A report released  by the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) today reveals that at least 11.1 million Americans have valid concealed carry permits (PDF), and that the number of Americans who can lawfully concealed carry is actually much higher due to the fact that not all states have up-date-data, and the fact that four states (and most of Montana) does not require permits to carry concealed.

The last comprehensive report on the number of concealed carry permit holders was completed three years ago by the U.S. Government Accountability Office and showed that 8 million Americans held a concealed carry permit.

CPRC collected the most recent data available for each state and the results showed that there are total of 11,113,013 Americans who currently hold concealed carry permits representing 4.8 percent of the total population.

The number of concealed carry permit holders is likely much higher than 11.1 million because numbers are not available for all states that issue permits, such as New York. Additionally, four states and the majority of Montana do not require
that residents have a concealed handgun permit to carry within the state so the number of residents who carry a concealed weapon is not recorded.

The percent of the adult population with concealed handgun permits is determined by how difficult it is to get the permits, how long the permits have been available, and whether the government has discretion over who gets the

The report also examines the violent crime rate in relation to the rising percentage of the adult population with concealed carry permits. Between 2007 and the preliminary estimates for 2013, murder rates have fallen from 5.6 to 4.4 per 100,000 – a 22 percent drop in the murder rate at the same time that the percentage of the adult population with permits soared by 130 percent. Overall violent crime also fell by 22 percent over that period of time.

The report shows a dramatic rise in the number of permits during the Obama Presidency.

During the eight years from 1999 to 2007, the number of permits increased by about 240,000 per year. From 2008 to 2011,  they increased almost fourfold  to 844,000 net new permits per year, and from the end of 2011 to 2014 the yearly increase in permits issued has skyrocketed to 1,390,000 net new permits per year.

cprc chart 1

The data also shows that concealed carry permit holders are far more law-abiding than the average citizen and law enforcement officers as well. The report cited two states (Florida and Texas) where the data is especially well-documented, and found that police in Texas are six times more likely to commit crimes than concealed carriers, and in Florida, law enforcement officers are ten times more likely to commit crimes than concealed carriers. Considering police only commit crimes at a rate of 0.124 percent, that is a truly remarkable reflection on the level-headedness and rational behavior of concealed carry permit holders.

Florida is the state with the highest number of concealed carry permits with 1, 278,246 issued as of 2014, while Hawaii has the lowest number of permits, with just 183 as of their most recent data from January of 2010.

States with the highest number of murders have the lowest percentage of citizens with concealed carry permits.