Here’s a shocker – YES! According to a new study, a significant increase in concealed carry weapons permit holders has led to an equally sharp decrease in violent crime.
The study, conducted by the Crime Prevention Research Center, found that 11.1 million Americans now have permits to carry concealed weapons. In 2007, that number was only 4.5 million – an increase of 146%. Both murder and violent crime rates have dropped by 22 percent.
The center’s president, John R. Lott, explained the findings to Fox News:
“When you allow people to carry concealed handguns, you see changes in the behavior of criminals. Some criminals stop committing crimes, others move on to crimes in which they don’t come into contact with victims and others actually move to areas where they have less fear of being confronted by armed victims.”
Lott also pointed out that the six states that do not require a permit for concealed carry have some of the lowest violent crime rates in the US.
“We found that the size of the drop [in crime] is directly related to the percentage of the population with permits,” Lott explained:
The real measure of the deterrent effect of concealed carry permits is not laws on the books, but the percentage of a given state’s population that holds the permits. In 10 states, more than 8 percent of adults hold concealed carry permits, and all are among the states with the lowest crime rates. Lott claims his group’s analysis shows that each one percentage point increase in the adult population holding permits brings a 1.4 percent drop in the murder rate.
A total of 11,113,013 Americans currently hold concealed carry permits, which represents 4.8 percent of the total adult population. However, numbers are not currently available for all states that issue permits (such as New York), so the number of permit holders is likely much higher.
And, four states and the majority of Montana do not require that residents have a concealed handgun permit to carry within the state, so the number of residents who carry a concealed weapon is not recorded.
Florida tops the list with nearly 1.3 million concealed carry permits. Texas is second, at just more than 708,000. Hawaii, at 183, has the fewest of states whose data was available.