FACT CHECK: No, Shootings Don’t Increase When More People Carry Firearms

A couple of months ago, The Atlantic published an article written by staff writer David A. Graham that explores the surge of violence the United States experienced in 2020.

Overall the article, which analyzes findings from the FBI’s “Uniform Crime Report,” is quite good. It effectively breaks down what we know and—more importantly—what we don’t know about the latest crime trends in America, which in 2020 saw a record surge in the murder rate amid a broader rise of violence.

On one particular point, however, Graham is simply wrong.

That creates a vicious cycle: More people carrying guns tends to result in more shootings, which in turn heightens the desire to carry a weapon for protection,” Graham writes. “When crime is decreasing, this dynamic helps it continue to fall, but once it begins to rise, the feedback loop turns ugly.

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