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JOHN LOTT: Concealed Carry Licenses Jump 10.5% in 2020, 8.3% of Adults Now Have Carry Permits

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Bad guys, listen up: John Lott has released a new report outlining the state of legal concealed carry in America. In it, he reveals a staggering 10.5% increase in carry licenses despite (because of?) COVID restrictions. Today, more than 8% of adult Americans have a license to carry a firearm. That number is 10% outside of restrictive, may-issue states.

The good people of Alabama are not only friendly, but they’re also well-fixed when it comes to packing heat. Almost a third of adults in the Yellowhammer State have a carry permit. Perhaps there’s some correlation between well-armed and well-mannered.

Meanwhile, almost a quarter of Indianans are licensed. And don’t forget that twenty-one states now don’t even require law-abiding folks to apply for a license to carry a firearm.

Hoplophobic harridans like Shannon Watts think, Gabby Giffords and Kris Brown think it’s just a bunch of old white guys who are getting licenses. It’s not the first time their woefully uninformed about guns and the people who own them. In states that report carry license data by gender, women applicants grew 108% faster than men.

Not only that, but new black applicants outstripped white applicants by 137%, and Asians out-applied Caucasians by 93%.

To read the whole thing, click here.  Here are some highlights:

Among the findings of our report:

■ Last year, the number of permit holders grew by a record 2 million. This is more than the previous record increase of 1.8 million in 2017. Part of that is due to many states reopening concealed carry applications after the pause due to COVID-19.

■ 8.3% of American adults have permits. Outside of the restrictive states of California and New York, about 10.0% of adults have a permit.

■ In fifteen states, more than 10% of adults have permits. Since 2019, Arkansas and Oklahoma have fallen below 10%, but they are now all Constitutional Carry states, meaning that people no longer need a permit to carry. Virginia’s concealed carry rate has risen to above 10%.

■ Alabama has the highest concealed carry rate — 32.1%. Indiana is second with 21.6%, and Iowa is third with 16.5%.

Six states now have over 1 million permit holders: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Florida is the first state to have over 2.5 million permits.

■ Twenty-one states have adopted constitutional carry for their entire state, meaning that a permit is no longer required. Because of these constitutional carry states, the nationwide growth in permits does not paint a full picture of the overall increase in concealed carry. Many residents still choose to obtain permits so that they can carry in other states that have reciprocity agreements, but while permits are soaring in the non-Constitutional Carry states, they fell in the Constitutional Carry ones even though more people are clearly carrying in those states.

■ In 2021, women made up 28.3% of permit holders in the 14 states that provide data by gender, an increase from the 26.4% last year. Seven states had data from 2012 to 2020/2021, and permit numbers grew 108.7% faster for women than for men.

■ Three states that have detailed race and gender data for at least a decade show remarkably larger increases in permits for minorities compared to whites. In Texas, black females saw a 6.3 times greater percentage increase in permits than white males from 2002 to 2020. Oklahoma data from 2002 to 2020 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.

■ From 2015 to 2020/2021, in the four states that provide data by race over that time period, the number of Asian people with permits increased 93.2% faster than the number of whites with permits. Blacks appear to be the group that has experienced the largest increase in permitted concealed carry, growing 135.7% faster than whites.

■ Concealed handgun permit holders are extremely law-abiding. In Florida and Texas, permit holders are convicted of firearms related violations at one-twelfth of the rate at which police officers are convicted.

■ If the Supreme Court strikes down the “proper cause” requirement in the eight May Issue states, we estimate that there could be at least 2.3 million more concealed handgun permits. The eight states with that rule have issued permits to only 1.24% of their adult population compared to 10.77% for the other states.

It’s good to see greater and greater numbers of Americans with licenses and packing heat.  I can remember back just six years ago when Professor Lott released a similar study that showed only 5.2% of adult Americans had a carry license at the time.

Onward from here. I’m looking forward to seeing 20% or more of adults with carry licenses within a few more years.

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