Concealed Carry Permit Holders Are Making America Safer and Citizens More Self-Reliant
With a federal appeals court recently ruling the District of Columbia’s highly restrictive concealed carry law unconstitutional, this is a good time to another look at the issue.
Today, there are more than 16.3 million concealed carry permit holders nationwide. A record 1.83 million permits have been issued in the last year alone. John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center reports that 6.5 percent of adults have a concealed carry permit. But because 14 states do not require a permit, having recognized a constitutional right to carry in all or part of their states that figure undercounts the number of Americans choosing to carry a firearm for self-defense.
Coinciding with this dramatic growth in concealed carry permits has been a tremendous increase in the number of firearms in the hands of law-abiding Americans. All the while, violent crime with firearms has fallen at a remarkable rate.
Lott found a direct correlation between an increase in permit holders and lower incidence of violent crimes in certain states. The merits of a responsibly armed citizenry are easy to understand. If criminals have to stop to consider if any person they might attempt to rob or assault is carrying a firearm, they may be deterred from committing their crime.
The data show that individuals who hold concealed carry permits are more law-abiding than the general population. In fact, Lott cites data from Texas and Florida that show permit holders commit crimes at even lower percentages than police officers. This makes sense because citizens must go through an often demanding process to qualify for a permit to carry concealed. Criminals who misuse guns are not going to put themselves through that process.
The increase in concealed carry permits is making America safer. Although the news stories rarely get coverage beyond their immediate media market, individuals with legally concealed carry firearms have successfully protected themselves and have come to the assistance of their fellow citizens on numerous occasions. They have also aided law enforcement officers who were in grave danger.
As the number of permits holders has risen there has not been a “Wild West” of reckless gunfire that the anti-gun activists have long predicted.
There is another positive aspect to this issue. Citizens deciding to exercise their individual right to keep and bear arms demonstrates that the American tradition of citizen self-reliance is alive and well after all.
As David French wrote in the National Review, “An armed citizenry is more likely to remain a free citizenry, and free citizens are more likely to maintain the independence and courage that have long been hallmarks of the American spirit. In this important respect our nation is changing for the better — one carry permit at a time.”