(courtesy crimepreventionresearchcenter.org)

John “More Guns, Less Crime” Lott has created a new gun rights org dedicated to arming armed Americans with the truth about guns. Well, the facts. crimepreventionresearchcenter.org’s opening salvo: Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States. Click here to read the study, which is as stat-heavy as you’d expect from the Lottster. Summarizing the summary, “a total of 11,113,013 Americans currently hold concealed carry permits representing 4.8 percent of the total population . . .  concealed carry has grown overall due to both more states allowing it and more and more people in each state getting permits.” Lott reckons the number of good-to-stow Americans is actually greater . . .

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.

As TTAG commentator CBI notes below, the five percent stat represents the number of concealed carry permit holders as a percentage of America’s adult population. Equally, that’s about 13 times the number of federal, state, and local sworn law enforcement officers.”

There’s a Lott more in the study regarding rising ownership correlated with falling crime rates. As other observers have noted, the rising number of Americans carrying firearms may not be responsible for the drop, but it certainly indicates that concealed carry doesn’t increase crime rates. To say the least.

62 Responses to John “More Guns, Less Crime” Lott: 562 of American Adults Have Carry Permits

  1. Small statistical correction: 11,113,013 concealed carriers represent about 3.5% of the nation’s 317 million plus population. I believe he meant to say that it represents 4.8% of the *adult* population.

    Still, a fair-sized and likely statistically valid sample, numbering about 13 times the number of federal, state, and local sworn law enforcement officers.

    • Which means 96.5% of the population are prey to what ever predator may be about. They just have not had it made obvious to them. Yet.

      I started carrying when a human predator tried mugging me. I wonder what percentage of those that carry do so because they had a Close Encounter of The Predator Kind?

      Hey Robert; has a poll already been done for this question? If not, maybe one should be done..

      • Not necessarily. They benefit indirectly from the rest of us. A criminal can’t distinguish the adult with a gun from the 19 unarmed ones until it’s too late.

      • That’s not necessarily true. For starters, as mentioned, some states have constitutional carry; meaning that no permit is required to carry a sidearm. Some of those states may still issue a permit nonetheless, so that their residents may carry out of state in states with which their home state has a reciprocity agreement. However, not ever concealed carrier takes advantage of that. So simply counting the number of permit holders in such states would miss a number of legal carriers who don’t have the permit or where there is no permit offered.

        Moreover, a great many people work at home or are retired. These people may be armed to the teeth and may not leave home very often. Some of the elderly and some rural people fall into this category. That’s a different issue from public carrying, of course, but does address your point that such people are completely vulnerable.

        Finally, and more to the point of daily carrying, some people in some states, such as Texas, may not have the concealed carry license offered and don’t enjoy constitutional carry. However, the law does allow concealed carry within one’s vehicle. For many people, carrying a self defense sidearm just in their vehicle provides them with the public protection option that suits them, without the added expense and regulatory burden of a license. They figure they primarily commute only between home and work, and aren’t able to carry at work anyway, so carrying only in their car without a license is an option. These people should be included in the public carrying total, but are missed by a count of permits.

    • That should be 4.8 percent of the adult population that legally carries. No one is counting all the punk ass gang bangers and others of the criminal persuasion who carry illegally. Which actually would be an interesting number to know–assessing the risk and all.

  2. I’m working on joining the newly minted CC’ers in Illinois. That is a VERY encouraging number! Now if only there was reciprocity between Illinois & ANY other state…

    • Idaho recognizes carry permits issued by ANY state. It would sure be nice if that courtesy were reciprocated. If and when the Supreme Court rules that every state must recognize any marriage license issued by any other state, we will use that decision to force reciprocal recognition of carry permits by all states – including CA, IL, NY, MA, CT, etc. Unintended consequences, Mr. Bloomberg’s Mommies ….

        • The gay marriage issue is likely to be decided on Article. IV, Sections 1 and 2 of the Constitution:
          Section. 1. “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.’
          Section. 2. “The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.”

