In early October, economist John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center released “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States: 2019,” his annual report on the number of concealed-carry permit holders in the United States.
We’ll let Lott’s summary deliver the key finding:
“In 2019, the number of concealed handgun permits soared to now over 18.66 million—a 304 percent increase since 2007. About an 8 percent growth over the number of permits since 2018.”
Let that sink in. More than 18.66 million Americans hold a permit to lawfully carry a concealed firearm to protect themselves and their loved ones. That number does not include the increasing number of states that do not require a permit to legally carry a firearm.
While 7.3 percent of American adults hold a concealed-carry permit, it is by no means a homogenous group. Some states provide permit-holder data by gender and race. “Among those states, women averaged 26.5 percent of permit holders—a half of one percentage point increase over 2018.” The increase in female permit holders outpaced the increase in male permit holders across the same time period—and the number of African American permit holders increased faster than the number of white permit holders. Lott reports that, in Texas, the number of black permit holders has grown more than twice as quickly as the number of white permit holders. Within states that provide data by both gender and race, black female permit holders were the fastest growing population. In fact, as Lott reports, “The rates of permit holding among American Indian, Asian, black and white females all grew much faster than the rates for males in those racial groups.”
Besides being an increasingly diverse group, permit holders continue to prove they are law-abiding citizens. Lott presents permit revocation rates to demonstrate. The highest-revocation rate listed is 0.72 percent in Connecticut; only one other state (Maryland) is even above 0.5 percent. To be clear, that is less than 1 percent of permit holders and, as Lott notes, “Most of these rates include revocations for any reason, including people moving out of the state, and for the states where the revocation rates are higher than hundredths of a percentage point are due to residency revocations.”
These findings should reinforce the fact that law-abiding gun owners are not criminals and should not be the targets of efforts to reduce crime. As we have seen time and again, focusing on the actual criminals yields results. Efforts to demonize law-abiding gun owners will only increase as politicians get desperate for attention from a fawning media. They will ignore that crime rates have fallen, that the number of permit holders has increased and that criminals don’t follow laws. Sounds like common sense.
Don’t anti-gun politicians all believe in common sense?