More than twice as many Americans now hold concealed carry permits compared to seven years ago, and a new study is pointing out a drop in murder and violent crime rates during this same time frame.

The Crime Prevention Research Center released its Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States report Wednesday, revealing that 11.1 million Americans now hold concealed carry permits, while about 4.6 million carried them in 2007.

With the last concealed carry report from the Government Accountability Office three years ago indicating that about 8 million Americans held permits, the research center said its data analysis shows concealed carry permitting is “growing at faster and faster rates.”

The report also notes that based on data from 2007 and estimates from 2013 murder rates have fallen about 22 percent and violent crime rates have fallen by the same percentage as well.

The report acknowledges that many factors, not just the number of concealed carry permits, contribute to crime rates in different areas. Looking though at how crime rates varied before and after there were changes to permitting rules, “our analysis suggests that each 1 percentage point increase in the percent of the adult population holding permits is roughly associated with a 1.4 percent drop in the murder rate.”

The number of concealed carry permits issued compared with murder rates. (Image source: Crime Prevention Research Center)

The number of concealed carry permits issued compared with murder rates. (Image source: Crime Prevention Research Center)

The report says that more than 10 percent of the adult population in South Dakota, Indiana and Alabama now hold concealed carry permits, while 8 percent of the adult population in eight other states have permits.

Though the rate of permits being issued has grown, the report details how it might have more difficult to obtain them over time:

  • Each $10 increase in fees reduces the percent of adults with permits by about a half a percentage point.
  • Each 10 years that the permit law is in effect increases the percent of adults with permits by 1.5 percentage points.
  • Giving government officials discretion in who gets permits, reduces the percent of adults with get permits by more than two-thirds.
States with 8 percent or more of the adult population holding concealed carry permits.  (Image source: Crime Prevention Research Center)

States with 8 percent or more of the adult population holding concealed carry permits. (Image source: Crime Prevention Research Center)

For those who might argue that increasing the number of concealed carry permits could lead to more crime, the report delves into whether permit holders are law abiding.

“Consider the two large states at the front of the current debate, Florida and Texas: Both states provide easy web access to detailed records of permit holders,” the report says. “During over two decades, from October 1, 1987 to May 31, 2014, Florida has issued permits to more than 2.64 million people, with the average person holding a permit for more than a decade.3 Few — 168 (about 0.006 [percent]) — have had their permits revoked for any type of firearms related violation, the most common being accidentally carrying a concealed handgun into a gun-free zone such as a school or an airport, not threats or acts of violence. It is an annual rate of 0.0002 percent.”

It also notes that the already low rate of permits being revoked is also declining.

“Over the last 77 months from January 2008 through May 2014, just 4 permits have been revoked for firearms-related violations. With an average of about 875,000 active permit holders per year during those years, the annual revocation rate for firearms related violations is 0.00007 percent — 7 one hundred thousandths of 1 percentage point,” the report says.

Read the Crime Prevention Research Center’s full report.

The Crime Prevention Research Center was created by economist and researcher John Lott earlier this year to “advance the scientific understanding of the relationship between laws regulating the ownership or use of guns, crime and public safety.”

“When you allow people to carry concealed handguns, you see changes in the behavior of criminals,” Lott told Fox News about the recent study’s findings. “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.”

Front page image via Shutterstock.