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Fact Check: Is the Murder Rate Really 28% Lower in Right-to-Carry States?

Former San Bernadino County Republican Chair Bill Postmus has come out with a new claim on Twitter, that “In right-to-carry states the violent crime rate is 24% lower than the rest of the US and the murder rate is 28% lower”:

Bill Postmus claims: In right-to-carry states the violent crime rate is 24% lower than the rest of the US and the murder rate is 28% lower.  Is this true?

Is this true? Finding out is a simple matter. First, consult the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action web page, which features a map describing “Right-to-Carry” laws for firearms by state:

NRA's right-to-carry map for the 50 states of the USA

According to this map, the only states that are not “right-to-carry” are California, Hawaii, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.

Then head to 2012 uniform crime statistics for the 50 states. This is the latest available data, released just this month.

To obtain the violent crime rate per 100,000 population for the 42 “Right-to-Carry” states, take the number of violent crimes reported in all of those states (874,310), divide by the population of those states (230,915,032), and multiply by 100,000. The result is a violent crime rate of 378.63 per 100,000 population.

Following the same method for the 8 other states (332,290 reported violent crimes and 82,366,685 population), the violent crime rate is 403.43 per 100,000 population. The violent crime rate is 6.1% lower in “right-to-carry” states, not 24% lower.

Repeat the process for the murder rate per 100,000: in the 42 “Right-to-Carry” states (11,173 murders and 230,915,032 population), the murder rate is 4.84 per 100,000 population. In the 8 other states (3,566 murders and 82,366,685 population), the murder rate is 4.33 per 100,000 population. The murder rate is 11.8% higher in “right-to-carry” states, not 28% lower.

In short, Bill Postmus’s statistics don’t match observable reality.

3 comments to Fact Check: Is the Murder Rate Really 28% Lower in Right-to-Carry States?

  • Tom

    Not only do they lie, they can’t do math either!

  • Charles Manning

    Jim, the statement “The murder rate is 11.8% higher in ‘right-to-carry’ states, not 28% lower,” was rendered in the version coming up when you first click on this site, “The violent crime rate is 11.8% higher in ‘right-to-carry’ states, not 28% lower.” I think the former is the correct statement — right?

  • Jim Cook

    Charles,

    Hi, and thanks for writing and pointing out the typo. I’d noticed it too and fixed it a little while ago; if you refresh your browser the correct text should appear.

    We don’t always agree, but I love your detail-oriented approach!

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