This summer, Ohio joined the list of 24 other states that do not require any special permit to carry a concealed weapon.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Relaxed concealed carry laws are linked to an estimated 9.5% increase in assaults involving firearms, according to published studies last week.

This relationship is most apparent in places where people convicted of violent crimes are allowed to carry concealed firearms. In these states, the number of assaults with weapons increased by about 24%.

“What we saw was that the violent misdemeanor permit ban actually made a big difference,” said Mitchell Doucette, assistant research fellow at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Gun Violence Solutions and lead author of the study.

In addition, Doucette said the study shows that states’ elimination of the requirement that applicants receive training in combat weapons, such as shooting a shotgun, is associated with an 18% increase in assaults involving firearms.

Concealed carry programs vary by state, depending on whether officials have the power to deny a permit even to those who meet all legal requirements, sometimes for reasons such as “character suitability” or a history of dangerous behavior. Opinion-allowing states are known as “may issue” as opposed to “should issue”.

The research analyzes 34 states that relaxed their concealed-carry programs between 1980 and 2019 and compares them to projected crime rates based on data from states likely to cause problems. The study was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

According to the study, there is a simple correlation between exposure to firearms outside the home and the likelihood of violent gun crime. As cultural norms and laws surrounding guns change, hostile altercations are more likely to involve guns, the authors write. This suggests that violent felons, who can legally carry concealed weapons in some states, commit gun crimes at seven times the rate of gun buyers with no criminal record.

Given the time period studied, the study does not take into account several GOP states that have repealed requirements for concealed-carry licenses, or a key U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a New York program that could have issued one.

this summer, Ohio joined the list of 24 other states which do not require a special permit to carry a concealed weapon. The law was adopted exclusively with the support of Republicans. Now, any person of legal age who has the right to own a gun can carry it concealed.

Recent studies have focused on states that weaken concealed carry programs, but not those that eliminate a license as a requirement for concealed carry. Still, Doucette said the study suggests Ohio could face more gun crime in the future if it loses the ability to weed out people with violent assault convictions from carrying concealed weapons.

“I really think the loss of that viewing ability is important,” he said. “I think that makes sense.”

Ohio’s concealed carry program still exists, but it is no longer required to carry in the state. Gun owners who apply must complete eight hours of training and pass a criminal record check to obtain a permit. While state law allows individuals convicted of violent felonies to own guns, it does not allow them for a concealed carry permit.

In June, the US Supreme Court issued a a landmark opinion with major implications for state concealed carry laws. The 6-3 majority overturned a New York law that required those seeking to carry a concealed weapon to demonstrate that there was a “good reason” for carrying a gun for self-defense beyond the general public. This has forced some states to review their programs. Meanwhile, the Ohio Supreme Court took note of the federal ruling and asked the parties to present their arguments in a case challenging a state law that bars people charged with violent crimes from owning guns.

Doucet said the study shows that if states want to reduce gun crime, they need to make sure that concealed carry laws prevent people who have committed violent crimes from carrying guns.

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