John Lott, Jr., John Whitley, and Rebekah Riley just published a paper examining Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States.
The abstract contains relevant statistics:
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 . Among the findings in our 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 just 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 has 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.
One thing to note is the number of carriers is likely higher, because with no permit required to carry in 1/5 of our states, there’s no means of tracking and collecting such data. In a weird way, it’s one reason I like the permitting process, because data like this is useful.
Other things that jump out at me:
The largest growth is with “minorities”, that is, racial minorities and women. Just a few days ago I touched on the rapid growth of gun ownership and concealed carry amongst blacks in the US. Those who wish to see improvements in civil rights and equality for minorities must understand the vital role gun ownership has always played in that movement.
Permits go up, murder (and violent crime) rates go down. States with the largest increase in permits also see the largest drop in murder rates. I’m not saying correlation equals causation, but it’s sure something to think about.
As a permit holder in Texas, I’ve known that we permit holders are generally more law-abiding than the un-permitted citizenry. Since 1996, the Texas Department of Public Safety (who oversees the Texas Concealed Handgun Licensing process) has released reports of the number of CHL holders with convictions versus the entire Texas population with convictions. CHL holders are quite law-abiding. Which should be no surprise given the great lengths we have to go through to obtain and maintain not just a gun but the CHL itself.
But all this data probably doesn’t matter. These days data, logic, and reason aren’t as important as someone’s feelings.