ALEXANDRIA, VA–A new report just released by the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) says lawful concealed carry of firearms continues to grow at an exponential rate even as issuance of concealed carry permits have slowed.
The report, authored by CPRC President John R. Lott Jr. and Rujun Wang says there has been 34% increase in permits nationwide since President Trump took office in 2016.
In 1999 CPRC says there were 2.7 million concealed handgun permit holders. Today, says the report, there are 19.48 million.
The report says that 554,589 adults in Colorado have concealed handgun permits as of June 30, 2020.
CPRC attributes a slowdown in permit issuance to several factors.
First, 16 states have passed “constitutional carry” laws that allow law-abiding citizens to carry a concealed weapon without needing a permit, which CPRC say skews the numbers when it comes to the number of people actually carrying concealed weapons.
Colorado is a “shall-issue” state, meaning that an applicant must be issued a permit if they meet all the statutory requirements, though the issuing agency does have some discretion if it can be proven the applicant may be a danger to themselves or others.
Second, the COVID-19 pandemic gave some states the excuse needed to shut down their permit application process for a time.
In Colorado, several Sheriff’s Departments, including Boulder and El Paso counties, initially shut down acceptance of new permit applications with the advent of COVID-19, but have since begun accepting new applications.
CPRC says overall, 7.6% of American adults have permits. “Outside of the restrictive states of California and New York, about 9.2% of the adult population has a permit,” says the report.
Colorado comes in at ninth place in CPRC’s ranking of states by the percent of the adult population with permits at 12.33%, while Alabama stands at the top of the list at 28.45%.
There has been a substantial increase in women and minorities obtaining permits.
“In 2020, women made up 26.4% of permit holders in the 14 states that provide data by gender. Seven states had data from 2012 to 2019/2020, and permit numbers grew 101.2% faster for women than for men,” the report says.
Only three states have detailed race and gender data going back at least 10 years, but CPRC say they show “remarkably larger increases in permits for minorities compared to whites.”
The report says, “From 2015 to 2019/2020, in the four states that provide data by race over that time period, the number of black people with permits increased almost 55.6% faster than the number of whites with permits. Asians appear to be the group that has experienced the largest increase in permitted concealed carry, growing 62.9% faster than whites.”
The report goes on to note that concealed carry permit holders are remarkably law abiding, even more so than police officers.
“It is very rare for permit holders to violate the law. In order to appreciate how incredibly rare these violations are, one needs to remember that there are over 19.48 million permit holders in the US. Indeed, it is impossible to think of any other group in the US that is anywhere near as law-abiding,” says the report.
“Among police, firearms violations occur at a rate of 16.5 per 100,000 officers,” the report says. “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. But there’s no need to focus on Texas and Florida — the data are similar in other states.”
The report is available here.