More than 19.48 Million Americans Licensed to Carry


More than 19.48 million Americans are licensed to carry, according to a new CPRC estimate.

A few weeks ago (Insider Online, Oct. 9), we quoted John Lott, founder and president of the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC), estimating there are “about 19.5 million” people licensed in the United States to carry concealed.

Now, his full report on Concealed Carry in the U.S. is available at the CPRC website, and it confirms his estimate. At the time of this writing, the “official” estimate was 19.48 million, but by now that number could be even higher. With most states returning to “full service” for taking new applications and renewing existing concealed pistol licenses and permits, expect the number to hit 20 million probably by sometime early in 2021, if not sooner.

Lots may depend upon how next Tuesday’s presidential and congressional elections go, not to mention state legislative elections across the nation, so do not forget to vote (by or on) next Tuesday, Nov. 3. Vote like your Second Amendment Rights depend on it — because they do!

According to Lott’s summary of his updated report, “During President Trump’s administration, the number of concealed handgun permits has soared to over 19.48 million — a 34% increase over 2016. However, while gun sales have set records in 2020, the growth in concealed handgun permits has slowed as many states shut down their issuance of new permits. Unlike gun ownership surveys that may be affected by people’s unwillingness to answer personal questions, concealed handgun permit data is the only really ‘hard data’ that we have. Seventeen states no longer provide data on all the people who are legally carrying a concealed handgun because people in those states no longer need a permit to carry.”

Lott is the expert on this. To Insider’s knowledge, he’s the only guy in the country who annually does this estimate. With each annual climb in the numbers, the gun prohibition lobby gets a little crazier.

Insider lives in Washington State, where more than 10% of eligible adults are licensed to carry.
He’s been one of them for nearly five decades.

Are You in the 7.6%?

According to the 2020 CRPC report, approximately 7.6% of American adults are licensed to carry. Eliminate backward states such as California and New York — not to mention Maryland and New Jersey — and the percentage actually spikes upward to 9.2% of adults nationwide. But that’s not the whole story, either.

In 14 states, more than 10% of adults are licensed to carry. Those states are: Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Washington and West Virginia.

Five of those states — Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Texas — all have more than 1 million active licenses. Florida actually has more than 2 million active licenses, which includes licenses for non-residents — of which I have.

Alabama has the highest per capita percentage of licensed adults at a whopping 28.5%, and Indiana comes in second with 18.7% of the adult population licensed.

‘Constitutional Carry’ means people can carry openly or concealed with no license requirement.

Sweet Sixteen

You’ve heard of “Constitutional Carry,” right? That’s the ability to carry a firearm openly or concealed in a peaceable manner without a license or permit. According to Lott’s report, that’s now the law of the land in 16 states, making it even more difficult to estimate the number of Americans packing iron without a paper trail.

Back in the day, especially west of the Mississippi River, that’s how it used to be. Not everyone carried a sixgun all the time, as one sees in films and on television, but the sight of an armed citizen didn’t cause observers to panic and run for cover, either.

Lott offered this: “Because of these constitutional carry states, the nationwide growth in permits does not paint a full picture of the overall increase in concealed carry. But some residents still choose to obtain permits so that they can carry in other states that have reciprocity agreements.

Women Are Heeled

Insider gets monthly concealed carry reports from the Washington State Department of Licensing, and without fail, the month-to-month average is about 20% of all CPLs are held by women.

Take that nationally, and according to Lott’s updated concealed carry report, women make up 26.4% of permit holders in the 14 states that provide data by gender. Now that’s impressive, and it should give would-be rapists, muggers and purse snatchers pause before considering their next intended victim.

Recall the video of the Texas church shooting earlier this year where at least a dozen people drew guns after a would-be mass shooter was stopped — dead in his tracks — by a private citizen Insider examined that video several times and it appeared that at least two of those armed citizens were women.

According to Lott’s summary, “Seven states had data from 2012 to 2019/2020, and permit numbers grew 101.2% faster for women than for men.”

And here’s another little tidbit: In Texas, black females saw an increase 3.9 times greater in permits than white males from 2002 to 2019, according to the CPRC.

“Concealed handgun permit holders are extremely law-abiding.”

Armed and Law-Abiding

We talk a lot about “law-abiding citizens” who are penalized for crimes they didn’t commit and for accidents they didn’t cause. The CPRC report includes this little note: “Concealed handgun permit holders are extremely law-abiding. In Florida and Texas, permit holders are convicted of misdemeanors and felonies at one-sixth of the rate at which police officers are convicted.”

Put this in perspective and remember the number of anarchist nutballs who have been campaigning, protesting, demonstrating and rioting over the past seven months in an effort to force cities to defund and gut their police departments.

Is there any wonder why so many millions of people are buying guns and getting licensed to carry?

Congressman Steve Scalise is a co-sponsor of CCW reciprocity legislation, and he supports the notion of reciprocity.

Congressman Scalise Backs CCW

Remember Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise (R-1st District), the fellow who was seriously wounded on a mass shooting by a far-left kook bent on murdering Republican members of Congress?

Well, Scalise didn’t quit, and today he’s in a GOP leadership position in the House. He recently appeared in a YouTube video interview with Tim Schmidt, founder and president of the U.S. Concealed Carry Association.

During that short appearance, Scalise noted that he is co-sponsor of CCW reciprocity legislation, and he supports the notion of reciprocity. He’s confident President Trump would sign such legislation.

Scalise also recently appeared via video at the “virtual” Gun Rights Policy Conference, sponsored by the Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.