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Columnist Terry Anderson, in his latest anti-gun diatribe, recently wrote in The News, "The vast majority of handguns are sold here (in the U.S.) quite legally, of course, to hunters, target shooters, and simple fearful people who, despite statistics, still believe that possession of a handgun somehow enhances their personal safety and that of their families."

Anderson chose to ignore what is perhaps the largest and most significant gun study ever conducted.

The study was released on July 26 by the University of Chicago. Its conclusion? "Allowing citizens without criminal records or histories of significant mental illness to carry concealed handguns deters violent crime."

This bombshell conclusion rocked the anti-gun movement back on its heels because the authors, John R. Lott Jr. and David B. Mustard of the University of Chicago, have absolutely no ties to the gun lobby.

The impartial educators analyzed FBI crime statistics in 3,054 U.S. counties from 1977 to 1992 to see if the introduction of concealed-carry weapons laws had any effect on crime. Since 1986, the number of states that enacted laws making it easier for decent citizens to obtain concealed weapons permits rose from nine to 31.

Lott and Mustard said they found an 8.5 percent reduction in the homicide rate, a 5 percent reduction in rapes and a 7 percent reduction in aggravated assaults as a direct result of good people being allowed to carry handguns concealed lawfully.

"If the rest of the country had adopted right-to-carry concealed handgun provisions in 1992, at least 1,570 murders, 4,177 rapes and 60,363 aggravated assaults would have been avoided annually," Lott concluded. Moreover, he found that accidental shootings as a result of the eased carry laws were "statistically insignificant," and, "The net effect of allowing concealed handguns is clearly to save lives."

Daniel Dudziak Orchard Park

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