A study released this month found that the number of concealed carry permits has increased almost 50 percent since 2016, reaching an all-time high.

The 75-page report, by Dr. John R. Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center, Carlisle E. Moody, Research Director and Professor at the College of William & Mary; and research associate Rujun Wang, was released on Oct. 11. It found that no less than 21.52 million people had active carry permits, averaging out to about 8.3 percent of the adults in the general population. 

This percentage shifted greatly among states, for instance, with Alabama having 32 percent of adults with permits while some restrictive "may issue" states like California, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, and Rhode Island all had abysmal rates of less than one percent with permits. 

"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," notes the report. "The eight states with that rule have issued permits to only 1.24 percent of their adult population compared to 10.77 percent for the other states."

Six states – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Texas – have over a million permit holders. The Sunshine State had the greatest number of permits in the country, topping 2.5 million, while Hawaii had the least, with zero (0). 

concealed carry map, showing density by population
Percentage of adults with concealed handgun permits (Chart: CRPC)

"These numbers are particularly topical given that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the concealed carry case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association V. Corlett in November," notes the report. "That case will determine whether those requesting permits need to provide a “proper cause,” which means a good reason for obtaining a permit."

Related: Supreme Court Accepts Major 2A Case on Carry Rights

The latest permit numbers are some 48.6 percent higher than in 2016 when President Trump was elected, even though now 21 states have adopted permitless carry practices, up from 11 in 2016.

The average cost of a concealed carry permit was $80.73, up $1.52 from the CRPC's previous report on CCW numbers. 

In states where the gender of permit holders is disclosed, 28.3 percent of holders were women, up from 26.4 percent in 2020. 

The full report, here

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