Decision MediaWorks

10-20-Life. Does it matter?

After we posted last week on the relationship between concealed carry permits and violent crime, Greg Newburn of Families Against Mandatory Minimums tweeted to ask about similar data on the policy of “10-20-Life.” You can learn more about this mandatory sentencing policy here.

We did some research and here is what we found:

- Easily accessible public data on Florida firearm crime is not available going back more than a decade. This is unfortunate because 10-20-Life became law in 1998. The bottom line is that we can’t follow the trend all the way back, but we can go back ten years.

- While violent crime in Florida has fallen dramatically over the last decade, gun crime actually spiked in the mid-2000s before falling again in the last few years. In turns out, the trend of using guns for violent crime is a bit disjointed from overall violent crime rates and from the number of concealed carry permits (i.e. more guns possessed by Floridians). Hence, there is no easy connection between overall violence and gun crime or the number of guns and gun crime.

- We can’t make any clear judgments about 10-20-Life without having data from before the policy was enacted. But, you can see the available data for yourself and form your own hypothesis. Ask yourself what trend the overall gun crime rate (purple line on the chart) mirrors. For example, our researcher @mrDanielDean thought gun crime seemed to rise and fall with the economy.

The chart below is interactive- just hover over points to see the data. As always, if you like what you see, please share it!