Number of people carrying handguns doubles


We already knew that a trend of more people seeking gun permits in the past five years only accelerated as crime rates soared over the past two years. The line of people waiting for permit approvals in Philadelphia grew so long that the city was eventually sued over its failure to process them promptly. 

The rates were harder to measure in other places like Utah (where they eliminated the need for a permit), but it was obvious that firearms were flying off the shelves. 

But even with all of that information being available, I was still somewhat taken aback by a recent report showing that the number of people routinely carrying loaded handguns for protection had more than doubled in a four-year period.

A study by the American Journal of Public Health published on Nov. 16 found that the number of Americans who carry a loaded handgun every day has doubled in just four years. Approximately 6 million Americans packed a gun daily in 2019 versus 3 million who did so in 2015.

“Between increases in the number of people who own handguns and the number of people who carry every day, there has been a striking increase in handgun carrying in the U.S.,” said lead study author Dr. Ali Rowhani-Rahbar – a professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington.

The numbers above cover those who carried a concealed handgun on a daily or nearly daily basis. But the growth in those who “occasionally” carried grew even more. The same report indicates that there were 16 million adults in the United States in 2019 who carried a handgun “in the past month” compared to 9 million in 2015.

The same survey also revealed that the primary reason people gave for wanting to carry a firearm had changed. Back in 1994, a majority of gun owners said that their reason for owning a firearm was for hunting, target shooting, or similar activities. 46% said that their firearm was for personal protection or security. But by 2019, 73% of owners listed protection as their primary reason.

This is something that we’ve been trying to warn people about ever since the beginning of the BLM riots and the Defund the Police movement. Many Americans may not feel compelled to carry a firearm if they feel safe and secure in their homes and neighborhoods as long as the police are keeping crime under control. But when that sense of safety is eroded or removed, people will take matters into their own hands. It’s a primal, natural human instinct. People will seek to assure their own safety and that of their families. If the government can’t or won’t do it, they’ll do it themselves.

Sometimes that impulse to ensure safety extends beyond a person’s immediate family. We’ve already learned that so-called incidents of a “good guy with a gun” stopping an active shooting event are on the rise. (Even if the FBI has tried to fudge the numbers downward.) Even some prominent liberal commentators have been warming up to the idea.

There’s something ironic about the fact that the same people who want stronger gun control laws and to make it more difficult to lawfully obtain a firearm were the ones who pushed a movement to defund the police. And the result of those decreased police resources was a rise in crime that led to a vastly larger number of lawful citizens walking around with guns every day. Great work, liberals. Everything is coming together nicely now.

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