Study: Concealed Carry Is Soaring

Crime Prevention Research Center

Guest post by John R. Lott Jr., founder of the Crime Prevention Research Center. Since President Obama’s election, the number of concealed handgun permits has soared, growing from 4.6 million in 2007 to over 12.8 million this year, according to a new study by the Crime Prevention Research Center.

Crime Prevention Research Center
The Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) conducts academic-quality research on gun laws and their effects on crime and public safety.

Among the findings in the CPRC report:

  • The number of concealed handgun permits is increasing at an ever-increasing rate. Over the past year, 1.7 million additional new permits have been issued—a 15.4% increase in one single year. This is the largest-ever single-year increase in the number of concealed handgun permits.
  • 5.2% of the total adult population has a permit.
  • Five states now have more than 10% of their adult population with concealed handgun permits.
  • In ten states, a permit is no longer required to carry in all or virtually all of the state. This is a major reason why legal carrying handguns is growing so much faster than the number of permits.
  • Since 2007, permits for women have increased by 270% and for men by 156%.
  • Some evidence suggests that permit holding by minorities is increasing more than twice as fast as for whites.
  • Between 2007 and 2014, murder rates have fallen from 5.6 to 4.2 (preliminary estimates) per 100,000. This represents a 25% drop in the murder rate at the same time that the percentage of the adult population with permits soared by 156%. Overall, violent crime also fell by 25 percent over that period of time.
  • States with the largest increase in permits have seen the largest relative drops in murder rates.
  • Concealed handgun permit holders are extremely law-abiding. In Florida and Texas, permit holders are convicted of misdemeanors or felonies at one-sixth the rate that police officers are convicted.

To download the full report, click here.

To read a related report about concealed carry in Pennsylvania, click here.

Are you surprised by new people in your circle of friends and family asking for carry advice? What has piqued their interest in the lifestyle?

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Comments (30)

  1. Just today, another police officer was gunned down and seriously wounded, near Atlanta. Overall, 25 cops have lost their lives this year, 6 in the month of August alone. With this latest incident, there could very well be 26 to date. What gives me pause is, if uniformed officers are so targeted, what of the rest of us? What of those getting on in years and handicapped in some way? Only one “equalizer” exists, and it ain’t harsh language, folks! I’ve had concealed-carry permits from South Carolina and Florida (current)–and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. Does it make me impervious to crime? Of course not–But I now have the means to resist instead of begging for my life from someone who obviously would not have my best interests at heart!

    1. @Ralph

      This is the exact point. I hear people say “If all the guns on earth would magically disappear tomorrow so no one had one then it would be fine.”

      And I think what a stupid comment that is. If there were no guns, all it would mean is that the law of the jungle would prevail and the strong and vicious would prey on the weak and timid. Next time you’re somewhere where there are a lot of people, look around and ask yourself how many of these people could physically protect themselves from physical attack with a knife, club or just fists and feet? Depending on where you’re at and what kind of crowd it attracts, the answer is probably not very many.

  2. JV, Everything you said is true.
    The Media is a BIASED, Ideological bunch and they are unlikely to change.
    But that is NO reason to do NOTHING.
    Use what they give you and research for yourself.
    But most importantly get up and VOTE.
    I really don’t care one way or the other who you vote for. I just want everyone to vote.

  3. True, we the people are responsible for whom we put in office on our behalf.
    True, not to vote, to me is admission of guilt; and lack of love of country.
    True , one must be informed and to translate that info into action; ie vote.
    Reality: Those who rely on the typical news media for the truth are being fed an agenda, whether you agree with it or not; that is purported from an idiotically bred believers of their “faith” they call “journalism”, with a propensity that they “few” no what is best for all. That if you disagree, you are somehow malformed of civility.

  4. Could it possibly be that Obama has made this country much less safe with his justice dept not enforcing our laws and in fact encouraging lawlessness through illegal immigration…hmm, makes one wonder?

  5. Sadly the “DUMB MAJORITY” is running the “US of A” into a deep hole of worthlessness.This once great nation is no longer the country the world respects and trusts.

    “We The People” are no longer served by the people we voted for and trusted to run this country the right way.

    “We The People” are now serving our elected “Masters in Washington”. Who only serve themselves.Too many of the “DUMB MAJORITY”, are too busy with their own life problems to concern themselves with the running of this nation and it’s problems.Thus the continued lowering of the American standard of living. The “bar of life” that was once set high in America, is now so low, you need to crawl on your belly to get under it.

