In the age of social media, it can be difficult to separate opinion from fact – especially for certain groups, like gun owners, where the information is considered controversial. Our feeds are overrun with fact-checkers, yet it feels like bias creeps in. Let’s set the record straight about concealed carry with 10 data-supported facts.

1. Good Guys with Guns Stop Bad Guys – 34.4% of Mass Shootings Stopped

 

  Dave Luu shoots the new Smith & Wesson Equalizer, touted as the company's top carry gun. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


If you’re a gun owner, you probably already know that good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns. Although the media rarely talks about it, we know it happens. It turns out these incidents are vastly underreported, even according to official government data.

In the fall of 2022, Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) released a report showing massive errors in the FBI’s Active Shooting Reports. The FBI claims that only 4.4 percent of mass shootings are stopped by an armed civilian, while CPRC data show this number is much higher at 34.4 percent. 

According to the CPRC, out of 360 active shooter incidents between 2014 and 2021, 124 were stopped by armed citizens. For reference, the FBI reported 252 active shooter incidents during the same period but stated only 11 were stopped by armed citizens. 

Gary Mauser, an emeritus professor at Simon Fraser University in Canada, says, “Whether deliberately through bias or just incompetence, the FBI database of active shooters cannot be trusted.” It seems our long-held instinct that armed good guys can stop armed bad guys holds true.
 

2. U.S. Has Over 22 Million Concealed Carry Permits

 

Smith & Wesson Shield Plus pistol with knife and keys
The U.S. has at least 22 million concealed carry permit holders, according to a November 2022 report. Smith & Wesson's Shield Plus pistol is shown here. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/Guns.com)


Since concealed carry isn’t something we broadcast in public, it’s difficult to know how many people are carrying when you’re out walking around. Unlike gun ownership surveys, where people hesitate to give up information, concealed carry permit numbers are based on actual data.

As of November 2022, the CPRC reports there are 22.01 million concealed carry permit holders in America. That number continues to grow, and between 2021 and 2022, the increase was 2.3 percent, or roughly 488,000 new permits. The CRPC notes this is the smallest increase since data collection began in 2011, likely due to many states adopting permitless carry.
 

3. Florida Tops List With 2.57 Million Permits


As of this writing, Florida has been a permitless carry state for two days. According to a CPRC report in November 2022, Florida had 2.57 million concealed carry permit holders. This is the largest number in any state in the United States.

Five other states have an impressive total of over 1 million each. Those states are Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Of these states, Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, and Texas do not require permits to carry concealed.
 

4. Alabama Has the Most Permit Holders Per Capita


The November 2022 CPRC report shows that Alabama has the highest percentage of concealed carry permits issued at 32.5 percent. This doesn’t necessarily mean it has the largest number of concealed carriers, though. Remember, states with permitless carry laws no longer report their numbers. 
 

5. More Women Are Carrying Concealed

 

woman with IWB concealed carry handgun
More women are carrying concealed every year. (Photo: Elizabeth Bienas/Guns.com)


The number of women getting concealed carry permits in our post-pandemic society is growing. Only 15 states report the data by gender, but in those states, women accounted for 29.2 percent of permit holders in 2022. That number is up from 28.3 percent the previous year. 
 

6. We Buy Guns for Protection


In a 2017 survey, Pew Research found that 67 percent of gun owners cited personal protection as the major reason they own a gun. By contrast, 38 percent cited hunting, 30 percent cited shooting sports, 13 percent cited collecting, and only 8 percent said the gun was for their job. 

The survey also shows that men (65 percent) and women (71 percent) are just about equal when it comes to personal protection being the reason they bought a gun. Men are higher in other categories like hunting and shooting sports. 
 

7. One-Third of Gun Owners Carry


As I mentioned above, we don’t really know how many gun owners there are in the U.S. That’s not tracked, and people aren’t always forthcoming on surveys. We can, however, collect data on those willing to participate in surveys.

A 2017 Pew Research survey found that about 26 percent of handgun owners say they carry most of or all the time, while 31 percent state they carry outside the home only some of the time. And finally, 43 percent claim they never carry outside their home. 
 

8. 9mm Is the Preferred Carry Round

 

9mm, .45 ACP, .38 AUTO, .40 S&W bullets
From left to right: 9mm, .45 ACP, .380 AUTO, and .40 S&W. Over half of concealed carriers prefer 9mm. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)


There’s long been a debate in the firearms community about defensive ammo. Some say .45 ACP is the only round that should be carried; others claim 9mm is better. The .45 guys argue bigger is better, and the 9mm fans like having more capacity.

I could write about this debate all day, but according to a 2020 Guns.com survey, 52.6 percent of people carry 9mm. That’s over half, and of course, .45 ACP isn’t the only other option. The other half would include rounds like .380 ACP and .22 LR.

The survey results aren’t surprising because most modern concealed carry firearms are chambered in 9mm. This doesn’t necessarily settle the debate of which round is better, but it does tell us which is more popular. 

*In a survey of Guns.com social media channels, 2,905 of 5,528 total respondents said they carry 9mm.
 

9. Concealed Carriers Prefer Glock

Everyone I know owns a Glock 19. Ok, that’s not a data-based fact, but maybe you feel the same way. Glocks are uber popular. The company has been around for a long time and is famous for making quality firearms for civilians, law enforcement, and the military.

In a 2022 Guns.com survey, 21.5 percent of people said they carry a Glock firearm. And I’d bet a good amount of those are Glock 19s, but there are other solid choices, too, like the Glock 48, 43, 26, and 17. Reliability matters when it comes to concealed carry, and Glocks have proven reliable over time.

*In a survey of Guns.com social media channels, 1,191 of 5,528 total respondents said they carry a Glock.
 

10. Concealed Carriers Are Law-Abiding


Data shows that concealed carry permit holders are incredibly law-abiding. And with over 20 million citizens holding a permit, they may be the most law-abiding group in the United States. For comparison, the CPRC compared permit-holders to police officers, another group that rarely breaks the law.

Firearms violations among police occur at a rate of 16.5 per 100,000 officers. By contrast, the rate is only 2.4 per 100,000 permit holders in Florida and Texas. We can look at the concealed carry permit revocation rates to understand how other states fare.

In 2016, the highest revocation rate of .2 percent occurred in Kentucky. The lowest was in Minnesota, with 0.001 percent. Across the board, revocation rates are low. It’s also important to note that people can lose their permits for traffic violations in some states, so it’s not always violent offenders.
 

Conclusion


As you can see, a lot of what the media claims to be true about gun owners and concealed carriers is simply opinion. It’s also easy to skew data one way or another when bias seeps in. I hope these facts will arm you with the data needed should you find yourself wanting to defend against anti-gun rhetoric. 

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