* Right-to-carry laws require law enforcement agencies to issue handgun permits to all qualified applicants. Qualifications include criteria such as age, a clean criminal record, and completing a firearm safety course. (13)

* In 1986, nine states had right-to-carry laws. (14)

* As of 1998, 31 states have right-to-carry laws, and about half the U.S. population lives in these states. (3)

* In 1996, Dr. John R. Lott of the University of Chicago Law School published the results of a crime study conducted using FBI data for all 3,045 U.S. counties from 1977 to 1992. (15)

* The study sought to answer the question, \"What happens to crime when states adopt right-to-carry laws?\" (15)

* Between 1977 and 1992, 10 states adopted right-to-carry laws. Dr. Lott\'s study found that the implementation of these laws created:
-- no change in suicide rates,
-- a .5% rise in accidental firearm deaths,
-- a 5% decline in rapes,
-- a 7% decline in aggravated assaults,
-- and an 8% decline in murder

for the 10 states that adopted these laws between 1977 and 1992. (7)

* Using 1995 numbers, this amounts to:

-- 1 more accidental gun death,
-- 316 less murders,
-- 939 less rapes,
-- and 14,702 less aggravated assaults

in these 10 states annually. (16)