A report released July 9 by the Crime Prevention Research Center shows that as the number of concealed-carry permits issued nationally has increased, murder and other violent crimes decreased.
According to the report Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States, there are 11,113,013 people in the U.S. who currently hold a valid concealed-carry permit, or about 4.8 percent of the total population.
The study reported statistics from 2007 through preliminary estimates for 2013 that show a 22-percent decrease in murders, as well as a 22-percent drop in overall violent crime nationally.
The report cautioned that the number of concealed-carry permit holders is likely much higher than 11.1 million because numbers are not available for all states that issue permits, such as New York. Additionally, some states and the majority of Montana do not require that residents have a concealed handgun permit to carry within the state, so the number of residents who carry a concealed weapon is not recorded.
Interestingly, the report documents that concealed carry has grown overall due to both more states allowing it and more and more people in each state getting permits. In 2007, the number of concealed-carry permit holders was just above 4.5 million, and according to Government Accountability Office numbers, in 2011 the number was almost 8 million.
According to the report, Florida residents hold the most concealed-carry permits at 1,278,246 (as of 12/13), followed by Pennsylvania (872,277 as of 12/12) and Texas with 708,048 (as of 12/13). Georgia (600,000) and North Carolina (570,464) make up the rest of the top-five states.
On a per-capita basis, South Dakota claims first place with 12.03 percent of the state’s population holding concealed carry permits. Indiana (10.79 percent), Alabama (10.21 percent), Utah (9.75 percent), and Tennessee (9.35 percent) round out the top-five states.
The report said a handful of states do not require permits to carry within the state. They are Alaska, Arizona, Vermont, and Wyoming. Montana does not require a carry permit in 99.4 percent of the state, according to an entry in the report’s footnotes.
John R. Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and author of More Guns, Less Crime, said, “When you allow people to carry concealed handguns, you see changes in the behavior of criminals. Some criminals stop committing crimes, others move on to crimes in which they don’t come into contact with victims and others actually move to areas where they have less fear of being confronted by armed victims.”