The number of Iowans with permits to carry concealed weapons spiked 154 percent this year after a law passed in the Iowa Legislature that made easier to obtain the license.
In Linn County alone, the number of permits issued jumped 183 percent, from 1,871 to 5,298, according to The Gazette.
Some interviewed by The Gazette claimed that they did so to better protect themselves, which raises the question, does having access to a concealed weapon make Iowa, and Marion, safer?
The Legal Community Against Violence, an advocacy group focused on reducing gun violence, claims that this more lax method of obtaining concealed weapons permits, called "shall issue" permits, have not been shown to reduce crime.
"Shall-issue laws permitting the carrying of concealed firearms (CCW) (where law enforcement has no discretion in issuing a permit or license) do not appear to reduce crime, and no credible statistical evidence exists that such permissive CCW laws reduce crime. There is evidence permissive CCW laws generally will increase crime," according to the group.
But some argue the opposite, that the fear surrounding "shall carry" laws is irrational.
In an opinion piece by Steve Chapman, a Chicago Tribune writer, Chapman wrote that some of the claims made by interest groups against concealed weapons are misleading.
"In fact, VPC's (Violence Policy Center) own data, when inspected closely, doesn't dent the case for gun rights," he wrote. "Over the past four years, there have been more than 60,000 homicides in the United States. The slayings carried out by permit-holders amount to fewer than one of every 200 murders. For every licensee who killed someone, there are more than 20,000 who didn't."
With both of these contrasting viewpoints, it’s unclear the effect concealed firearms have on society as a whole.
It may be that they don’t decrease crime significantly, but at the same time, do not increase crime significantly. Or is it something else entirely?
What do you think, is Iowa safer with more concealed gun carriers, or more dangerous? Let us know what you think about Iowa's concealed weapons law in the comments.