    There are too few of us “SMART MINORITY” to make the changes this country needs to put America back on top. Our numbers are too few to make the difference with a vote.The only way for the “SMART MINORITY” to help right the continuing wrongs of this country.Is by a BLOODY REVOLT. YES, BLOOD must be spilled to thin down the numbers of the “DUMB MAJORITY”. So the “DUMB MAJORITY” will become the “DUMB FEW”.That is the only way I see this once great country, becoming a great nation again.

    Tyranny has many faces, right now the “DUMB MAJORITY” is one of them.

    1. Bob,
      It’s true that there are a LOT of people in office that probably shouldn’t be allowed to even walk the halls much less hold an office.
      But WE put them there.

      There has been a lot of talk about “Term Limits”, even some websites that tell us the Constitution has a way to make it happen.
      Truth is the ONLY way to insure “Term Limits” is to VOTE.

      There is NO need for a “BLOOD” LETTING of any kind.
      The Real Power is in the hands of the People. They simply have forgotten about the amount of Power they have.
      Every (2) two yrs We have to go to the polls and every yr only about HALF of the eligible Voters actually GO.
      THERE IN LIYES THE PROBLEM. Imagine a 100% turnout to VOTE!
      Imagine the jaw dropping look on EVERY Congresspersons face.

      Now THAT IS A REVOLUTION Everyone can Live with.

      Here is what I DO.

      The Honorable Congressman or Congresswoman.
      United States Congress
      Washington, D.C. 20510-4305

      Dear Sir/Madam, 

      We the People have given You, the elected Representatives of The American People, more than enough opportunities to do the job You were elected to do. Time and again You have failed to Represent the People.
You Only Serve the LOBBY.
You have become as corrupt as any Gangster that ever committed a crime.
You have Lied to us far too long.

      There is always talk of Term Limits. But you think that because You have been there so long it will not effect You. You have Power only because We the People have Granted it to you. You Longevity because we were lazy, You think you have TENURE and can’t be fired.

      In truth We the People have the Real Power, We have the Voting Booth. 

      Term Limits is Your Future. You have forced this upon yourselves. Now We the People have taken Back the Power we Allowed you to Use. 


      Sincerely yours,
Don Cates
Concerned American

      I have sent this letter to Each and Every Congressperson on record.
      I have encouraged all of my frieda to do the same.

      It’s only a start but by now Every one of them is getting a letter like this every day.

      Next is the Voters themselves.

      We have had a FREE Nation, We can have one AGAIN.

    2. Hopefully, the blood that will be spilled will be good guys (and gals) with guns taking down bad guys with guns that are hell bent on terrorizing this Nation.

  6. We need a uniform and acceptable rules and requirements for all states and US Territories for a national CCW. One nation, one law…

    1. @1jayhawks: We have that single law. It’s called the second
      amendment.Too bad the anti-gun crowd is too dense to understand.

  7. It should be for the people who cast there vote , Nobody else . The people who wrote the Bill of Rights , They were peoples like the many readers of my opinion Thanks a voter and Shooter,Mike

    1. Haven’t you learned that your vote doesn’t matter? Both parties are different sides of the same coin, the entire system is as corrupt as any Mexican cartel.
      And because I don’t buy into this corrupt system you would restrict my 2nd Amendment Rights? Seems you are well on your way to becoming a politician of the first (skunk) stripe.

    2. @Nighthawk.

      Well, your vote sure doesn’t count if you don’t cast it. If votes didn’t count we wouldn’t have a Republican majority in Congress, and then where would we be? Constantly on the defensive as gun control law after law was introduced and passed even more than we are now. The Republicans are a bunch of stiffs, I admit that, but they’re a heck of a lot better than the alternative.

      Virginia is a gun friendly state for one reason; we have a majority of conservatives in the state legislature and a strong grassroots state gun rights organization and a strong pro-gun lobby. The minute we stop voting, the Liberals who have a lot of support in the big northern Virginia counties like Fairfax filled with wealthy libs and welfare recipients would take over and Virginia would become a Nazi state like Maryland. The Libs WANT you not to vote because it makes it easier for them to push their agenda.

      I know we all do it, myself included, but ranting on a gun blog accomplishes next to nothing besides making us feel a little better for a minute. Stand and fight! If you’re not voting and being active in Second Amendment organizations, you’re part of the problem.

      So go ahead and flame me now. I’m a big boy, I can take it.

