Concealed handgun permits in the United States soared by 1.83 million since last July, setting a record for the fourth consecutive year, according to an analysis released Thursday.
That brings the total number of concealed handgun permit holders in the country to 16.3 million, with some of the biggest increases occurring among women and African-Americans, the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) said.
Concealed handgun permits are now held by some more than 6 percent of American adults, the CPRC analysis found. Outside the restrictive states of California and New York, that figure rises to about 8 percent.
Concealed handgun permit holders are extremely law abiding, the analysis shows. The percent of permit holders who are charged or convicted of a felony has fallen: In 2015 it was 0.0123; in 2016 the percent was 0.0092 percent.
“In Florida and Texas, permit holders are convicted of misdemeanors and felonies at one-sixth of the rate at which police officers are convicted,” the CPRC said in a statement.
In states that record gender data for permit holders, women account for 36 percent of the total number of permit holders. Eight states had data from 2012 to 2016 and they saw a 326 percent faster increase in permits among women than among men.