Gun permits down 19.2 percent in first half of 2017

Permits for carrying handguns dropped 19.2 percent in the first half of 2017, according to federal data.

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System recorded over 5.1 million permit applications through June 30, down from nearly 6.4 million in June 2016.

Overall, data from the Crime Prevention Research Center and the National Rifle Association suggest concealed carry permits remain on an upward trajectory, increasing 215 percent between 2007 and 2015.

The largest single-year increase in permits came in May when existing permits topped 15.7 million, a 15 percent increase over 2016, according to CPRC founder John Lott.

Lott analyzes gun permit records every year, with his latest report due this month. He told Fox News in May he expects significant increases in state-level permit records based on data he’d collected so far.

“You’re seeing states making it easier for people to go and get permits,” he said.

Some 13 states allow permitless carry as of this year.

During a 2013 survey, Gallup reported 60 percent of gun owners said they keep a weapon for “personal safety or protection.” The analysts said past surveys also indicate Americans “tend to believe” a gun in the home or carrying concealed weapons “would do more to keep people safe than to put them at risk of harm.”