By Kellan Howell
The number of concealed carry handgun permits has skyrocketed since President Obama was first elected, while murder rates have fallen, according to a new report released Wednesday.
Since 2007, the number of concealed handgun permits has soared from 4.6 million to over 12.8 million, and murder rates have fallen from 5.6 killings per 100,000 people to just 4.2, about a 25 percent drop, according to the report from the Crime Prevention Research Center.
And the number of permits issued is increasing faster every year. Over 1.7 million new permits were issued last year — a 15.4 percent increase over 2013, the largest such single-year jump ever, according to the report from the center led by President John R. Lott and research director John E. Whitley.
The number of concealed carriers is likely even higher, since permits are not required in eight states.
Gun rights advocates say that the findings in the report fall in line with their personal experiences and research and directly refute the liberal 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. In fact, quite the opposite is the case,” said Larry Keene, senior vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. “More law-abiding citizens own firearms for self-protection, and crime continues to decline.”
But gun control advocates denounced the report, pointing to other studies showing concealed handguns are more frequently used for non-self-defense killings.
“Concealed carry killers are a threat to public safety. The evidence is clear that all too often, private citizens use their concealed handguns to take lives, not to save them,” a statement from the Violence Policy Center’s Concealed Carry Killers page reads.
A spokesperson for the center did not reply to multiple requests for comment.