AP Photo/AJ Mast, File

We learned from the FBI this week that violent crime and homicides declined in 2018. Now a new report from the Crime Prevention Research Center shows while crime is down, the number of Americans who possess a concealed carry license is growing. In fact, the number of concealed carry license holders grew by 1.4 million people to 18.66 million, and at this pace, will eclipse 20-million concealed carry holders in 2020. The new report notes that the rise in concealed carry licenses comes even as several more states have become “Constitutional Carry” states, where no license is needed for legal gun owners to lawfully carry.

In thirteen states, more than 10% of adults have permits, down from just fifteen last year. The three states that now fell below 10% are now all Constitutional Carry states – Arkansas, Oklahoma, and West Virginia, where people no longer need a permit to carry in their states. South Carolina was the one state that had been below 10% that was now above it.

According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, the state with the largest percentage of concealed carry holders is Alabama, where more than 1-in-4 adults possess the concealed carry license. Nationwide, about 7% of adult Americans have a concealed carry license, and Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Georgia each have more than 1-million concealed carry holders within their borders.

The number of concealed carry holders, as high as it is, would be even larger if states like California, New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts didn’t have “may issue” laws that greatly restrict the ability of legal, law-abiding gun owners to obtain a concealed carry license. In fact, this year’s report by the Crime Prevention Research Center contains evidence that LA County may be discriminating against minorities when issuing concealed carry permits.

Hispanics and women had much lower permitting rates than the general population and the rates that those groups obtained concealed handgun permits in places that don’t allow authorities discretion in determining whether people have a justifiable need to carry a gun for protection.

The full report by the CPRC also highlights individuals who’ve been denied a concealed carry license in their “may issue” state, despite having good cause to carry a firearm, including Californians who were denied even after taking out criminal protection orders, or receiving threats. Gun control activists love these discretionary policies that allow issuing authorities to deny people their right to carry for any reason, or for no reason whatsoever, but the evidence is clear that these policies prevent law-abiding Americans from exercising their constitutional right to bear arms.

The entire report is worth a read, and it clearly demonstrates that, despite the continued legislative, legal, and cultural attacks on the 2nd Amendment, the right of self-defense and the right to bear arms is only growing in popularity.