A new report has found that while gun sales hit record numbers in 2020, the growth in the number of concealed carry permits issued has slowed.
About 820,000 people obtained concealed carry permits for the first time in 2020, the lowest number recorded since the Crime Prevention Research Center began issuing annual reports in 2011. In 2019, the number of permit holders grew by 1.4 million; in 2018, the number grew by 890,000.
Researchers point to two factors to explain the slowed growth rate. Many states stopped or delayed issuing permits during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report mentions 13 states that stopped issuing permits for some period during the year: Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina (some counties), Ohio (some counties), Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington state.
In addition, 16 states allow residents throughout the state to carry a concealed firearm without obtaining a permit. Some residents still apply for a permit to carry in other states, but researchers expect the permit numbers to slow down as a result of these “constitutional carry” policies.
While the rate of growth may have slowed this year, other trends remain constant. Women and minorities continue to be among the demographics who are obtaining permits at the fastest rates. Not all states collect and publish demographic data, but the ones that do show a marked difference between various groups.
African Americans and Asian Americans appear to be obtaining permits at extremely fast rates. From 2015 to 2019/2020, in the four states that provide data by race over that time period, the number of black people with permits increased almost 55.6% faster than the number of whites with permits. Asians appear to be the group that has experienced the largest increase in permitted concealed carry, growing 62.9% faster than whites.
- In Texas, black females saw a 3.9 times greater percentage increase in permits than white males from 2002 to 2019.
- Oklahoma data from 2002 to 2019 indicated that the increase of licenses approved for Asians and American Indians was more than twice the rate for whites.
- North Carolina had black permits increase twice as fast as whites from 1996 till 2016.
SEE ALSO: NSSF Responds to Study that Claims Permissive Concealed Carry Laws Don’t Deter Mass Shootings
This year’s report also provides additional data proving that concealed carry laws do not result in higher violent crime rates. While concealed carry has increased exponentially since around 2000, murder and violent crime rates have dropped.
There were 2.7 million concealed handgun permit holders in 1999, 4.6 million in 2007, 8 million in 2011, 11.1 million in 2014, and now 19.48 million in 2020.
Five states now have over 1 million permit holders: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Florida is the first state to have over 2 million permits, but Alabama has the highest rate of permit holders at 28.5 percent.