Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Arizona Liberal Gun Laws and Rising Murder Rate

Arizona's gun laws, among the most lenient in the country, allowed Jared Loughner to conceal and carry his firearm without a permit and show up at an event and attempt to kill a U.S. congresswoman while killing six other innocent people.

Washington Post reporter James Grimaldi, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter, told Terry Gross of NPR's Fresh Air, "Essentially, there is very little obstacle to purchasing a weapon in the state of Arizona." Grimaldi went on to say, "There are laws that require you, federally, to be at least 21 years old to purchase a handgun. But basically state law permits anyone 21 and older to own a firearm and also, to carry it concealed in the state. That's different than many other states, many of which have stricter gun laws."

So have Arizona's liberal gun laws had an impact on crime.  You bet, but not what you might think. 

In Arizona, violent crime modestly decreased below the national average in 2010.  Nationwide violent crime fell 6.5 percent in Arizona violent crime fell by only 3.1 percent.  However, the FBI's annual Uniform Crime Report shows that murders  increased in Arizona by 16 percent from 2009 to 2010. This increase contrasts with the a 4.8 percent nationwide decrease during the same period.

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