According to a new report, over the last eight years, concealed handguns permits have increased from 4.6 million to over 12.8 million, while murder rates have decreased from 5.6 killings per 100,000 people to 4.2.
The report, released by the Crime Prevention Research Center on Wednesday, looked at the numbers from 2007 to 2015 and found that while concealed carry permits are at an all-time high, murder rates have dropped by about 25 percent.
The report also found that over the last year, “1.7 million additional new permits have been issued,” marking a 15.4 percent increase, which is the “largest ever single-year increase in the number of concealed handgun permits.”
Guns rights advocates, such as Larry Keene, the senior vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told the Washington Times that the report negates the argument that “more guns lead to more violence.”
“It puts the lie to the myth promulgated by anti-gun individuals that somehow more law-abiding citizens carrying guns will lead to more crime,” Keene said. “In fact, quite the opposite is the case. More law-abiding citizens own firearms for self-protection, and crime continues to decline.”
While the Violence Policy Center claims that “Concealed carry killers are a threat to public safety,” and that “all too often, private citizens use their concealed handguns to take lives, not to save them,” the Times noted that “concealed carriers are among the most law-abiding citizens in the country, even more so than police officers.”
According to the report, permits for women have increased by 270 percent and permits for men have increased by 156 percent since 2007, and as a result, 5.2 percent of the total adult population now has a concealed handgun permit.
The number of permits obtained by minorities has also increased drastically, with the number of black permit holders rising from 10,389 in 2012 to 17,594 in 2014. The report found that black females were the fastest-growing concealed handgun permit group, increasing 3.44 times faster than white females.
The report also noted that in 10 states—Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Vermont and West Virginia—concealed carry permits are no longer required, which is a “major reason why legal carrying handguns is growing so much faster than the number of permits.”
A Gallup poll from Nov. 2014 found that 63 percent of Americans believe having a gun in their home makes it safer, which has nearly doubled from 35 percent in 2000.
A Pew Research poll from Dec. 2014 also found that 52 percent of Americans believe it is more important to protect “the right of Americans to own guns,” while 46 percent believe it is more important to control gun ownership, marking the first time in more than two decades that support for gun rights has surpassed support for gun control.