Concealed-Carry Permit Surge Could Play Decisive Role in These 2016 Battleground States

DAILY SIGNAL — The number of concealed-carry permit holders has skyrocketed over the last four years, noticeably in key battleground states and among women, according to a new report.

Two swing states have the highest number of permit holders in the country, with 1.58 million in Florida and 1.2 million in Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, 549,000 have permits in Ohio, another 556,136 in Michigan, and 530,092 in North Carolina. Indiana has issued 728,976 permits. These are all states that President Barack Obama—who supports gun control—carried at least once in his presidential election campaigns.

Fifteen percent of Indianans have concealed-carry permits. Pennsylvania has 12.2 percent of the population holding permits, and another swing state, Iowa, has 11.5 percent of the population carrying concealed-carry permits.

Depending on how significant guns are in the election, the increase in women permit holders and minorities could also be significant. Women have traditionally broken for Democrats in past elections.

“In eight states where we have data by gender, since 2012 the number of permits has increased by 161 percent for women and by 85 percent for men,” a report by the Crime Prevention Research Center says.

In Florida, women had 18 percent of permits in 2012. That rose to 24.1 percent in 2016. The rise went from 18 percent to 22.7 percent in Indiana from 2012 to 2015. In North Carolina, the number of permits for women went from 21.3 percent in 2012 to 27.5 percent in 2015. The study was based on the most recent available data for each state.

The increase among women with permits is even pronounced in the very blue state of Washington, the report said. Between 2005 and 2014, in Washington, “the growth rate for women getting new permits [was] twice as fast as that of men.”

“Women benefit more from having a gun than a man because of the large strength differential between a male-to-woman attacker compared to male-to-male attacker,” Crime Prevention Research Center President John Lott, a noted economist and researcher, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview. “Women with a gun would be able to better resist an attack from men. There has been a lot of fear about guns that have caused people to make the wrong decisions about guns, but that is changing.”

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