(PresidentialInsider.com)- This year, the number of concealed handgun permit holders had its largest increase ever. Over two million permit holders were added this year bringing the total to 21.52 million – a 48 percent increase in US permit holders since 2016.
There are now six states that have over one million permit holders – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Florida has become the first state in the union to exceed 2.5 million permit-holders. In Alabama, 32.1 percent of adults have permits – the highest percentage of any state. Indiana comes in second with 21.6 percent.
But these statistics tell only part of the story. Twenty-one states are “constitutional carry” states in which residents do not need a permit to carry a handgun (unless they plan to carry their weapon out of state).
And who is driving this massive increase in permit-holders? Is it white male “domestic terrorists?”
No. The driving force behind the increase in permits is coming from women and minorities. Permits among women increased 109 percent faster than men. Among blacks, permits increased 136 percent faster than whites. Women now account for 28.3 percent of all permit holders while blacks account for 11 percent.
It is believed that the record increase in concealed weapons permits in 2021 was prompted in large part due to the violence and unrest that exploded after the death of George Floyd which prompted calls to defund the police. During the pandemic lockdowns in 2020, twenty states either stopped or nearly stopped issuing concealed weapons permits. Once the permit process opened again this year, applications exploded.
In early November, the Supreme Court held oral arguments in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen which challenges New York’s “may-issue” law requiring citizens to provide “proper cause” with “good justification” for why they need to carry a firearm before they can receive a license to carry. Also referred to as “proper cause,” similar laws exist in other deep blue states like California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, and Hawaii.
The Court will consider replacing this process with objective rules which would allow someone to receive a permit so long as he or she is a certain age, doesn’t have a criminal background, completes required training, and pays all requisite fees.
In oral arguments, the Biden administration’s deputy solicitor general Brian Fletcher argued that requiring people to prove a “demonstrated need” was consistent with the Second Amendment. However, Chief Justice John Roberts questioned Fletcher’s argument, countering that regardless of which constitutional right it might be, “it would be surprising to have it depend upon a permit system.”
Liberal Justice Stephen Breyer fretted that even law-abiding citizens might get drunk and angry and if they had a concealed weapon “who knows?” His argument is shared by many gun-control activists who claim that having more people armed will only increase “gun violence.”
But the data doesn’t reflect that.
In Florida and Texas, permit holders have been convicted of firearms-related violations at one-twelfth the rate at which police officers are convicted. Among the 19 states where revocation rates of permits are available, the average rate is one-tenth of one percent. And the majority of those are either because the permit holder moved out of state, died, or just forgot to have his permit with him while carrying.