Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Gun homicides down after - not due to - 1996 Texas law

Bidding to become Texas’ lieutenant governor, Jerry Patterson discusses his track record on gun rights in a campaign video released Nov. 19, 2013.

Running for lieutenant governor, Jerry Patterson claims in an online campaign video that not only did predictions of "blood in the streets" fail to come true, but firearms homicides fell 40 percent after a 1996 law allowed eligible Texans to get licenses to carry concealed handguns.

In news stories from the 1995 regular legislative session, Austin Democratic Rep. Sherri Greenberg predicted gunplay in hospital emergency rooms and Dallas lawmakers said frustrated drivers would shoot each other in traffic.

Patterson cited national data, saying that many states passed such laws in that era. But the reports he mentioned also counted the drop since 1993, not 1996.

Nevertheless, we found data from the federal Centers for Disease Control showing the rate of firearms homicides in Texas 1996-2010 fell 32.2 percent. FBI data for 1996-2012 showed  the rate fell 42 percent.

Patterson said he does not claim that concealed-handgun laws reduce crime -- rather, he said, he is stating such statutes don’t increase crime, "in spite of the protestations to the contrary."

The U.S. and Texas declines in gun homicides are part of a dramatic drop in violent crime since the 1990s. Read our full fact-check for details on that and more on Patterson’s claim.