Guns are going to be a hot-button issue in this election cycle, and the debate surrounding concealed carry has already begun, with prominent Democrats saying things like this:
“I think that we’ve got to reign in what has become an almost article of faith that anybody can have a gun anywhere, anytime. And I don’t believe that is in the best interest of the vast majority of people. . . . carrying guns in public places. . . .”
Hillary Clinton, May 6, 2016 at the National Council for Behavioral Health
“More people would have been killed [if someone at the Orlando Nightclub massacre had a permitted concealed handgun].”
Bill Clinton speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative America Conference on June 14, 2016
To see how both of those statements, and many more just like them, are not only false but laughably false, go read John Lott’s “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States: 2016” (downloadable pdf at the link.) Some key excerpts:
…the total number of permits in the US is at least 14.53 million. Add in people who legally carry without a permit, and the number clearly becomes much larger. The total number of Americans with permits could possibly be lower than 14.53 million, but is most likely in excess of that figure.
So, how law-abiding are these 14.53 million licensed handgun bearers? The immediate answer is, “concealed-carry permit holders are on average considerably more law-abiding than most police officers.” As Lott explains:
Concealed carry permit holders are even more law-abiding than police. Between October 1, 1987 and June 30, 2015, Florida revoked 9,999 concealed handgun permits for misdemeanors or felonies.9 This is an annual revocation rate of 12.8 permits per 100,000. In 2013 (the last year for which data is available), 158 permit holders were convicted of a felony or misdemeanor – a conviction rate of 22.3 per 100,000.10 Combining the data for Florida and Texas data, we find that permit holders are convicted of misdemeanors and felonies at less than a sixth the rate for police officers.
Among police, firearms violations occur at a rate of 16.5 per 100,000 officers. Among permit holders in Florida and Texas, the rate is only 2.4 per 100,000.10 That is just 1/7th of the rate for police officers. But there’s no need to focus on Texas and Florida — the data are similar in other states.
And what demographics are obtaining these permits? Would-be gun grabbers like to make comments about “angry white males,” but that’s not where the big increases in carry permits are coming from:
Data for seven states show a general upward trend in the percentage of permit holders who are women.
■ Arizona: the percentage of permit holders who are women rose from 20.7% in 2012 to 21.2% in 2016
■ Florida: from 18% in May 2012 to 24.1% in May 2016.
■ Indiana: from 18.0% in June 2012 to 22.7% in March 2015.
■ Louisiana: from 18.3% in 2009 to 24.8% in 2014.
■ North Carolina: from 21.3% in June 2012 to 27.5% in March 2015
■ North Dakota: from 11.2% in 2010 to 24.9% in 2014.
■ Tennessee: from 23.3% in 2008 to 31.2% in 2016.
■ Texas: from 17.26 in 2004 to 25.8% in 2015.
■ Washington State: between 2005 and 2014, “the growth rate for women getting new permits [was] twice as fast as that of men.” In eight states where we have data by gender, since 2012 the number of permits has increased by 161% for women and by 85% for men.
There is also some very limited data on permit issuance by race. Texas provides detailed information on both race and gender from 1996 through 2014. The state’s data indicate that permitting has increased fastest for blacks, followed closely by Asians. While whites still hold the vast majority of permits, the number of black permit holders has grown more than twice as quickly as the number of white permit holders.
The growth in permit-holding by Asians, blacks, and American Indians was by far the fastest after the minimum training requirements were reduced from 10 hours to four in 2013. Between 2012 and 2014, the number of black permit holders increased from 10,389 to 17,594. Asian permit holders grew from 3,286 to 5,822.
Reducing the cost of obtaining permits seems to have had its biggest impact on minorities. When permit data is broken down by race and gender, we find that rates of permit holding among American Indian, Asian, black, and white females all grew much faster than the rates for males in those racial groups. Concealed carry has increased most rapidly among black females. From 2000 to 2015, the rate of growth was 3.81 times faster than among white females.
So, to summarize: Concealed-carry permit holders are not an issue in the gun control debate; the record clearly shows that this shouldn’t even be on the table when discussing crime policies. Concealed carry permit holders are safe and responsible; the acceptance of concealed carry is growing rapidly among all demographics, and the prospect of encountering an armed citizen is probably the single most effective deterrent to criminals that exists.
On this issue, the political Left and the Democratic party are quite simply wrong.