Pop Quiz: US Now Has 15 Million Concealed Carriers, And Crime Rates Are ______?

(Photo: Pew Research)

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.

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).

(Photo: Pew Research)

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).

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Mike May 29, 2017, 11:58 pm

    I believe you’re right not to take too much credit for reduced crime because there are more concealed permit holders. There may be a better than even chance that the banning of lead paint in the US in 1978 is playing a large unrecognized part in the reduction of crime rates in the US. The number of children that no longer had access to lead paint was slow to grow as older houses were gradually repainted. I contend that what we are seeing now is the result of that change as children who didn’t eat lead paint are reaching the early adulthood years and didn’t suffer the brain damage that earlier generations did, resulting in lower crime rates in general. Not that I advocate for an unarmed citizenry, politicians need to have a healthy fear of the governed. I have no plans to stop carrying concealed any time in the foreseeable future.

    • Mr. Sparkles January 29, 2019, 10:07 am

      Interesting, if convoluted, cause and effect scenario.

  • Stephan May 26, 2017, 4:25 pm

    Sure would be interested to,see,how this contrast with,places like Chicago, NY, DC. Etc….

  • Thomas shea May 26, 2017, 2:33 pm

    Bottom line for those who do carry. Having that weapon with you in the event of the arise of a bad situation: The weapon, good training, proper mindset increases the odds that you will come out of this alive.

  • Flock of Ravens May 26, 2017, 11:19 am

    Sorry, but this is all nonsense. In order to believe this, you have to believe that numbers gathered during the Obarfo years are anything but damned lies and statistics. If you do, you’re a Communist Liberal, whether you admit it or not, and just the kind of dupe the Deep State needs.

    President Trump told us all we know in his inaugural address when he referred to the “crime and gangs and drugs” behind the “American carnage.” The rest is Fake News. We all know the end times are near and that means things are getting worse, not better. The Holy Bible and President Trump don’t lie.

    • dwight May 27, 2017, 9:31 pm


    • Ian Jack May 30, 2017, 5:05 am

      What a load of bull shit.

    • Green tip January 31, 2019, 6:28 pm

      I for one, believe whole-heartedly ANY NUMBERS “gathered during Odumbo’s years in office” (which is SO regretful) is BOGUS and seriously misleading

  • Gerardo May 26, 2017, 11:14 am

    Correlation DOES NOT EQUAL causation.
    To think that concealed carry permits contribute to the crime rates are plain silly
    Do you really think a thug on the streets thinks about if a person has a gun or not before robbing ,raping,pillaging etc?
    I assure you that they do not
    Guns are just as much of a culture for them as it is the rancher in Montana
    Think about it do you think a rival gang member thinks about the other gang having guns? Of course he doesn’t he knows that the other gang has many guns
    But still the drive by happens
    They dont give 2 shits if you have a gun or not

  • Bill Myers May 26, 2017, 10:42 am

    I am looking for the chart showing 2010 to current and don’t see that?

    Why? If you’re proving that point, wouldn’t that make the most sense?
    Did I miss something?

    • S.H. Blannelberry May 26, 2017, 11:10 am

      Yeah, the UPDATE at the bottom of the article. See charts that show more recent data.

  • Michael S. Jordan May 26, 2017, 10:16 am

    The facts show how much less crimes are being committed now that concealed carry permits are more prevalent in certain states and parishes. It should get to a point where it is just as easy for a non felon citizen to obtain firearms as it is for violent felony offenders to obtain them because this is obviously a good thing and a crime deterrent.

  • Bertien May 26, 2017, 10:09 am

    Correlation DOES NOT EQUAL causation.
    6th grade science.

    • J.M Robinette May 26, 2017, 11:29 am


    • DaveGinOly May 26, 2017, 11:37 pm

      See my comment above.

  • Doc May 26, 2017, 9:47 am

    Except in Chicago. Come for a visit. Stay cuz you got murdered

  • Joe May 26, 2017, 9:34 am

    Nothing puts the fear of the Lord in the mind of the predator better than the thought of being outgunned by his or hers potential prey.

  • thomas jefferson May 26, 2017, 9:07 am

    The ONLY “permit” I need, is the 2nd Amendment! It outlines, for the intellectually challenged, my GOD-GIVEN, UNALIENABLE, INHERENT RIGHTS.
    Why oh why do you people continue to GROVEL before an elected or appointed bureaucrat (i.e.., public servant) and beg to fork over “money” to obtain a permit or license for a now, government granted privilege, when you can simply exercise a RIGHT for free?
    Glad I live in a Constitutional Carry state. Apparently my public servants can understand the difference between a right and a privilege.

  • joefoam May 26, 2017, 9:01 am

    Imagine what those numbers would look like if Chicago & Baltimore were taken out. Why can’t this info appear on the front page of our local newspapers instead of being buried on your website?

    • DaveGinOly May 26, 2017, 11:43 pm

      Liberals like to talk like firearms crimes are all-pervasive – all types of people are responsible for them. Ask them to name the last mass shooter who was an NRA member or a concealed carry holder. The fact is that the “firearms owners” (and use that term reservedly because to most anti-gun people that terms means “law-abiding” gun owner, who, for some reason they believe is a ticking time bomb, certain to become an active shooter some day) responsible for most shootings are an extremely small subset of the general public and an even smaller subset of “firearms owners.” A recent study showed that 70% of the shootings in Chicago happen within a single area that has only 6% of the city’s population.

  • nelson wood May 26, 2017, 7:48 am

    How cum you talk about the 7 years post-2010 as if they were real but don’t show crime trends beyond 2010? That is 6 years of information that should have been shown on the trend line chart to have an apples to apples comparison with the text of your article. NOT COOL!

Send this to a friend