REPORT: 1 in 20 Adults Have A Concealed Carry Permit In The US, And They’re Extremely Law-Abiding


A report issued by the Crime Prevention Research Center on concealed carry sheds light on how popular the practice is becoming.

The 27-page report was compiled by Dr. John Lott, and stresses that the true numbers of adults that have concealed carry permits does not represent the total number of adults that can carry, as the country has seven states that do not require permits to carry concealed.

In 2007, the estimated number of concealed carry permits across the US was 4.6 million. Fast forward to 2015, and the new estimate soars to 12.8 million. With these numbers, we can conclude that roughly 5.2% of the adult population has their concealed carry permit.

Murder And Violent Crime Rates Down While Concealed Carry Up

Also encouraging is the correlation between a drop in murder rates and violent crime, and the continued rise of issued concealed carry permits.

Between 2007 and 2014, murder rates have fallen from 5.6 to 4.2 (preliminary estimates) per 100,000. This represents a 25% drop in the murder rate at the same time that the percentage of the adult population with permits soared by 178%. Overall violent crime also fell by 25 percent over that period of time.

The graph below demonstrates the changes in both:

murder rates and violent crime down concealed carry permits up

Permit Holders Are Extremely Law-Abiding

The study also points out the statistics of just how law-abiding concealed carry permit holders are. For the study, they looked at a comparison between law-abiding concealed carry permit holders and police. From the study:

According to a study in Police Quarterly, the period from January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2007 saw an average of 703 crimes by police per year. 113 of these involved firearms violations. This is likely to be an underestimate since not all police crimes receive media coverage. The authors of the study may also have missed some media reports.

So how law-abiding are police? With about 685,464 full-time police officers in the US at that time, that translates into about 103 crimes by police per hundred thousand officers. For the US population as a whole over those years, the crime rate was 37 times higher — 3,813 per hundred thousand people.

Perhaps police crimes are underreported due to leniency from fellow officers, but whatever the reason the gap between police and the general citizenry is so vast that this couldn’t account for more than a small fraction of the difference.

Concealed carry permit holders are even more law-abiding. Between October 1, 1987 and June 30, 2015, Florida revoked 9,999 concealed handgun permits for misdemeanors or felonies.9 This is an annual rate of 12.8 per 100,000 permit holders. In Texas in 2013, the last year the data is available, 158 permit holders were convicted of misdemeanors or felonies – a rate of 22.3 per 100,000.10 Combining the Florida and Texas data together implies that permit holders are convicted of misdemeanors and felonies at less than a sixth the rate for police officers.

Firearms violations among police occur at a rate of 16.5 per 100,000 officers. Combining the data for permit holders in Florida and Texas, it is only 2.4 per 100,000.10 That is only 1/7th the rate for police officers. The data are similar in other states.

The Number Of Permits Continue To Rise

One thing’s for sure; Americans want to arm themselves, and they want to carry firearms with them. Between an overall change in attitude about firearms and concealed carry becoming more and more frequent, these numbers are expected to continue on their upward trend.

And with that, we expect to see a continued drop in the murder and violent crime rates. And that, friends, is a welcomed change. reached out to Everytown for Gun Safety for comment on the study and received the following statement from Everytown’s research director, Ted Alcorn:

“Numerous scholars and criminologists have looked at this in detail, and have concluded there’s no correlation between the prevalence of concealed carry permits and murder rates. The data in this report, cited to hyperlinks that are broken or compiled by known lobbying organizations, is difficult to even engage with seriously. Lott’s dogmatic search for patterns that fit his own beliefs is a tired distraction from the questions that actually matter to Americans: why our country’s rates of gun violence remain so high, and how we can do better to keep guns out of criminal hands.”


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About the Author

Brandon is the founder of Concealed Nation and is an avid firearm enthusiast, with a particular interest in responsible concealed carry. His EDC is a Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP, with a Shield Sights RMSC Red Dot, that holds Hornady 165 gr FTX Critical Defense rounds, and rides comfortably in a Vedder Holsters ComfortTuck IWB holster.

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