Uniform Crime Reports

In the specific case of Florida, the application of liberalized conceal-carry laws was demonstrable adn in keeping with the Lott and Mustard statistical conclusions. In the beginning, "As of 1988, when it liberalized its law, Florida had one of the country's highest murder rates" and a few years later with "150,000 permits" a mere "ten felony offenses have been committed[... ] with properly authorized guns, none involving homicide. " Additionally, the overall picture had brightened considerably with a murder rate that "has fallen in every single year since the law was changed, and now is below the national average," (Polsby 33).

The real-life evidence of Florida and other states suggests a complete vindication for the conceal-carry laws and the justification for adopting them. The evidence seems not oly conclusive but overwhelmingly conclusive with studies concluding that: "laws allowing citizens to carry concealed handguns dramatically lowers violent crime rates. Ignoring crime-fighting methods that potentially offer an 8. 5 percent drop in murder rates would be criminal. ," ("It Would Be Criminal" 18).

Those who continue to argue in favor of tightening gun-control laws rather than loosening them are faced with contradictory evidence from both statistical studies and real-life experience. Additionally, Florida experienced an economic boom by the adoption of carry-conceal laws. By altering the types of crimes that criminals perpetrate from violent to non-confrontational crimes in Florida, "the law is estimated to have reduced the annual cost of crime by more than $3 billion, " (Ayres, and Donohue).

The success of the conceal-carry laws has brightened the overall living conditions for the citizens of Florida and also provided a much-needed economic lift to law enforcement all across the state. In specific examples of cities in Florida, the impact of conceal-carry has produced a rebirth of civic pride and feelings of security and safety. "Violence and property crime in Venice dropped by 10. 7 percent last year, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement" and in this same period of time "Venice police officers cleared 31. 5 percent of their cases, the highest clearance rate in the county, and 8.

5 percent higher than the statewide average, according to the 2004 Uniform Crime Reports," which are concrete results that can be tied directly to the conceal-carry laws, ("Property Crime, Violence Drop" BV1). So, if the benefits of conceal-carry laws are extensive and quantifiable, what are the possible risks and costs? As critics of conceal-carry laws point out, the presence of so many armed people escalates the odds of domestic shootings and accidental shootings: "many killings develop out of a domestic brawl or an argument between neighbors and not a specific intention to kill.

Murder resulted simply because a gun was handy; without a gun the offender would have used a chair or a knife, and his victim in all probability would have lived," (Polsby 33). However, another, perhaps less obvious risk of conceal-carry laws is the impact that the law has when coupled with an aging population. In Florida, specifically, the population contains many citizens who are elderly and due to Alzheimer's or other age-related complications, the presence of guns may cause unforeseen consequences.

Statistics bear out this hypothesis: "We're seeing more violent crimes being committed by older people, which is sort of surprising," says Patricia Bloom, a psychologist with the University of Miami's Center on Aging and Disability. "We had an incident here in Florida not long ago, in which a 72- year-old man was shot and killed as he was breaking into the home of a 68-year-old man. Both of them had guns," Mrs. Bloom says.