          Gay marriage licenses issued by Connecticut would be no different, constitutionally, from Concealed Weapons Licenses issued by Idaho. They are both a “public act, record [or] proceeding” of a state.

    • I wish you guys have reciprocity too. I recently visited Chicago (I am from Michigan) to see the art institute and to let the wife do some shopping. At first I was disappointed I couldn’t bring my piece on a MI CPL but as I traversed downtown for a few days I realized 60% of the businesses had no gun signs anyway (I joked with my wife they were “no Beretta 92FS signs because that is the gun pictured.) So All the gun would have done is sit locked in the hotel safe anyway. (actually the hotel had a no gun sign so that would have been disappointing too.) So I was stuck with an SOG folder for SD.

      Personally, I am giving the people of Chicago time to realize CPL does not equal Wild Wild West. They will open things up once they realize see how well it actually works. Just look how Detroit is fighting back.

      • I think a group like “MOMS” went around to the businesses with the sign in hand and the owners took a “what the heck” attitude basically because any guns up to that point that had been in the business were carried by thugs, contrary to all Chi laws. They have not changed their psychology yet, they just feel “safer” with the sign up.
        Businesses will change, move or the signs will be taken down for remodeling, will fade or not be replaced. Without constant pressure from antis, the No Berretta signs will go away.

        • Businesses will change, move or taken down for remodeling and the signs will fade or not be replaced. Without constant pressure from antis, the No Berretta signs will go away.

          Unless the city fathers make renewing a business license a lot easier when you put the sign up. (“Unoffically” of course.)

      • Keep in mind that the ‘no gun’ sign applies only to loaded or on-body carry, it does not apply to transportation or storage. If a firearm is unloaded (chamber empty, no magazine/rounds in cylinder) and enclosed in a case of any kind (such as a zippered bag) then you are transporting it, not carrying it, and you can bring it just about anywhere you want (except for places like courthouses and cop shops, or schools).

    • Several other states such as mine will honor Illinois concealed carry licenses. The problem is that Illinois will not any other state’s concealed carry license. Not that I will ever have any reason to travel to Illinois, but even if I did, I refuse to pay their $300+ fee for a non-resident Illinois concealed carry license.

      • Stay away from Illinois. Chicago is a killing zone and the political climate here is very anti-gun. The state is infested with Democrats and liberal Republicans, kinda like the V.C in VietNam. We got concealed carry only because a federal judge dictated that the state was in violation of the 2nd amendment and a remedy had to be found. Remember, this is no longer the Land of Lincoln, but the Land of Obama. It is a crime-ridden, bankrupt, and corrupt state, but still blessed, fortunately, with many good citizens who still have their heads screwed on right.

  3. Interesting data. Good to see WA representing so well in the top % of carry permits based on population. Really surprised to see some others so low (Texas???).

    • Several things are going on there:
      1) The famous Texas culture only still exists in rural areas, which are pretty far and wide, but don’t forget we have 3 of the 10 largest cities in the US and dozens more large cities. City people in general don’t mess with guns. There’s actually a shocking number of liberals in our cities.
      2) Also Mexicans in general are less likely to tool up in my personal estimation, and we have a very large Mexican/American population.
      3) The ones that do live in the rural areas don’t usually get CHL’s. Not trusting the man and giving up their fingerprints and all that stuff. They have guns at home and in the car legally, and maybe that’s enough, or maybe some carry illegally.

