A buddy of mine sent me this:

Maine tops ‘safest states’ rankings four years after removing major gun restriction

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.

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By J. Kb

8 thoughts on “It’s time everyone admits it’s not gun laws but gun culture that determines crime rates”
  1. My theory is overall population size is important as well as population density. The more people the more chances for any given event to happen. The tighter packed those people and the chances increase exponentially.

    It is also without doubt, a different way of life living in one region over another, something that is hard to truly appreciate unless you’ve seen it first hand. I’ve never been to Chicago so I cannot speak to the differences there and can only imagine them. Even from such a close neighbor as CT, ME seems quite different.

  2. You can see the difference in people as you move from rural to suburban to urban.

    As the population density goes up, the ROI on crime goes up. If you are a criminal trying to make a dishonest living in a Rural community, the odds of finding something of value that you can take vs the cost to locate and acquire that item is pretty low. Wow, you just found a $250,000 combine. Now how do you steal it, and sell it and get a return on your investment.

    When you are in an urban environment, the number of targets is high, the risk is lower, the odds of finding something of value is even higher, and the ability to make a profit is pretty high.

    My brother in law is a criminal. He suffered a traumatic brain injury as a new driver when he was in a car accident. He started by self medicating with alcohol and moved up from there. If his lips are moving, he’s lying.

    Trying to explain to my lady how things have value that she doesn’t was impossible. He would tell her he was hungry. She’d buy a pizza for him. He’d sell it by the piece for $2.50 a slice. She’d be out $15 bucks, he’d have $20 which he used to buy drugs. She sent him cans of tuna, he’d sell them. Mouth wash from his mother, tooth paste, phones, underwear, mattress, if he had it, he would sell it.

    Urban environments allow that sort of thing to happen. That mother, trying to feed her kids is more than willing to pay $0.50 for an unopened can of tuna that goes for $1.50 at the local store. Even if the guy selling it is sketchy as hell.

    At the same time there is some research that says that humans don’t have the same social interactions when living in close proximity.

  3. It’s not just gun culture, it is overall culture.

    When the gun grabbers cite gun ownership versus crime from other countries, they fail to look at the overall culture. Sure, Japan has very low gun ownership, and very low murder rates, but news flash, Japan is a homogeneous country where weapon ownership by the common man has been significantly restricted for hundreds/thousands of years. Employment rates, divorce rates, immigration rates, homelessness, etc… all play into their crime rates.

    Similar for Chitown versus pretty much the whole of Maine. How much of the State is multi-lingual? What is the single parent rate? What is the employment picture like?

    And, yes, gun culture makes a big difference in crime stats. The average gang banger has no real training or experience in firearm use. They saw it on TV/movies, and it is easy to shoot another person when you are not fully aware of the impacts of doing so. As an illustrative example, it is likely more difficult for a criminal to decide to stab someone because they know how much a cut can hurt. But shooting… well they have likely never been shot, so they lack that basis for comparison.

    1. CBMTTek said…”As an illustrative example, it is likely more difficult for a criminal to decide to stab someone because they know how much a cut can hurt. But shooting… well they have likely never been shot, so they lack that basis for comparison.”

      Having been a street medic in Da City, my opinion is that, it is likely that the shooter has, himself, been shot. Being a sociopath, the pain, etcetera, that he occasions by shooting another person is either not a problem for him, or is a feature of the interaction that he values. As in Pryor’s formulation: “…They do it to see “THAT LOOK” on your face!”

  4. I’ve been shooting uspsa, idpa, 3gun now for ten years. I go to matches where most ppl have firearms on them, most cold, but they are carrying dozens/hundreds of rounds. At large matches, hundreds of people attend. Nothing untoward ever happens. Violence is a motivational/cultural issue.

    1. Maine has 2 districts the southern one is filled with liberals from away. District 2 is the rest of the state and it is solid red with measles of blue liberals scattered around. District 2 is rural with small towns. We have a group Gun Owners of Maine 30000 plus members. Maine for some reason has become a mecca for these fruit loop “organic farmers” better known as old hippies. I call it a target rich environment. The town I live in has a bunch so I make sure to blister my M16 when ever I can. BUT we also have tons of hunters and shooters. Rural Maine is full of hunters and shooters. The liberals have for ever tried to turn us into Chicago gun free zone. We keep winning. Many have moved to more freedom friendly states. Im workin on that. Meanwhile we keep burnin ammo and celebrating Freedom.
      One thing Constitutional carry did was kill my NRA Instructing classes- “whal I dont need to take that pesky class no more. Dont. NEED a permit”. And many have 0 clue about laws…

      1. You can see a similar parallel in Vermont, constitutional carry for decades, Annual homicides equivalent to a busy week in Chicago.
        Urban areas have gangs, drugs and gang related homicides. You can easily see it in the maps on heyjackass.com where adjacent areas have no shooting or shooting every day. E
        Democrat controlled cities vary widely based on demographics. Portland Oregon has a relatively low homicide rate compared to LA or Chicago because it has a miniscule black population and low gang activity. Also Oregon is shall issue, with no feature based restrictions so even in Portland lots of people have guns. Oddly Oregonians prefer their murders artisanal and handcrafted since more than 50% are non-firearm.

  5. Chicago had 7 dead and 28 more shot this past weekend. It will have a similar toll next weekend. And the next. 80% of those killed are African Americans, and no, they are NOT being killed by whitey driving up from Mount Greenwood into Englewood. Population density does matter, but so does population make up. Peruse the FBI Uniform Crime Statistics for further proof.

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