More than 1 million Texans now have handgun licenses, making the state one of the nation’s largest population of certified-to-carry gun owners. While that’s less than 4 percent of the 27 million residents, the total number with permits to carry concealed and unconcealed firearms now outnumber the entire population of the city of Fort Worth.
Only one state has more licensed holders: Florida. The Sunshine State has nearly 1.75 million, which is nearly 12,000 permits per 100,000 Floridians 21 and over. The number in Texas is about 5,600 per 100,000.
In 1995, the concealed-handgun law was passed by the Texas Legislature, and by December of the following year 113,640 licenses had been issued. Now, after two decades, nearly 904,000 have been added to the list. Jerry Patterson, the former state senator who authored the law, told The New York Times, “I’d say those who predicted shootouts at four-way stops need to apologize to the rest of us.”