The number of active concealed carry licenses across the United States has soared to 18.66 million, representing a 304 percent increase since 2007, according to a new report from the Crime Prevention Research Center.
The number translates to 7.3 percent of all adults in the United States, and approximately 8 percent growth over the number of active licenses and permits since 2018.
Thirteen states now have more than 10 percent of the adult population licensed to carry. Those states are, from west to east, Washington, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
More than 2.1 million additional carry licenses/permits have been issued since Donald Trump became president, said Dr. John Lott, founder and president of the Center. The researcher and author added that this may not represent all the people legally carrying because 16 states have adopted “constitutional carry,” allowing open or concealed carry without a license or permit.
It’s the third year in a row for an increase in concealed carry licenses, the Center report said, and the increase coincides with the FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2018 that shows a slight decline in violent crime, including homicides committed with firearms.
Lott recently spoke at the Gun Rights Policy Conference in Phoenix. There, he expressed skepticism about the value of so-called “universal background checks” as a tool in reducing violent gun-related crime, especially mass shootings.
“If I wanted to do something,” Lott stated, “it would be to get rid of gun-free zones.”
Four states—Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania and Georgia—now have more than 1 million active licenses and in Florida, the number is above 2 million.
Alabama has the highest percentage of active permits in the population, 26.3 percent, with Indiana coming in second with 17.9 percent.
Nationally, women made up an impressive 26.5 percent of license/permit holders in the 12 states that provide data by gender, the report added.
Lott noted in a telephone conversation that the largest increases in carry permits and licenses is among women and minorities. The report says “permits for women (are) growing 101% faster than those for men.” In Texas, the report said, “black females saw a 3.6 times greater percentage increase in permits than white males.”
The report also revealed, “From 2012 to 2018, in the four states that provide data by race over that time period, the number of black people with permits increased almost 20% faster than the number of whites with permits. Asians appear to be the group that has experienced the largest increase in permitted concealed carry, growing 29% faster than whites.”
What this means could be bad news for the gun prohibition lobby that has labored to marginalize gun owners as mostly older white males. The report reveals a growing diversity in the firearms community, as was evident at the Phoenix conference where minorities including the LBGTQ community, were represented. There was even a representative from the Liberal Gun Club.