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Anti-self-defense extremists are often confronted with the question of why Ohio should resist concealed carry reform, since 45 other states have it in some form or another (including every state that borders Ohio). They are fond of responding that since Ohio's crime rate is already lower (than, say, Michigan), there is no need for these reforms. Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence founder Toby Hoover made this very argument on a live WBGU Bowling Green panel show a little over a week ago.

After reading the FBI's 2002 Uniform Crime Report, we know they're going to wish they'd used a different excuse.

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For something like 40 years, the state of Michigan has had a crime rate higher than that of Ohio, per capita. This fact in and of itself doesn't deter from arguments that Ohio needs a concealed carry law - just because our rate is lower, doesn't mean we should seek to lower it even more. But these extremists' arguments are flawed for still another reason: the crime rate disparity is no longer a reality, thanks to passage of a concealed carry reform law in Michigan in 2000.

In 1999, Michigan's violent crime rate was 4,324.8 per 100,000 people, compared to Ohio's 3,996.4. Legislators and citizens were fed up. Amidst howls from gun control extremists, failed court challenges, and veto-threats, Michigan's state legislature passed a "shall-issue" concealed carry reform bill into law. The state began issuing licenses in the year 2000.

In the first year of widespread licensing, Michigan's rate dropped to 4,109.9, vs. Ohio's increase to 4,041.8 per 100,000 people.

In 2001, Michigan's crime rate dropped below Ohio's for the first time since modern crime trends have been recorded - down to 4,081.5 per 100,000 people, compared to yet another increase in Ohio - up to 4,177.6.

With the success of Michigan's concealed carry law apparent even to some former opponents, the state legislature passed a number of liberalizations to that state's CCW law - making it easier to obtain a license, and to carry a firearm for self-defense in more places. The changes went into effect last July.

The FBI has just released it's 2002 Uniform Crime Report, which reveals stunning facts about the success of Michigan's concealed carry law: amidst a slight upward trend in crime nationwide, Michigan's crime rate has dropped yet again: down to 3874.1, a 10.5% reduction in just three years. In that same time, Ohio's crime rate has increased 5%.

As if this isn't enough, the devil can most certainly be found in the details:

Ohio's violent crime rate is increasing at an even faster pace than the overall crime trend - up 4.24% in 2002. Michigan's violent crime rate, on the other hand, dropped another 2.63%. Ohio's murder rate was up a whopping 21.24% last year, while Michigan's experienced a less than one percent change. Ohio's rape rate (already one of the highest in the nation) rose another 13.31% last year, while Michigan's dropped 1.34%. Robberies in Ohio surged 6.5% in 2002, while they dropped a whopping 8.49% across the northern border. Car thefts, which include carjackings, increased 2.83% in Ohio last year, while falling 7.42% in Michigan.

We've been saying it for years now, and it's never been more provably true: Every day that Ohio's Republican leadership waits to fix Am. Sub HB12 and send it to Gov. Taft increases the defenseless victim list in our state, and forces otherwise law-abiding citizens into making a choice between facing felony arrest or being unable to defend themselves. This simply should not be.

Related Stories:
New Report Shows Ohio Violent Crimes Could Have Been Prevented

TEN DAYS AGO: Listen to Toby Hoover claim Ohioans are better off than Michiganders

Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Cleveland sees rise in violent crimes

and

Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus & Toledo: violent crime up

Dayton Daily News:
Dayton endures more rapes & homicides

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