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CCW has more than doubled since 2007, but homicides declined

John Lott's Crime Prevention Research Center has issued a new report on concealed carry in the United States.
Dave Workman

A new report released Wednesday by the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) reveals more than 11.1 million Americans now possess concealed carry permits and licenses, more than double the estimated 4.6 million who had licenses in 2007.

That 11.1 million number may be conservative, too. The report, which may be read here, acknowledges “numbers are not available for all states that issue permits.” It also does not account for the number of citizens carrying concealed in the four states, and most of Montana, where no license or permit is required to carry a concealed handgun.

Here in Washington State, the Department of Licensing last week confirmed to Examiner that more than 461,000 active concealed pistol licenses are in circulation. That was a bounce of more than 4,100 new CPLs since June 2.

Yet with all of these millions of legally-armed citizens in the United States, the FBI Uniform Crime Report data shows that homicides are down. That includes murders involving firearms. In 2007, according to the report, there were 14,831 homicides including 10,086 involving firearms. In 2012, the year for which the most recent data is available, there were 12,765 slayings, of which 8,885 involved guns.

Clearly, when anti-gunners talk about "30,000 deaths from gun violence" each year, they are tossing in suicides and accidents, as well as justifiable self-defense homicides. At best, that's disingenuous, but firearms activists say it is simply dishonest.

Veteran researcher John Lott is president of the CPRC. In that organization’s summary it notes that “8 million Americans held a concealed carry permit” three years ago, according to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

“The rapid increase in concealed carry permits is mirrored by the rapid increase in gun sales, “ the report states. “NICS background checks soared from 11.2 million to 21.2 million between 2007 and 2013. The sale of guns accelerated further over the last two years, averaging 14 million during 2008 to 2011 and over 20 million during 2012 and 2013”

All of this suggests that gun prohibitionists have been wrong, a subject Examiner discussed with author and Second Amendment expert Joyce Lee Malcolm yesterday. Even USA Today, in a story published on-line this morning, reported, “After the bloody Fourth of July holiday weekend in Chicago, which left 14 dead, and frequent reports of mass shootings, the public might easily conclude that gun violence is on the rise. The opposite is true.”

The report goes on to explain, “Most Americans are unaware that gun crimes have dropped over the past 20 years, with 56% stating that they think the crimes have gone up, according to a Pew Research Center survey.”

Another weekend is looming in Chicago. By Monday, one can expect more grim news, but the body count cannot be blamed on law-abiding gun owners who are tired of being penalized and demonized for things they haven’t done, and that will not be prevented by more erosion of their rights.