CPRC in the New York Times: Are people carrying permitted concealed handguns into airports really significant?

18 Jan , 2015  

Screen Shot 2015-12-20 at Sunday, December 20, 11.25 AM

The Sunday New York Times piece by Kate Murphy has this:

. . . The Crime Prevention Research Center used public records to count 12 million Americans with concealed-carry permits. It’s probably a low estimate as numbers are not available for all states that issue licenses, and five states and most of Montana don’t even require permits to carry. Nevertheless, it’s significantly more than the eight million people with permits reported three years ago by the Government Accountability Office. . . .

Our report on the number of concealed handgun permits is available here.  A little perspective is needed in Ms. Murphy’s piece, which is about concealed handgun permit holders accidentally taking their firearms into airports.  Even assuming that all the 2,200 gun confiscations at airport check points involve concealed handgun permit holder, with over 12 million permit holders and the average American apparently flying about 2.5 times per year, that implies an error rate by permit holders of well less than than one-hundredth of one percent.  More importantly, none of these permit holders apparently harmed anyone.

Murphy writes:

Gun confiscations at checkpoints have been on the rise, reaching approximately 2,200 last year, the agency reported, a 20 percent increase over the previous year and 230 percent more than in 2005. . . .

The increase in guns confiscated at airports in carry on luggage actually seems to be going up at virtually the same rate as the number of concealed handgun permits.  Between 2007 and 2014, the number of guns confiscated rose by 168% while the number of concealed handgun permits increased by 167%.

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at Sunday, January 18, 3.55 PM 1

The permit data for 2005 isn’t perfect, but my best guess is that there were about 3.8 million permits.  In that case, while the number of confiscations rose by 226%, the number of permits rose by 216%.

By the way, the most recent numbers from the TSA imply an annual rate of firearms confiscated at airports of 1,664 (in a report released on January 16th, 2015, there were 32 per week times 52 weeks).  Click on picture to enlarge.

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at Sunday, January 18, 5.47 AM

Ms. Murphy’s piece does make the claim that the number of active shooters is increasing.  Unfortunately, the report she relies on is filled with errors.  She also discusses the recent tragedy where a toddler shot his mother, but she doesn’t any of the defensive gun uses.  The media tends to exaggerate the rate bad things that happen without acknowledging the lives saved.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *