By Rob Roper
According to analysis of the latest FBI statistics, Vermont reported the 3rd lowest murder rate in the nation (1.8 per 100,000 residents). This was 3.1 points below the national average of 4.9 homicides per 100,000 residents (source: VBM, 10/23/19). Interestingly, the two states that beat us, New Hampshire (1.2) and Maine (1.7), recently joined Vermont by adopting “constitutional carry” laws for firearms in 2017 and 2015 respectively. Are you paying attention, Chicago?
Nationally, the overall homicide rate dropped from 5.3 per 100,000 in 2017, which itself was down from 5.4 in 2016. Thirty-eight states experienced a decrease. In New England, again where Maine and New Hampshire recognized carrying a firearm as an unrestricted right, the homicide rate dropped by a whopping 17.7 percent.
Of course, this is not the picture painted by the media or the activists. And, our own Attorney General, T.J. Donovan, would have us move in the other direction on gun control, recently calling for required background checks to purchase ammunition, and formally urging the State Supreme Courtto uphold Vermont’s constitutionally questionable ban on certain magazines.
One murder is too many, but it’s pretty clear that the way to reduce homicides is not to take away or restrict citizens’ constitutional right to bear arms. In fact, the evidence points to just the opposite.