New data on licensed concealed carry from the Crime Prevention Research Center shows a slight decline in the number of active carry permits and licenses nationwide, and the report from CPRC founder and CEO John Lott points to the adoption of so-called “constitutional (permitless) carry” laws in 27 states.
The 71-page report, released on the final day of November, comes coincidentally within hours of an update from the Washington State Department of Licensing, which also revealed a tiny drop in the number of active Concealed Pistol Licenses in the embattled Evergreen State. As reported by Ammoland News here, the state—and particularly the city of Seattle—is in the midst of a violent crime surge which has Seattle setting a new homicide record.
As of Friday morning, the popular “X” (formerly Twitter) site Seattle Homicide is reporting 71 murders so far this year.
2023 YTD Total: 71*
2023 Fatal Police Shootings: 0
2022 Total: 57
2022 Fatal Police Shootings: 3
10 Year Average: 31.5
Record High: 71 in 2023
*Includes the death of Baby Kwon
— Seattle Homicide (@HomicideSeattle) December 1, 2023
The new CPRC concealed carry report shows the number of active licenses nationwide is down 0.5 percent from the record high set in 2022 of a staggering 21.8 million. The report acknowledges that the June 2022 Supreme Court ruling in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, which affirmed the Second Amendment right to bear arms extends beyond the front door of one’s home, did not result in a surge of carry permits/licenses.
“As more and more states decide not to require permits,” the report says, “the number of people who can legally carry a handgun will increasingly outpace the number of permit holders. The number of people who carry permitted concealed handguns is clearly related to the cost of getting permission. When there is no cost whatsoever, concealed carry becomes very popular.”
According to the CPRC, 8.4 percent of American adults are licensed to carry, but that percentage takes a leap when one excludes the states of California and New York. Then the national percentage spikes to about 10.1 percent. The number of active permits in Kentucky and Virginia fell slightly below 10 percent, while the number in Michigan and Oregon came up slightly, putting both states in the 10 percent category.
Six states now boast more than 1 million permit holders: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Florida has the most, at 2.56 million permits, which includes tens of thousands of non-resident licenses.
Lott told Fox News, “In the constitutional carry states, there was a drop. In all the other states, there was an increase.”
The Washington scenario might be the exception. Back on Jan. 3, the Department of Licensing reported 696,438 active CPLs. At the end of October, the number had bounced up to 697,206 but on Friday (Dec. 1), the total had receded to 696,407. In essence, the number of Washington licenses has remained fairly static, which might be blamed on several factors, including what appears to have been an exodus of gun owners to other states because of increasingly restrictive gun control laws pushed by anti-gun Democrats and out-going Gov. Jay Inslee. Laws banning so-called “assault weapons” and “large capacity magazines” are now being challenged in federal court.
Interestingly, according to the CPRC report, the Top Ten states based on the percentage of eligible adults include Washington. Here’s the breakdown:
- Alabama 27.75%
- Indiana 22.95%
- Colorado 16.55%
- Pennsylvania 15.44%
- Georgia 14.48%
- Iowa 13.82%
- Tennessee 13.15%
- Florida 13.07%
- Connecticut 12.67%
- Washington 11.63%
One other interesting revelation in this year’s update is that a survey CPRC conducted with McLaughlin and Associates “found that 15.6% of general election voters carry concealed handguns.” In all, more than 10 percent of eligible adults in 17 states are licensed to carry, the CPRC report says.
Also, buried in the report is another note: “At the same time that there has been an exponential growth in permits, there has been a general linear decline in rates of homicide and violent crime offenses. Except the extraordinary high rates of homicide offenses since the first year of the pandemic in 2020, the rate has dropped around 11% for the past two decades.”
The spread of constitutional carry has definitely changed the political and social landscape, and it has the gun prohibition lobby worried enough that Everytown for Gun Safety has launched a holiday season fundraising effort.
On the Everytown website, the group alleges that the “gun lobby has taken an extreme position that favors making it easier for people with dangerous histories to carry guns in public, and even eliminating the concealed carry permit requirement altogether.”
Gun owners can expect that sort of rhetoric to ramp up as the 2024 presidential and congressional campaigns heat up in 2024.
About Dave Workman