Story by Paul Bedard • 5h
The tripling of people with concealed gun permits combined with the majority of states that no longer license owners who want to carry means that someone near you right now is likely packing heat.
“It is very likely that any place that allows people to carry a concealed handgun will have someone carrying their gun,” said a new report shared with Secrets from John R. Lott’s Crime Prevention Research Center.
Lott has long followed the explosion in government-issued concealed carry permits. His 74-page report said that the percentage of people carrying guns rose from 5.4% in 2017 to 15.6% today.
Overall, he said, there are 21.8 million permits issued. That’s a decrease of 0.5% from last year.
But that’s not bad news for proponents of the Second Amendment and concealed carry laws.
Lott explained that the leveling off of permits is likely due to the surge in states that now allow citizens to carry their handguns without a permit. The growth of so-called constitutional carry states has reached 27 and is the biggest story in the gun world.
“In other words, people in those 27 states are allowed to carry concealed handguns without permits, representing 65% of the land in the country and 44% of the population in 2022,” his report said. “It is clear that more people are legally carrying".
“What does this mean in practice? It means that in most places where people are allowed to carry a concealed handgun, there will be someone carrying a concealed handgun. If the probability that any one person has a concealed handgun permit is 5.4%, in a room with 10 people, the probability that at least one person will have a permitted concealed handgun is 43%. In a room with 20 people, that probability goes up to 67%. With 40, that probability rises to 89%,” the report said.
The growth follows the surge in violent crime and increase in gun ownership in America, where for the first time a majority say that they live in gun-owning homes. The state permitting data his team reviewed found that black permitting is up 223%, Asian 163%, and women 23%.
He also said that in states where there is a high number of concealed carriers, crime is down.