ALEXANDRIA, VA–A new report from the Crime Prevention Research Center analyzes the spread of legal concealed carrying of firearms nationwide. There has been a 304% increase in concealed carry permitting since 2007. In 2018 alone more than 1.8 million new permits were issued nationwide.
The September report says that Colorado, with more than half a million permits issued, is eleventh on the list of all states by percentage of people with concealed carry permits at at 11.29%.
Top of the list as a percentage of population is Alabama, where more than 26% of residents have permits as of June 2019.
Florida ranks 13th at 10.45%, but by number of permits is at the top, with more than 2.03 million permits issued as of July 2019
At the bottom of the list is Hawaii, with 0%. Since 2000, records from the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General show that 183 private citizens have applied for a concealed or open carry permit. All have been denied.
Minorities and women continue to benefit most of all from changes in concealed carry permitting.
“Eleven states, with about 5.4 million permit holders between them, have reported permit data by gender for 2019,” the report states. “Among those states, women averaged 26.5% of permit holders – a half of one percentage point increase over 2018.”
“Five states have data on permit issuance by race for 2012 and 2018,” the report continues. “In these states (Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Oklahoma, and Texas) the number of permits grew at a 20% faster rate for blacks than for whites.”
Accurate statistics about how many people legally carry a concealed weapon are difficult to come by in the 16 states that now allow “constitutional carry,” meaning no permit is required. On November 1, Oklahoma became the 16th state to authorize concealed carry without a permit. But even in those states some people choose to get permits so that they can legally carry concealed in other states under reciprocity agreements.
Violent crime has continued a steady decrease since 1999 while concealed carry permits have seen an exponential increase.
“There were 2.7 million concealed handgun permit holders in 1999, 4.6 million in 2007, 8 million in 2011, 11.1 million in 2014, and now 18.66 million in 2019. The growth in permits has been continuous,” says the report. “At the same time that there has been an exponential growth in permits, there has been a general linear decline in murder and violent crime rates. Murder rates fell from 5.7 to 5.3 per 100,000, a 7% drop. Overall violent crime fell by 24 percent.”
The report also says that citizens with concealed carry permits are far less likely to be involved in criminality than the general public and even police officers.
“In order to appreciate how incredibly rare these violations are, one needs to remember that there are over 18.66 million permit holders in the US,” says the report. “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 just 1/7th of the rate for police officers…the data are similar in other states.”
“For the U.S. population as a whole, the crime rate was 37 times higher — 3,813 crimes per hundred thousand people,” the report continues.
While Colorado has seen a slight rise in violent crime and murder since 2014, rising from 305 per 100,000 people to 361 per 100,000 in 2017, the latest year for which full statistics are available, Colorado’s violent crime rate still remains below the national average of 393.9 per 100,000 people.
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