PolitiFact, November 2021
Did West Virginia’s passage of a permitless open carry law for guns produce a precipitous drop in violent crime in the state? That’s what an image on Facebook said. In 2016, West Virginia lawmakers passed a law that allowed most individuals over the age of 21 to carry a firearm without a permit or safety training. When the law was passed, some critics warned that it would lead to an increase in violent crime.
“Violent crime rate dropped like a rock following West Virginia’s adoption of permitless carry,” said the Sept. 20 post, which was attributed to a group called Clergy in Support of the Second Amendment. An accompanying chart shows violent crime rates for the United States and West Virginia, with a drop for the U.S. but a bigger decline for West Virginia after the law was passed.