How many people are licensed to carry concealed guns in your state?

The Crime Prevention Research Center has released a paper with the numbers, finding that the number of permit holders has risen 15.4 percent in the last year alone.

We sat down with the organization’s president, More Guns, Less Crime author John Lott, to discuss the findings. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Why do you think there has been such a surge in permit holders since Obama’s election, and especially over the last year?

There was an increase during his election, but as you said, there’s been an accelerated change over the last couple years, and I think if you look at the polls you see one reason for that. Gallup and others have shown that Americans believe owning a gun is important for their safety. By larger percentages, the polls show that people believe having a gun makes them safer as opposed to any other possible assets they may have. And where we’ve seen the biggest growth in permits is among the groups that have had the biggest changes in their views on guns — blacks and women.

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