New report: More than 14.5 million now licensed to carry

Licensed concealed carry is up sharply according to a new report. (Dave Workman photo)
Licensed concealed carry is up sharply according to a new report. (Dave Workman photo)

A new report from the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) says that there are now more than 14.5 million Americans who are licensed to carry across the United States, an increase of 1.73 million newly-armed citizens since last year’s report was published.

According to the CPRC, this means that 6.06 percent of the nation’s adult population now has permits or licenses. An abstract of the report may be read here.

Three states – Florida, Texas and Pennsylvania – now have more than a million residents who have active permits, the report noted.

This has been a continuing trend for several years. Anecdotal information from the states shows that the steady increase is often spurred by incidents like the mass shootings at San Bernardino and Orlando. Even the attacks on police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge contribute a sense of uncertainty among the general public.

Another revelation from this year’s report is that in 11 states, permits are no longer required to carry in all or nearly all of those states. This is called “constitutional carry” based on how people have carried for more than a century in Vermont. At one time, permitless carry was dubbed “Vermont-style carry.”

In ten states, the report noted, more than ten percent of the adult population is licensed to carry, and Indiana has the highest rate at 15 percent. South Dakota is running a close second, with 14.7 percent.

Between 2012 and 2016, the report added, in states that break down their data by gender, the number of licensed women has increased twice as fast as the number of men who are licensed. In Washington State, for example, about one in five people with a concealed pistol license are female.

This doesn’t even touch on the growing number of people involved in the Open Carry movement, which seems to be expanding across several states.

While gun control advocates insist that the number of American gun owners is decreasing, there is anecdotal evidence that perception may be all wrong. Following the terror attacks both here and abroad, gun shops reported a significant number of first-time gun buyers came through the doors.


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