Study: There are Now More Than 12.8 Million Gun Carry Permits in the US

More than 5 percent of Americans now carry firearms

Protest in favor of gun carry / AP
July 16, 2015

Nearly 13 million Americans now have gun carry permits, according to a new study.

The Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC), a pro-gun nonprofit, released the Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States study Thursday, which reviews how many permits have been issued up to this point as well as how much that number has increased and how crime has been affected.

The study found that since 2007, the number of permittees in the United States has grown from 4.6 million to more than 12.8 million. The report found that 1.7 million new permits had been issued in the last year alone, an increase of 15.4 percent. The CPRC said that was the largest increase on record.

The 12.8 million people who currently hold permits account for 5.2 percent of the adult population, according to the CPRC. Additionally, they found that 10 states have issued permits to more than 10 percent of their adult population.

CPRC also said the true number of Americans who legally carry a firearm is likely higher than 12.8 million, since a number of states no longer require a permit to do so.

"Permits are not required in seven states (soon likely eight states) as well as virtually all of Idaho and Montana," the report said. "Generally, people in those states only obtain permits so that they can carry concealed when traveling outside of their home state. With no fees or other requirements, these seven states undoubtedly can be assumed to be the ones where people most frequently legally carry concealed guns."

The study also found that women are becoming a larger share of the gun carry community.

"Since 2007, permits for women has increased by 270 percent and for men by 156 percent," the study said. It also found some evidence  that suggested minorities have acquired permits at twice the rate of whites in recent years.

"There is also some very limited data on permit issuance by race," the study said. "Texas provides detailed information on both race and gender from 1996 through 2014. Their data indicates that permitting has increased fastest by blacks, followed closely by Asians. Indeed, while whites still hold the vast majority of permits, the number of black permit holders has grown more than twice as fast as the number for whites."

CPRC also found that crime rates in states with a higher percentage of adults who legally carry guns tend to have less violent crime and murder.

"The five states in 2013 that allowed concealed carry without a permit had much lower murder and violent crime rates than the five jurisdictions with the lowest permit rates," the study said. "Indeed, the murder rate was 33 percent lower in the states not requiring permits. The violent crime rate was 32 percent lower. (If Idaho and Montana are included in the list of states that allow carrying without permits, the results become stronger.) Murder and violent crime rates are also lower in the 25 states with the highest permit rates than the rest of the country."