Center For Human Liberty, Dr. William English File Brief Showing Right-To-Carry Laws Do Not Increase Crime in Supreme Court’s Latest Second Amendment Case

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 20, 2021) — The Center for Human Liberty and Dr. William English have submitted an amicus curiae brief to the United States Supreme Court in NYSRPA v. Bruen, the most important Second Amendment case in over a decade. The Supreme Court granted certiorari earlier this year in a challenge to New York’s “may-issue” carry license scheme and will address whether Second Amendment rights extend outside of the home. The brief can be found at FPCLegal.org.

The brief, submitted by Edward Paltzik of Joshpe Mooney Paltzik LLP and Philip Williamson of Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP on behalf of co-amici Dr. William English and the Center, cites statistical studies showing that lawful carriage of firearms for self-defense and defensive gun use are common. The brief also surveys empirical studies concluding that right-to-carry laws do not result in statistically significant increases in violent crime rates while also identifying serious methodological problems with an outlier study by Stanford Professor John J. Donohue (with Abhay Aneja and Kyle D. Weber) that reaches a different conclusion.

Dr. English said, “While most scholarship has concluded that the right to carry has not exacerbated crime rates, this literature has been rife with methodological challenges. It is reassuring to find that, when the growth of carry permits is analyzed in detail, there is no positive association with violent crime rates. Likewise, recent survey results confirm what prior literature has shown: defensive gun use is common and in most cases guns deter crime without a shot being fired.”

Edward Paltzik of Joshpe Mooney Paltzik LLP said, “This is one of the most important opportunities for the Court to vindicate and protect a sacrosanct, constitutional right in a generation. While constitutional rights should not hinge on favorable statistical studies, it is nonetheless important for the Court to recognize that there is no credible evidence that right-to-carry laws increase violent crime.”

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The Center for Human Liberty is a non-profit organization dedicated to defending and advancing individual liberty and freedom, including the rights and liberties protected by the Constitution. Consistent with this purpose, it promotes the publication of unbiased social science research relating to rights and society and engages in legal efforts to ensure protection of human liberty and natural rights.

William English, Ph.D. is a political economist and Assistant Professor of Strategy, Economics, Ethics, and Public Policy at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, where he has taught since 2016. In 2021, English conducted the largest-ever nationally representative survey of firearms owners in order to estimate reliably the frequency of firearm carriage and use for self-defense. English also recently authored the first statistical study utilizing estimates of state carry permits issued each year in order to accurately assess the effects of right-to-carry laws on violent crime and murder rates.

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