      • Just want to make a minor comment concerning your post. In one sentence, you said, “we have a large Mexican/American population”
        This is a term used loosely, although not correct. Mexicans who cross the boarder illegally, and also the ones who immigrate into this country through due process are NOT Americans, until they become a citizen. The term “American” has nothing to do with location, but rather your citizenship. If I should migrate to another country, I am still an American, and should not be called a “Canadian” if that was the country I went to. Once I become a citizen of that country, then I could be called a “Canadian” If I retained my American citizenship I’m guessing I could be called an American Canadian. Correct me if I’m wrong.
        When the Latino organizations in this country talk about how many “Mexican Americans” there are in this country, so they can be better herd, I’m guessing they are including all people of Mexican blood, many of which are in no way American.
        An example: My wife immigrated into this country, and was to considered to be a Filipino, until she gained her US citizenship. After that, she could rightfully called a Filipino American.

        • Palm to face.

          “Mexican-American” refers to Americans of Mexican heritage. I can only surmise that he was talking about Americans of that persuasion.

          Then again, maybe some of the “Mexican-Americans” in Texas are more properly referred to as Tejanos, if their ancestors were there at the founding of the Lone Star Republic. I don’t know.

      • The four major cities (Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio) may be liberal, as many major cities are, but that doesn’t mean that geographically the cities are low on concealed carriers. Our cities swell in population during the day as commuters from the suburbs arrive, many of whom are armed. Other people come into the city in the evenings or on weekends for and are likewise armed.

    • There are a lot of gun owners in Texas, but not a lot of gun owners with CHLs…

      I never understood why.

      Even my family is like that, all proud, gun owning Texans, and only two of us have CHLs. It’s beyond my understanding.

      • Just a guess, but I think the reason might be because Texans are so use to having guns around, it’s just a natural thing, and they don’t bother with a permit.
        Correct me if I’m wrong, I may well be.

        • It’s possible.

          I think people, in general, are just too busy/lazy/cheap to get the CHL.

      • Of course I can only speak for myself as a former Texas resident of seven years I did not get my CHL until I had been there for six years. I waited in part because being military I was unable to carry five days a week during the majority of the time I was out and about and many of my fellow military members hesitated on getting their CHL for the same reason. The other driving reason was time. For most of those five years I was a nights and weekend student and then a new husband and father so taking 10 hours out of my weekend to go do my CHL course just was not feasible.

        While I knew a very large number of federal workers and contractors during my time in Texas who did have their CHLs I knew an even larger number who didn’t get theirs for the same reason I did not and suspect that pattern is replicated across military bases and federal working strongholds across the state.

        With the recent change in the requirement from 10 hours of “training” to I believe only 4 I think you are likely to see some major growth as people are more willing to give up half a day on the weekend or have one lone weekday night to get their CHLs. It would be interesting to see the percentage growth in applications from the year before the change and the year after.

  4. From having studied the mathematics of “social trends,” I think that when we get somewhere between 5 to 10% of people having CCW’s, and let’s say 5% of the populace actually carrying most all of the time, we start to reach a tipping point to where the anti-gunners will have well and truly lost the larger argument.

    The net result will be that the anti-gunners will increase their ferocity and venom to defend their little enclaves of barely-issued CCW’s and in the rest of the country, the anti-gunners will be very unwelcome as having a CCW becomes almost as normal as having a driver’s license.

    • Dyspetic,

      I have thought about the same idea a bit myself. My personal opinion is that the tipping point will occur when 10% of eligible adults carry regularly pretty much everywhere. (When I use the term “eligible adults”, I am referring to people between the age of 21 and roughly 75 years old or whatever age when people lose the physical ability to safely and effectively use a firearm.)

      I chose my number for the public implications. Stop at a restaurant with 30 “eligible adults” and three of them are probably armed. Go into a large grocery store with 200 adult patrons and 20 of them are probably armed, etc. etc. etc. At that point, long persistent cries from gun grabbers that only “crazy” people are armed and blood will be flowing in the streets is obviously not true.

      That number will start to impact violent criminals as well. No violent criminal will attempt to rob a grocery store with 200 patrons because 20 of the patrons are probably armed. And that restaurant with 30 adults? Three of them are probably armed which isn’t good for criminal “business”. Even a one-on-one armed robbery or assault means about 1 out of 10 victims are armed. Again, that is not good for criminal “business”.

