Crime drops as more Americans carry guns

Editor's Note: The following op-ed was published by the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Republished by permission of the author. A rebuttal written by Mrs. Toby Hoover, entitled "Promoting weapons everywhere fosters culture of fear", was also published.

At this point in the debate over the role of guns in America, only the mainstream media and zealots cling to the false hope of gun control. Few, if any other issues in today’s political spectrum are as one sided, yet gun control leaders have managed to stay relevant despite mountains of irrefutable evidence proving that their social experiment has failed miserably.

Statistically, it is easy to show that despite more Americans carrying guns than ever before, all meaningful measurements of crime have shown a dramatic drop. The Ohio Office of Criminal Justice and United States Justice Department statistics also show a marked decrease in firearm related violent crime.

As an example, according to the study Gun Violence in Ohio released in March 2013, from 1992 through 2011, the total number of robberies, aggravated assaults and homicides committed with a gun decreased 44.5 percent.

Specifically in Ohio, the same study found that the gun crime rate in 2001 was 2 per 1,000 residents, and by 2011 it dropped to 1.5 per 1,000. The drastic drop in gun related crime when more citizens are carrying a gun than ever before completely eviscerates the entire premise of gun control.

The drop is so dynamic it is nearly unbelievable. Yet, the statistics referenced were created by the State of Ohio, not the Buckeye Firearms Association.

It is possible to use statistics to prove any argument, and the gun control lobby is truly gifted at conjuring so-called data to prove the viability of strict firearm laws. Next time they trot out one of their statistics, please note whether it came from an unbiased source like the FBI, or a notorious anti-gun think tank like the Violence Policy Center.

Despite the overwhelming statistical evidence to justify concealed carry, this isn’t a sterile academic process. Instead, it’s about people like Kelly Smith who was robbed and forced to use his legally carried gun in self-defense.

According to the story published at and in the Columbus Dispatch, Mr. Smith did everything the so-called experts recommend by turning over his money and valuables. That wasn’t enough for the robber who attempted to shoot Mr. Smith and his 2-month old daughter.

If the gun control lobby had their way, Mr. Smith and his baby would have been left at the mercy of a common thug devoid of common decency. Luckily, Kelly Smith took advantage of Ohio’s concealed carry law, and that was the only reason he survived and saved his 2-month old child.

At its most basic level, however, the benefit of concealed carry isn’t encapsulated by government-funded studies, but is tangible because of people like Kelly Smith. Media reports also show there are at least 60 Ohioans who used their concealed carry gun legally in self-defense. This occurred while violent firearm related crime plummeted, and without a return to the “Wild West” predicted by gun control advocates.

That leaves one definitive conclusion – leaving law abiding Ohioans unarmed in the face of such overwhelming evidence isn’t just bad policy, it’s morally reprehensible.

Guest columnist Gerard Valentino is a former military officer and military intelligence analyst. He is a co-founder of Buckeye Firearms Association,, and teaches Ohio’s concealed-carry course for ACA Personal Defense.

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