The total number of permits to concealed carry firearms in the USA is at least 19.48 million, according to the Crime Prevention Research Center report, Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States: 2020. Add in people who legally carry in the 17 Constitutional Carry states that do not require permits in all or almost all of their state (AK, AR, AZ, ID, KS, KY, ME, MO, MS, MT, ND, NH, OK, SD, VT, WV, WY) and the number clearly becomes much larger. The CPRC report also shows that the growth rate for permits by women continues to be much greater than for men; Florida is the state that has issued the most concealed carry permits at 2.14 million; and that permit holders are supremely law-abiding. All states now allow concealed carry, although permit rules vary widely between states.
[ Read the SemperVerus article, Concealed Carry Daily Prayer ]
[ Read the SemperVerus article, Concealed Carry Permit Reciprocity Maps ]
The CPRC report says these statistics mean that in most places where people are allowed to carry a concealed handgun, there will be someone carrying a concealed handgun. If the probability that any one person has a concealed handgun permit is 5.4% (the figure reported by Pew Research Center of the percentage of people who carry a handgun most or all the time; 12.3% carry at least some of the time), in a room with 10 people (assuming that the probabilities are independent), the probability that at least one person will have a permitted concealed handgun is 43%. In a room with 20 people, that probability goes up to 67%. With 40, that probability rises to 89%.
Florida is the state that has issued the most concealed carry permits at 2.14 million, followed by Texas with 1.52 million and Pennsylvania with 1.42 million.
[ Read the SemperVerus article, USA State Constitutions Providing for Armed Self-Defense ]
[ Read the SemperVerus article, The Process of Becoming a First Time Gun Owner ]
The exponential growth in concealed carry permits coincides with a general linear decline in USA murder and violent crime rates. Murder rates fell from 5.7 to 5.0 per 100,000, a 12% drop. Overall violent crime fell by 29% while the percentage of adults with permits soared by five-fold. Such simple evidence by itself isn’t meant to show that concealed handgun permits reduce violent crime rates, as many factors account for changes in crime rates, but only that there doesn’t seem to be any obvious positive relationship between permits and crime.
[ Read the SemperVerus article, The 4 Basic Rules of Gun Safety ]
The CPRC report states that permit holders rarely violate the law. To appreciate how extremely rare violations are, one needs to remember there are over 19.48 million permit holders in the USA. To get an idea of just how law-abiding concealed handgun permit holders are, we need only compare them to police. According to a study in Police Quarterly, police committed an average of 703 crimes per year from 2005 to 2007; 113 of these involved firearms violations. This is likely to be an underestimate, since not all police crimes receive media coverage. The authors of the study may also have missed some media reports.
With about 685,464 full-time police officers in the USA from 2005 to 2007, there were about 103 crimes per hundred thousand officers. For the USA population as a whole, the crime rate was 37 times higher: 3,813 crimes per hundred thousand people.
Even given the low conviction rate for police, concealed carry permit holders are statistically more law-abiding than police. Between June 30, 2019 and July 31, 2020, Florida revoked 1,268 concealed handgun permits for any reason, including misdemeanors or felonies. With over 2 million permit holders during this period, this is a rate in the hundredths of one percentage point. In Texas in 2019 (the last year for which data is available), 199 permit holders were convicted of a felony or misdemeanor—a conviction rate of 13.1 per 100,000. Combining Florida and Texas data, permit holders are convicted of misdemeanors and felonies at less than 1/6th of the rate for police officers.
Among police, firearms violations occur at a rate of 16.5 per 100,000 officers. Among permit holders in Florida and Texas, the rate is only 2.4 per 100,000. That is 1/7th of the rate for police officers. The data are similar in other states.
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