      • Exactly. You’ve laid out the knock-on consequences of why I think somewhere between 5 and 10% of the (eligible) adult population having a CCW and maybe 5%+ carrying. Suddenly a whole lot of cherished ideas of the anti-gunners (which are usually nothing more than projections of their mental incontinence and inability to control themselves) don’t materialize, regardless and in spite of the number of people carrying.

        Suddenly, even undecided, sane people not inclined to ever own a gun start to look at the anti’s classic “projection arguments,” and also at the spittle-flecked lunatics spouting them.

        Then I’d hope the undecided, sane people will say “You know, you anti-gun types seem to have ‘issues’. Maybe you should see someone for that. Maybe you should check yourself into a psych ward or something, because it’s pretty clear that a large number of adults in the population are a whole lot more responsible and sane than you are.”

    • If you want 5% of the population carrying most of the time, you will need significantly more than 5%-10% of the population to have CCWs. I remember reading a survey which indicated most people with CCWs don’t actually carry on a daily basis.

      • And increasingly, I’d trust those surveys about as much as I would those surveys of some random phone-call survey company calling people up and asking “Do you own guns?”

        I don’t know about you, but I’ve been answering “no” to those sorts of questions when asked by anyone for 15 years now.

        If someone who isn’t a “person of the gun” asks me “do you have a CCW?” (other than a cop), my usual answer is “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” and I change the subject. I have no idea what these people are going to do with the information, and I preach that most people, like real security pro’s, shouldn’t discuss their security with outside people.

        Most younger people agree with me. They don’t give the survey-takers any joy, regardless of what the question is. Gram and Gramps – hey, they thought it was special to get a call from the Gallup organization. Kids, who are more aware of how far that information can go in seconds, tend to clam up.

    • The other tipping point you cross is the crime prevention one. If 5% of adults carried then every mugging would have a 1 in 20 chance of ending well. Thugs wouldn’t have to roll those dice very often to realize the game had changed. Where exactly that tipping point is I don’t know but I don’t think it would have to be very high, maybe even as low as this supposed 5%.

  5. How pathetic. NYC has more CCW holders than the entire state of New Jersey. So which has the more draconian gun laws?

  6. You are telling me… I need a permit to practice my constitutional AND God given right to self defense?

  7. I’m going to read this thing, but putting it in white font on a red background is a TERRIBLE decision. Just a really really poor idea. More difficult to read, more difficult to print, etc.

  8. ***Please note, I’m throwing numbers around very loosely for generalized ideas of how much firearm owners spend.***

    if your undies get bunched up by theoretical rough numbers, please close your eyes, and scroll down.

    I don’t know what every state’s permit costs are (Several states do not require permit costs, no?), but calculating that number according to WV’s $115, not including the cost of the class required beforehand… that is $1,277,996,495 in processing and application fees. Even a quarter of a 1.27 billion dollars is a lot of cash. Reapplication fees in WV are every five years, too.

    Lets calculate if every CCW’er was required to take a(n estimated) $50 class to become “qualified”: = $555,650,650 Stimulating economy, no?

    5% of WV’s population is 92,750. on that basis, $= 10,666,250 over five years for application and processing, then (estimating $50) = $4,637,500 for our required class.

    Hunting and game fees bring a ton of money to the state also.
    http://www.wvdnr.gov/hunting/huntlicense.shtm

    Oh, here’s 2010 data for how many deer were harvested – http://www.wvdnr.gov/2011news/11news004.shtm

    Firearms are a shit ton of money to the economy. Hypothetically, if 105,000 deer were shot with a .223/.556 round at a hypothetical cost of $0.25 a piece, that is still TWENTY SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS in ammo 😮

  9. The main thing that’s stopping me from getting my CC permit is a lack of confidence in my ability to put rounds on target. Once I fix that I’ll start carrying.

