Americans now holding permits to pack a concealed weapon in public has soared 215 percent since 2007 to over 14.5 million, a record, according to a new report.
The Crime Prevention Research Center said that last year alone a record 1.73 million were approved in states requiring them.
John. R. Lott Jr., president of the Center, added that as the number of concealed carry permits has increased, the murder rate has dropped.
Much of the surge in permits has come due to gun control threats from President Obama and highly-publicized mass shootings that have prompted several law enforcement officials to suggest that Americans arm up.
Lott detailed how the numbers have changed under Obama, writing:
"Previously, the increase in permits had been relatively slow, growing from roughly 2.7 million permit holders in 1999 to 4.6 million in 2007. But the number of concealed handgun permits exploded during the Obama presidency. In December 2011, the Government Accountability Office estimated that there were at least 8 million concealed handgun permits. By June 2014, it was 11.1 million. Now, in 2016, the number is up to over 14.5 million. In other words, during the eight years from 1999 to 2007, the number of permits increased by about 240,000 annually. During the next four years, the number of permits surged by 850,000 annually. Then, in 2012 and 2013, the yearly increase accelerated to 1,550,000. Then 1,690,000 last year and 1,730,000 this year."
The key highlights of his publicly available report:
— During President Obama's administration, the number of concealed handgun permits has soared to over 14.5 million – a 215% increase since 2007.
— The increase in the number of concealed handgun permits last year set another record, increasing by 1.73 million. That is slightly greater than previous record of 1.69 million set the last year.
— 6.06% of the total adult population has a permit.
— In 10 states, more than 10% of adults have concealed handgun permits. Indiana has the highest rate — 15%. South Dakota is close behind with 14.7%.
— Florida, Pennsylvania, and Texas each have over a million residents who are active permit holders.
— In another 11 states, a permit is no longer required to carry in all or virtually all of the state. Thus the growth in permits does not provide a full picture of the overall increase in concealed carry.
— Between 2012 and 2016, in states that provide data by gender, the number of women with permits has increased twice as quickly as the number of men with permits.
— Some evidence suggests that permit-holding is increasing about 75% more quickly among minorities than among whites.
— Between 2007 and 2015, murder rates fell from 5.6 to 4.7 (preliminary estimate) per 100,000. This represents a 16% drop. Overall violent crime fell by 18 percent. Meanwhile, the percentage of adults with permits has soared by 190%.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org