On July 13, 2015 John R. Lott Jr. and Rebekah C. Riley of the Crime Prevention Research Center and John E. Whitley of the Institute for Defense Analyses published Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States, a paper reporting on the impact of the increased number of issued carry permits.
Over the years, more states have adopted laws to allow individuals to obtain concealed carry permits. Illinois was the last state to do so, with the first permits issued in March 2014. Even Washington, D.C. started issuing permits earlier this year. Today, permitted concealed handguns are allowed in every jurisdiction in the United States.
Initially the increase in permits was slow, growing from roughly 2.7 million permit holders in 1999 to 4.6 million in 2007. But the number of concealed handgun permits literally exploded during the Obama presidency. For December 2011, the federal Government Accountability Office estimated that there were at least 8 million concealed handgu n permits. By the June 2014, it was 11.1 million; in 2015, 12.8 million. In other words, during the eight years from 1999 to 2007, the number of permits increased by about 240,000 per year. During the next four years, the number of permits surged by 850,000 per year. Then from the end of 2011 to 2013 the yearly increase rose by 1,550,000. And during the last year the increase has continued to accelerate to 1,700,000. 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.
What effects occured during this increase? Among the reported findings:
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 at all.
Since 2007, permits for women increased by 270% and 156% for men.
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 law-abiding. In Florida and Texas, permit holders are convicted of crimes at 1/6 the rate of police officers.
A full copy can be downloaded for free at ssrn.com/abstract=2629704.
Read more in the November 2015 issue.