Legislators in half a dozen states are considering measures to roll back requirements that gun owners obtain permits and training before carrying concealed weapons as Republicans race to show support for gun rights ahead of elections this year, the Hill reports. As the bills progress through state House and Senate chambers, they are running into increasingly vocal opposition from an unexpected source: Law enforcement organizations who say allowing more people to carry weapons would add to an already-troubling spike in gun crimes. In the nearly two decades since Alaska became the first state to allow concealed weapons without a permit, 20 others have joined in to scrap their rules. This year, legislators in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Indiana and Nebraska are considering their own versions.
Opponents of the laws say they would put more weapons on the streets at a time when gun crimes are on the rise, underscoring law enforcement’s opposition to the bills. Gun safety groups point to studies published in academic journals and by the National Bureau of Economic Research that show states that weaken firearm permitting systems subsequently experience an increase in homicide and violent crime rates. Gun rights supporters point to their own studies to make the case that guns are most frequently used in self-defense outside the home. Amy Hunter of the National Rifle Association cited a study showing three-quarters of defensive gun uses occurred outside of a gun owner’s house.