The Journal of Criminology has published an interesting study concerning the long term effects found in states which issue concealed handgun licenses (CHL).
The found that the number of people who carry concealed has no great effect on crime rates. This seems to run counter to the most prevalent argument in favor of concealed carry laws, that more people carrying guns will prevent violent crime. But it also pretty much destroys the most common tactic used by those favoring increased gun control, that increasing the number of law abiding citizen carrying guns will lead to increased violence. Six of one ….
One thing I found very interesting is that the authors of the study concluded that the greatest predictor of people applying for a CHL was the number of gun stores in their area.
It seems that people most often go to gun stores to get the training required by law to apply for the license, and so access to training classes determines how many people can sign up for a class.
The authors caution all that this is but one study, and more research is needed before any rock-solid conclusions can be drawn. So take everything with a very healthy dose of salt.