With the rise in violent crime, the number of Americans who habitually carry a loaded firearm has increased.
According to a report published in the American Journal of Public Health on November 16, the number of Americans that carry a loaded pistol every day has more than doubled within only four years. In 2019, around 6 million Americans carried a gun on a daily basis, up from 3 million in 2015.
In the United States, 16 million adults carried a firearm in the previous month, up from 9 million in 2015.
“There has been a remarkable increase in handgun carrying in the United States, between increases in the amount of people who own handguns and the number of people that carry every day,” said senior study author Dr. Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, an epidemiology professor at the Washington University.
The study used data from the 2019 National Firearms Study, that included over 2,400 handgun owners in the United States.
According to the survey, the primary motive for owning a gun has switched from hunting to self protection.
In 1994, 46% of gun owners used their firearms for self-defense. The proportion of gun owners who wanted a gun for protection increased from 65% in 2015 to 73% in 2019.
According to the American Journal of Public Health, “4 in 5 handgun owners who carried carried mainly for protection, 4 in 5 had a concealed weapon permit, 2 in 3 always carried covertly, and 1 in 10 constantly carried openly. The incidence of handgun carrying in states with permitless carry laws and states with shall issue carry laws was comparable. Carrying, on the other hand, was significantly lower in states with carry laws.”
According to the report, “when personal protection became the major motivator for possessing firearms, handgun ownership climbed significantly from 64% in 1994 to 83% in 2021.”
The report referenced a June 6-3 verdict by the United States Supreme Court that overturned a New York state gun control legislation that required handgun owners wanting a concealed carry certificate to show “proper cause.”
The study stated that “on June 23, 2022, the Supreme Court decided that New York’s proper-cause necessity violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s assurance of equal protection of the law by trying to prevent law-abiding people with normal self-defense necessities from trying to exercise their Second Amendment right to keep and carry arms in public for self-defense.”
“As our data suggests, patterns in handgun carrying already indicate more U.S. adults carry loaded handguns in public locations, including without a permit whenever a permit is mandated,” the report speculated.
“The Supreme Court verdict has already resulted in several states easing rules pertaining to pistol carrying,” Rowhani-Rahbar added. “In light of that decision, our study highlights the necessity of researching the implications of handgun carrying for public health and safety.”
Alabama will become the 22nd state to not require a permit or background check to carry a concealed handgun on January 1, 2023.