  8. Read/heard this somewhere: “Obama has increased gun sales i n America by 40%.” True, he has been the cause of increased gun sales. Watch out for more from him. Word is floating around that he and his successor, be they Democrat, will comply with U.N. demands to confiscate all privately owned guns, then limit firearms to the military. Not even law enforcement will be allowed weapons, only non-lethal devices. Then, allow U.N. Peacekeepers in to enforce these sanctions. Still love America, but a staying where gun ownership is not restricted. When people have had enough, they will rebel and kick-out such rabble as this. Thought this about Australia, too. But they went ‘belly-up’ and are still on their backs and unarmed all these years since their gov. took their guns.

    1. Sounds like something Hillary would do…
      Better start by stripping the gang bangers of their ILLEGAL firearms before they even think about looking to get those that were legally obtained.
      Yeah…no way that will fly any time soon.

  9. Wasn’t someone recently reporting that gun ownership in America was on the decline? Oh ya – I think it was Everytown for Gun Safety. If I’m wrong I apologize to them…. not.

  10. For me it’s second nature now, I never leave home without my wallet, my cell phone, and my handgun. I’ve never been one to look for trouble, but then again nowadays you will never know when trouble will be looking for you.

  11. This is a good thing! I do my best to inform all of my contacts that they are responsible for not just their protection but to inform and educate others regarding current laws as well.
    If every capable law abiding citizen carried conceal or open, perpetrators would be Left scratching their head’s.

  12. One item that stands out to me in the findings is the difference in states in how easy or difficult they make it to get a permit. Note that some states (South Dakota and Pennsylvania were mentioned, but there are others) make it easy to get a permit, but others, such as Illinois (and NY, CA and MD) make it expensive or nearly impossible to qualify.

    This means that in those states that make it easy, all law abiding citizens, including those with low incomes, can legally carry to protect themselves. But in the states that make it expensive and difficult, only those with money and the means to do so will be issued a permit. You can bet that any wealthy person in Maryland who wants a permit, has one. While the average person has a hard time getting one.

    This is two things. One, it is a means of gun control. But more than that, two, it is elitism and an insurance that only what the Liberal masters of the state consider the “Ruling Class” can get a concealed carry permit.

    More hypocrisy from the Libs with all their claims of wanting equality and what’s “best” for all.

    1. You are correct. The fascist left will do ANYTHING to try to stop the obvious swell in gun ownership and both concealed and open carry. The evil force in the casa blanco in Mordor on the Potomac (thank you Mike Church) and his entire clique are constantly attempting to stop gun ownership. Stopping lead smelting the EPA regs, trying to tax bullets, lying about the efficacy of civilian ownership of guns, etc. Along with importing new voters, massive under the radar income redistribution, bankrupting America, bringing federal HUD low cost housing into republican districts to change the vote, attempting to ban AR ammo of a certain type, anti-gun initiatives are a constant “on” issue with this creature.

  13. Excellent study, but not at all surprising. People, lot’s of people, across the entire spectrum of society, all income levels, all races and ethnicity feel that the government has failed to secure the country and address the real social causes of crime, and that the police simply cannot protect them.

    This is a valuable piece of research and it is well written. Having completed and published a thesis, and worked with a lot of Doctoral level research, I can tell you the antis are not going to be able to find much in the line of holes in this research to use to try to discredit it.

    But you can also bet the media is not going to report on it because it does not support their agenda, so we need to get it out there in front of everybody. Send this to your legislators at all levels, and to as many people as you can.

  14. Dr. Lott,

    No state may require a law-abiding citizen to have a “permit” to exercise the basic human right of armed self-defense. As a “fundamental” right per the McDonald case, government at any level may only restrict that basic human right in a manner that passes the “strict scrutiny” test; (a) the state must have a “legitimate government interest” to protect, and (b) the means chosen to protect that state interest must be the “least restrictive” possible. A permit process does not even arguably meet the “strict scrutiny” test.

    Even so, I personally hold a “permit” — not because it “allows” me to carry a concealed weapon, but because it serve as very convenient evidence that I am a law-abiding citizen who has that basic human right.

    I think your numbers understate the commonality of concealed carry. Counting the law-abiding citizens of states that have already admitted they have no right to require a permit, and the law-abiding citizens who have gone on record to obtain “permits” in the states that have not yet so admitted, more than 22 Million Americans have the formally-recognized right to carry concealed weapons — more than 1 American out of 15. Assuming an average person has an average of 50 interactions with other people each day, there are potentially more than a Billion peaceful armed interactions between Americans EVERY DAY. A BILLION. EVERY DAY.

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