“10.6% higher handgun homocide rate”

in states with “shall issue” laws versus “may issue” laws

Busting the Good Guy with a Gun Myth RICAGV

Published October 19, 2017 by the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH). The following study represents the most recent and comprehensive study of murders committed by concealed-carry permit holders, mapping out the changes in state concealed-carry permitting laws over time and total firearm-related homicide rates between 1991 and 2015. 

Easiness of Legal Access to Concealed Firearm Permits and Homicide Rates in the United States

Objectives. To examine the relation of “shall-issue” laws, in which permits must be issued if requisite criteria are met; “may-issue” laws, which give law enforcement officials wide discretion over whether to issue concealed firearm carry permits or not; and homicide rates.

Methods. We compared homicide rates in shall-issue and may-issue states and total, firearm, nonfirearm, handgun, and long-gun homicide rates in all 50 states during the 25-year period of 1991 to 2015. We included year and state fixed effects and numerous state-level factors in the analysis.

Results. Shall-issue laws were significantly associated with 6.5% higher total homicide rates, 8.6% higher firearm homicide rates, and 10.6% higher handgun homicide rates, but were not significantly associated with long-gun or nonfirearm homicide.

Conclusions. Shall-issue laws are associated with significantly higher rates of total,firearm-related, and handgun-related homicide.
(Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print October 19, 2017: e1–e7. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2017.304057)

Authors used data from the following sources and examined the years from 1991 to 2015 for all 50 states:

  • Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention’s Web-Based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting Systems database
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Uniform Crime Reports Supplemental Homicide Reports (SHR)
"May Issue" CCP States

The following states have “May Issue” concealed carry permit laws, which allow law enforcement officials wide discretion over who may have a CCP:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Rhode Island
"Shall Issue" CCP States

The following states have “Shall Issue” concealed carry permit laws, where CCPs must be issued if certain requirements are met:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
Permitless Carry States

In the following states there is no permit necessary to carry a concealed handgun:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Vermont
  • Wyoming


October 19, 2017

Funded By

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, NJ
The nation’s largest philanthropy focused solely on health


Michael Siegel, MD, MPH
Principal Author
Professor of Community Health Sciences
Boston University School of Public Health

Ziming Xuan, ScD, SM, MA
Boston University
Associate Professor
Boston University School of Public Health

Craig S. Ross, PhD, MBA
Research Assistant Professor, Epidemiology
Boston University School of Public Health

Sandro Galea, MD, DrPH, MPH
Professor and Dean
Boston University School of Public Health

Bindu Kalesan, PhD, MPH, MSc
Assistant Professor
Boston University School of Public Health
Boston University School of Medicine

Eric Fleegler, MD, MPH
Associate Physician in Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital
Assitant Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

Kristin A. Goss, PhD, MPP
Kevin D. Gorter Associate Professor of Public Policy
Duke University
Associate Professor, Sanford School of Public Policy