22 Million USA Adults Are Licensed to Concealed Carry Handguns

The number of concealed handgun permits continues to increase, according to the Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States: 2022 report from the Crime Prevention Research Center. The figure now stands at 22.01 million—8.5% of the adult population and a 2.3% increase over last year. Over the last two decades, during the exponential growth in permits, a general linear decline has occurred in murder and violent crime rates.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, Concealed Carry Daily Prayer ]

Map by the Crime Prevention Research Center showing the types of concealed carry states as of August 2022

Unlike gun ownership surveys that may be affected by people’s unwillingness to answer personal questions, concealed handgun permit data is the only really “hard data” available. This increase occurred despite 24 Constitutional Carry states (AK, AR, AZ, GA, IA, ID, IN, KS, KY, ME, MO, MS, MT, ND, NH, OH, OK, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, WV, WY) that no longer provide data on the legal carrying of a concealed handgun because people in those states no longer need a permit to carry. A 25th state, Alabama, has also adopted Constitutional Carry, but its law doesn’t go into effect until January 1, 2023.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, 8.3% of USA Adults Are Licensed to Concealed Carry Handguns ]

These numbers are particularly topical given that the US Supreme Court in June 2022 struck down New York’s “May-Issue” Concealed Handgun Law, affirming a constitutional right to bear arms. The decision will have a major impact on concealed carry laws in the 7 states that had “May-Issue” type rules.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, Important Judicial Decisions Regarding Self-Defense Law ]

Among the findings of the report:

  • Last year, the number of permit holders continued to grow by about 488,000. At 2.3% growth over 2021, that’s the slowest percent and absolute increase since the collection of this data in 2011. Part of that is due to the number of permits declining in the Constitutional Carry states even though it’s clear more people are legally carrying.

  • 8.5% of American adults have permits. Outside of the restrictive states of California and New York, about 10.2% of adults have a permit.

  • In 17 states, more than 10% of adults have permits. Since 2019, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and South Dakota have fallen below 10%, but they’re now all Constitutional Carry states, meaning that people no longer need a permit to carry. The concealed carry rates for Connecticut, North Carolina, and Wisconsin have risen to above 10% this year.

  • Alabama has the highest concealed carry rate: 32.5%. Indiana is second with 23.4% and Georgia is third with 15.5%.

  • 6 states now have over 1 million permit holders: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Florida is the top state with 2.57 million permits.

  • 25 states have adopted Constitutional Carry for their entire state, meaning that a permit is no longer required. Because of these Constitutional Carry states, the nationwide growth in permits does not paint a full picture of the overall increase in concealed carry. Many residents still choose to obtain permits so they can carry in other states that have reciprocity agreements, but while permits are increasing in the non-Constitutional Carry states, they fell in the Constitutional Carry ones even though more people are clearly carrying in those states.

  • In 2022, women made up 29.2% of permit holders in the 15 states that provide data by gender, an increase from the 28.3% last year. 7 states had data from 2012 to 2021/2022, and permit numbers grew 115.4% faster for women than for men.

Download the PDF report, Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States: 2022.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, The 5 Elements of Self-Defense Law ]

[ Read the SemperVerus article, 7.6% of USA Adults Are Licensed to Concealed Carry Handguns ]

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