Push the panic button! There are now more than 15 million concealed carriers in the United States! This must mean the streets are running red with blood. The Hills Have Eyes People must be taking over, right? Crime must be through the roof!!! Don’t go outside! Whatever you do. Don’t. Go. Outside.
Yes, it’s true. Well, part of what I said is true, the part about there being now more than 15 million people with concealed carry permits. Yeah, that’s true. The part about the streets running red with blood, we’ll get to that.
According to The Crime Prevention Research Center, the number of permits soared from 14.5 million in July of last year to 15.7 million through May of this year, the largest one-year increase on record.
Economist John Lott, the founder of the pro-gun Crime Prevention Research Center, spoke to Fox News about the cause for the increase indicating that there’s been a rise in the number of women and minorities obtaining permits.
“I think you’re continuing to see a change in the composition of people who go and get permits,” Lott said. “Women are growing at a much faster rate than men.”
Specifically, between 2012 and 2016 the number of women seeking permits was twice that of men, according to Lott.
Lott also pointed to the fact that many states have made efforts to streamline the permitting process in recent years.
“You’re seeing states making it easier for people to go and get permits,” he said.
Now to the fun part. With more firearms in the hands of more citizens and with laws making it easier for citizens to carry, well that’s a recipe for abject disaster. Right? WRONG!
As the National Rifle Association conveniently notes in the Tweet below, between 2007 and 2015, the number of CCW permits increased by 215 percent. Meanwhile, the murder rate dropped 14 percent and the overall violent crime rate dropped 21 percent.
— NRA (@NRA) May 24, 2017
Now, as I’ve said for years, we should be cautious about saying that correlation equals causation, that is, more firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens definitely reduces crime. Yes, I know it’s tempting to say that based on the data. But the truth is there are a lot of factors that influence crime rates and to pin it all on one factor — the prevalence of firearms in the hands of good guys — is being a bit presumptuous given the complexity of the subject (It may, in fact, be true, it’s just really, really difficult to say for certain).
However, what we can say for sure and what we should shout from the rooftops is that a radical increase in the number of good guys with guns does not lead to an increase in crime! Not at all! And, anyone who disputes that observation is being intellectually dishonest based on the piles of data that prove otherwise.
Perhaps the most startling piece of evidence to make our case comes from a 2013 Pew Study that reviewed crime data collected from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now, it’s a little outdated but the overarching trendline with respect to crime remains true to this day.
“Compared with 1993, the peak of U.S. gun homicides, the firearm homicide rate was 49 percent lower in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation’s population grew,” stated the authors of the study. “The victimization rate for other violent crimes with a firearm—assaults, robberies and sex crimes—was 75 percent lower in 2011 than in 1993.”
Remember, over that period of time not only have states relaxed laws on the issuing of concealed carry permits, transitioning from ‘May-Issue’ and ‘No-Issue’ concealed carry standards to ‘Shall-Issue’ and Constitutional concealed carry standards, causing the number of concealed carriers to balloon but the federal ban on “assault weapons” expired in 2004.
What this means is that we are more highly armed and more free to carry than ever before and the result is a country of marauding Hills Have Eyes People. No, actually, it’s a statistically safer society. Funny how that works.
EDIT TO ADD: Someone requested more recent data for a better apples to apples comparison. No problem, here it is (from the U.S. Dept. of Justice).