The dramatic increase in the number of firearms purchases made by women over the past decade is indisputable. One only need look at the number of “muddy girl” or “Tiffany blue (Robin’s egg) colored firearms on the market today for verification that the firearms industry has taken notice. However, recent studies are now showing that growth could be more substantial than originally thought and that women may have surpassed the number of men obtaining concealed carry permits nationwide.
Concealed Carry Permits By the Numbers
Last month, a study conducted by John R. Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center showed that from 2007 to 2017 the number of concealed handgun permits issued in the United States soared to over 16.36 million – a 256% increase.
Page 13 of the same study states that 14 states, with about 4 million permit holders between them, have reported permit data by gender for 2016. Among those states, women averaged 36% of permit holders. The states represent all regions of the country: Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Washington State.
Additionally “in the eight states where we have data by gender for both 2012 and 2016, the number of permits increased by 93% for women and by 22% for men –– a 327% faster rate among women.”
Between 2005 and 2012, the number of state residents receiving new concealed-carry permits tripled to 62,939. Now some 451,000 Washington residents are allowed to carry a hidden handgun almost anywhere they go, more than 100,000 of them women. Notably, the growth rate for women getting new permits is twice as fast as that of men.
There always seems to be an uptick in the number of women getting their concealed carry permits when active shooting incidents or gun control is being discussed” says National Carry Academy Co-Founder Nick Dahlberg. “These events sometimes shake people’s world views in terms of thinking they will be safe, or that others will protect them.
In their “Statistics, Facts and Figures for the Media” released on April 18, 2018, the National Carry Academy stated:
- The number of women taking concealed carry courses through the NCA is up 24% since the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida on February 14. It was the biggest 60-day jump ever for the NCA since July/August of 2016.
- Historically, men have received 66% of all concealed carry permits issued through the NCA. Since the Parkland shooting, half of all enrollees to the course are women.
These insights were taken from data on U.S. residents who passed concealed carry training courses through the National Carry Academy, which has certified more than 100,000 Americans since 2012 – more than any other organization.
However, it’s not just about the number of concealed carry permits issued. Anyone of any gender, race, or creed should always continue to receive ongoing training regarding their concealed carry weapon and the safe/necessary use of the firearm if the situation warrants it. The presence of a gun is not a magic talisman which deters crime.
Firearms Industry Responds
The many firearms manufacturers have been quick to create or modify firearms for the female shooter, predominantly handguns – a trend which mimics findings from the 2017 Washington Post article regarding the buying habits of most firearms owners:
There has been a large increase, especially since 2005, in the share of firearms produced that are of higher caliber and therefore greater lethality,” according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine this year. “In addition, the growing production of 0.380 pistols, which are generally compact, suggests a shift toward more-concealable weapons as well. Thus, firearm production has moved toward products designed to be more powerful and more concealable.
In fact Michael Bazinet, public relations direction for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) confirmed to TFB that there are more and more exhibitors at the SHOT Show that have products oriented toward women. One only need to have attended the US Concealed Carry Association Expo (USCCAE) or the NRA Show in 2018 alone to confirm a noticeable increase in female shooter-related products, of which TFB has covered several.
- SHOT Show 2018 also covered “Women of the Gun” – an evening where women could come and interact with professional female shooters on a more personal level.
- USCCAE created a Women’s Concealed Carry Showcase for women-specific products on exhibit at their event.
- NRA 2018 held a Women’s Leadership Forum luncheon and auction, as well as a seminar on “Women and the Gun Buying Experience”
While the number of actual firearms purchased can be attributed to one of a dozen factors (increased desire for security, empowerment, etc), the issuance of concealed carry permits to women should continue to be explored. Perhaps a study to show where the number of crimes against women which were prevented through a direct correlation with the concealed carry weapon versus those where another form of self-defense (Krav Maga, pepper spray, and other non-lethal measures) were used.
Either way, it’s become obvious that more and more women are arming themselves in an effort thwart potentially dangerous situations. The real questions for future studies will be – did the presence of the concealed carry weapon aggravate or alleviate the potential threat? Are the increase in concealed carry permits being issued nationwide corresponding to the number of additional training women are receiving in order to carry that weapon safely? Only time will tell.