As the right to carry expands in several states, researchers note acute safety risks with the expansion of legal firearm ownership

Concealed guns significantly impact homicide rates and public safety, according to a Rutgers study that found an increase in homicides based on the number of concealed carry weapons licenses issued.

In a new study published in the Journal of Urban Health, researchers examined the reciprocal county-level relationship between the number of concealed carry weapon licenses issued and gun homicides in 11 states between 2010 and 2019.

“This study takes a close look at the back-and-forth relationship between concealed carry licensing and homicides over a relatively long period of time,” said Daniel Semenza, director of interpersonal research of the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center and co-author of the study.

“We found no evidence that homicides are reduced where there are more concealed carry licenses,” said Semenza. “On the contrary, we found that more concealed carry permits issued in a given county are linked to a greater number of homicides in that county the following year.”

Semenza, an assistant professor in the Department of Urban-Global Public Health at the Rutgers School of Public Health and in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice at Rutgers University-Camden, studied 832 counties in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Utah from 2010 through 2019. Researchers analyzed the number of concealed carry licenses in each county alongside the number of firearm homicides per county year.

“We take this all of this to mean that people aren’t using concealed guns in public defensively to thwart potential homicides,” said Semenza. “Rather, having more guns in public through concealed carry appears to be more dangerous and leads to higher homicide numbers. Policy makers need to seriously consider the dangers of allowing more guns in more public places, understanding that an increasingly armed society does not necessarily make us any safer.”