    • also remember to see what beyond any target, when the adrenaline is going its tough to keep on target. knowing whats behind you may save you from accidently hurting or destroying something

    • Jim, let me say first that I commend you on your responsible attitude towards firearm ownership and use.

      That said, you should get your CC sooner than later.

      A. There may come a moment when you need to lawfully transport your gun on your person, not necessarily for defensive purposes, and having that permit will enable you to do so.

      B. The vast, vast majority of defensive gun uses involve no shooting at all. God forbid any of us every have to experience such a situation, but if you do, just being armed could save your life or that of a loved one.

      C. Self-defense shootings, rare as they are, are almost never at 25 yards out. In fact they’re usually at less than 3 yards. As long as you can get decent hits at 10 feet or less, you should tool up and, of course, keep practicing.

      D. Just being licensed, even if you never carry, adds to the stats in our favor.

  10. An interesting aspect of the concealed carry demographic is how heterogeneous the armed population is. The popular stereotype of gun-loving-bubbas (of which I am one . . . ahem) walking around with concealed weapons is belied by the teachers, moms, dentists, and other well educated professionals who are not only armed but have recently become active shooting enthusiasts. You really can’t tell who is and isn’t armed anymore. That’s a good thing.

  11. As 2A supporters, why are we so happy about people having to aski permission from the state(licensing) for something that is a constitutional right?

    • Until the law changes, we would rather be able to carry legally than to be locked up on a misdemeanor charge for up to a year-or felony charge for longer with attendant loss of gun rights (California it is a wobbler), or in the alternative a heavy fine and community service. And the loss of the gun being carried, the loss of money to attorneys and fines, and maybe loss of job and home. Seems a reasonable trade off if CCWs are available.

  12. I’m guessing it’s a little more than that, since in several states like AZ or VT, you can CC without permit or “permission” from the State government.

    Several years ago, when I went to get my permit papers for CC (mainly for reciprocity purposes), I noticed most of the others getting it were women.

  13. A silly but obvious question —

    11 million adult CCW/CHL/CPL permit holders means there’s twice as many people have gone through the process of licensing, background checks, medical records checks, applications, permitting fees, mandatory training classes and performed the mandatory proficiency testing…

    … than all gun owners, everywhere, of all ages, who have joined the NRA?

    Anyone see anything wrong with that?

    The NRA, whatever its faults, is still the leading organization for protecting gun rights in the USA. And it added a million members since the most recent gun-control push, but still… why is the membership so paltry? If there are an estimated 100 million gun owners in this country, why isn’t the NRA membership 10x higher than it already is?

    It’s not like it’s hard to join the NRA. Heck, if you buy any Taurus, they give you a free membership.

    The gun control crowd likes to demonize the NRA as just a gun manufacturer’s lobby. I think the NRA opens themselves up to such criticism by taking contributions from the gun manufacturers. But if the membership roster was 50 million members, instead of just 5 million, can you imagine just how influential the NRA would become? I would dare say that talk of classifying the NRA as a “terrorist organization” would probably disappear once it became clear that there were 50 million American citizens on its membership rolls. And attempts to dismiss it as “a lobbying arm for the gun manufacturers” would be much more difficult if the NRA had a larger membership than the AARP!

    The AARP has 40 million members. Why does the NRA have only five million?

  14. I’m an Arizona resident, and the only reason I got a CCW permit is because I can skip the background check when I buy guns. Even with our “loose” and “easy” laws here, the cost was well over $100, and it was still a bit of a hassle. I’d expect there are a lot more than 5% who carry here, and many are doing it without permits just because of the cost/hassle to get one (and it really doesn’t give you many benefits in this state).

    • Story I hear is that AZ no longer requires a license for OC or CC. You get licensed for other reasons in AZ, skipping the 4473 is one of them.

  15. According to the report Shannon Watt’s own state of Indiana has the second highest percentage of concealed carrier holders at 10.79%, which of course is more than twice the national average.

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