The Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) has released a new report showing that as concealed carry has grown a tremendous degree in recent years, crime is dropping. The study wisely does not try to stretch and claim that correlation equals causation, as there are too many variables involved to make such a definitive statement.
That allowed, the Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership (DRGO) review of the study was quick to note that the murder and violent crime rates in constitutional carry states is lower than that of the states who greatly restrict concealed carry.
In the typically meticulous and granular detail criminologist John Lott is famous for, Lott and his CPRC researchers gathered from each individual state their records of the number of concealed carry permit holders. They compared that updated total to another report completed by the federal Government Accountability Office three years ago, which had found there were at least 8 million license holders as of December 31, 2011.
Lott’s group, using the state-by-state analysis (sometimes even drilling down to the county level to verify numbers of licenses), found the number had by June 2014 increased to well over 11.1 million. Further, they noted that for several reasons their study likely undercounts the number of license holders. None of the licenses in New York State were counted, since numbers are not available for that state. And as of this report, five states and most of Montana don’t even require a license or permit to carry (permitless or constitutional carry). That number has since increased to ten states, as a new wave of constitutional carry laws has begun, much the same as the wave of shall-issue licensing laws in recent years.
Another interesting side note of the study—murder and violent crime rates in constitutional carry states are much lower than in states with the lowest percentage of permit holders. By the predictions of concealed carry opponents, the streets of those states that allow permitless concealed carry should be running with blood compared to states like California that severely restrict the right to carry. But in fact the opposite is true.
The executive summary of the report (PDF) is illuminating:
- The number of concealed handgun permits is increasing at an ever-increasing rate. Over the past year, 1.7 million additional new permits have been issued – a 15.4% increase in just one single year. This is the largest ever single-year increase in the number of concealed handgun permits.
- 5.2% of the total adult population has a permit.
- Five states now have more than 10% of their adult population with concealed handgun permits.
- In ten states, a permit is no longer required to carry in all or virtually all of the state. This is a major reason why legal carrying handguns is growing so much faster than the number of permits.
- Since 2007, permits for women has increased by 270% and for men by 156%.
- Some evidence suggests that permit holding by minorities is increasing more than twice as fast as for whites.
- 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 156%. Overall violent crime also fell by 25 percent over that period of time.
- Regression estimates show that even after accounting for the per capita number of police and people admitted to prison and demographics, the adult population with permits is significantly associated with a drop in murder and violent crime rates.
- Concealed handgun permit holders are extremely law-abiding. In Florida and Texas, permit holders are convicted of misdemeanors or felonies at one-sixth the rate that police officers are convicted.
The study notes that the murder rate and overall violent crime rate in the United States has plummeted 25% from 2007 to 2014 as the concealed carry rate has grown 156%.
One thing that may shock the mainstream media is the accelerated growth of lawful concealed carry among minority populations, which is growing far faster than the rate for white gun owners. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) began nothing a trend several years ago that the fastest growing segments of the firearm market were young, urban, and female. While the mainstream media would like to continue to promote the stereotype of gun owners as “fat old white guys,” the trend (noted in the chart pulled from the study, above) is clearly towards increased minority concealed carry.