where the law is being proposed.
Another state representative suggested the law would lead to violent criminals with recent arrests and convictions legally carrying handguns.
Putting the rights of Mainers ahead of the objections of opponents, Governor Paul LePage signed the bill sponsored by Senator Eric Brakey of Auburn after it won bipartisan approval in the Maine House and Senate.
Now four years later, Maine has been named the safest state in the nation according to US News and World Report’s public safety rankings, which measures the fifty states based on crime data.
Did anybody who actually follows the data of Constitutional Carry expect crime to go up?
But before we celebrate and say “more guns, less crime” we need to establish some facts.
Maine has a population of 1.3 million and is the 9th least populated state. the largest city is Portland with a population of 67,000, and the Portland MSA (metropolitan statistical area) accounts for about half of Maine’s population.
In 2018 Maine recorded only 18 homicides, and half of those were due to domestic violence.
Deaths from ancient beings taking the form of evil clowns, self-driving cars, or inter-dimensional creatures who enter through secret military experiments are not included in those numbers.
Maine is, and has been since 1992, a blue state.
Now compare that with Chicago. Chicago is also Blue. It has a population more than double that of Maine, at 2.7 million, and had 561 homicides in 2018.
Illinois has very strict gun laws and Chicago and Cook County, even more so.
So it would be easy to say “stricter gun laws make cities more dangerous,” but that is also not exactly accurate.
What we have here is a bucolic rural culture with a strong history of hunting and outdoor pursuits versus an urban culture with a gun culture deeply rooted in criminality.
The gun laws of each area reflect the culture of each area.
In Maine, Constitutional Carry could pass because most people there, if not themselves, have a family member who goes off into the woods regularly to shoot and hunt. Low crime, large areas of low population density, and casual comfort with guns makes Constitutional Carry acceptable.
In Illinois, which is largely driven by Chicago politics, most people are only familiar with guns as tools for criminals, the weekend murder tally is Monday morning’s headlines, and high population density makes people scared of guns and want to restrict them as much as possible.
More guns, less crime. Stronger laws, fewer gun deaths. The issue is the culture.
Stricter gun laws won’t make anybody safer if the culture is inclined towards violence and loser gun laws won’t make a place more violent if the culture is not included towards violence to begin with.
Before we go about passing more gun laws, what we need to do is look at the root cause of the violence and address that.