(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Six of Ohio’s eight largest cities saw less gun crime after the state’s “constitutional carry” law took effect, according to a study published today by the Center for Justice Research, a partnership between the office of Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and Bowling Green State University.
Beginning June 13, 2022, Ohio became the 23rd state to allow its citizens to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. In the year following, crime involving guns dropped across Ohio’s eight largest cities as a whole and in six of the eight individually.
“This is not to downplay the very real problem of crime in many neighborhoods in our cities – you don’t need a research team to see that gun violence destroys lives, families and opportunity,” Yost said. “The key takeaway from this study is that we have to keep the pressure on the criminals who shoot people, rather than Ohioans who responsibly exercise their Second Amendment rights.”
Last year, mayors of several large cities blamed crime in their local communities on the change in state law – comments that were the impetus for the study, Yost said.
“I genuinely did not know what the study would find,” he said. “I thought it would be useful either way.”
The study, which explored the relationship between permitless carry and crime involving firearms in the state’s eight most populous cities, demonstrates that the law change is not the problem, the Attorney General said.
Researchers analyzed data spanning from June 2021 to June 2023 – a year before and a year after the law took effect – focusing on crimes involving firearms, verified gunshot-detection alerts and the number of officers struck by gunfire.
Center for Justice Research Director Melissa Burek, who has a doctorate in criminal justice, led the research.
The study showed significant decreases in the number of crimes involving firearms in Akron, Columbus and Toledo, and across all eight cities combined.
The rate of gun crime in Parma fell the most – by 22% – followed by Akron and Toledo, each with decreases of 18%. Rates for Dayton and Cincinnati increased by 6% and 5%, respectively.
Data compiled from gunshot-detection technology also reflected a downward trend, with verified crime incidents dropping 23.2% in Toledo and 20.6% in Columbus. The other six cities had no available gunshot-detection data for the period studied.
To measure the impact of permitless carry on law enforcement, researchers examined cases of firearm-related injuries and deaths of officers in the eight cities of interest. They noted three such instances before the law took effect and four afterward, concluding that there was no substantial change.
A full report detailing the research findings is available on the attorney general’s website.