There are now more than 19.48 million citizens licensed (or with carry permits) to carry concealed handguns in the United States, and it might be more except for the shutdown in several states on accepting new applications because of the COVID-19 outbreak earlier this year.
That was the report from the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC), founded and headed by firearms researcher and author John Lott. He spoke during the recent “virtual” Gun Rights Policy Conference” co-hosted by the Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
Lott’s updated report shows a 34 percent increase in concealed carry since 2016, most of it during the Trump administration.
“Last year,” the report notes, “the number of permit holders continued to grow by about 820,000. At 4.4% growth over 2019, that is the slowest percent and absolute increase that we have seen since we started collecting this data in 2011, but part of that is due to many states not issuing concealed handgun permits during the Coronavirus pandemic. Another part is in the sixteen Constitutional carry states (plus Montana where a permit is not needed in almost all the state) the number of permits has been declining even though it is clear that more people are legally carrying.”
While that may be accurate in some states, that’s not the situation in Arizona. Liberty Park Press has been collecting data from the Arizona Department of Public Safety over the years, and even though that state has “constitutional carry,” the number of permits has been rising continually for several years. On Dec. 26, 2016, Arizona reported 299,121 active permits. On Sept. 21, the number had climbed to 369,369.
However, in Washington State, the coronavirus scare did have an obvious effect on concealed pistol license activity. Back on April 1, the Washington Department of Licensing reported 250,460 active CPLs. But that number declined to 639,564 as of Oct. 1, primarily due to a “suspension” of CPL application processing by various law enforcement agencies. At least some agencies weren’t processing renewals for a while, either, due to shutdown of “front counter” services, too.
Washington is opening back up, even in populous King County, where Seattle police and the King County Sheriff’s office seem to handle the lion’s share of CPL activity. The sheriff’s department is now taking new applications, and recently the Snoqualmie Valley Record reported the Snoqualmie Police Department—which serves the cities of Snoqualmie and North Bend—is also taking new applications.
The hang-up with all the departments has been fingerprinting. When reported in AmmoLand, some reader reactions were interesting.
According to Lott’s report, 7.6 percent of American adults have a permit or license. When you eliminate restrictive states of New York and California, the percentage jumps to 9.2 percent.
Five states now have more than 1 million active carry permits: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Texas. Florida’s number tops 2 million!
Alabama also has the highest percentage of permits at 28.5 percent, and Indiana comes in second at 18.7 percent, the CPRC report said.
Another important number: Women make up 26.4 percent of permit holders in the 14 states that provide data by gender, the CPRC report noted.
Lott’s report also revealed that in 14 states, “more than 10% of adults have permits.” Those states are Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington and West Virginia.