Thursday, May 1, 2014

Alaska, Firearms & Crime

The homicide rate is down in Alaska, and even fewer involve guns. David Kopel shared this link to Clayton Cramer's post on crime trends and constitutional carry in Alaska. Clayton notes that since constitutional carry laws were enacted here,
"the gun murder rate in Alaska fell faster than the non-gun murder rate -- not at all what you would expect from a bunch of manly men (we know about you Last Frontier sorts) carrying guns with no restrictions!"
Or perhaps exactly what you'd expect.

You can read the original study produced by UAA here. An impressive takeaway from the report itself is that:
"In 2012, the Alaska homicide rate was less than half of the 1985 rate."
This is rate, remember, so relative to population. Basically, our growing population makes the rate look better, even if the pure quantity of assaults stays flat or increases slightly.

The Alaska Dispatch had an article on this study, though it doesn't mention the interesting shift in preferred weapons - even though the rate of homicide is down, when Alaskans decide to do the deed they now prefer to use knives rather than guns.

One can only speculate what's behind these overall numbers. I hesitate to put too much weight on a causal relationship with firearm ownership. The further we get from the pipeline boom days, the less rowdy our towns get. The aging population may play a factor - the Dispatch notes that the vast majority of these violent crimes are committed by males under 35 years of age. Perhaps having more females in the state is behind lower murder rates, if not sexual assaults. Perhaps greater information sharing via the Internet is helping man understand the futility and peril in violent crime. Endless speculation.

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