As the number of Americans with concealed carry permits has increased, a new study reveals that during the same time period, the percentage of violent crimes has decreased. The study, conducted by the Crime Prevention Research Center, reveals that 11.1 million Americans now carry concealed weapons, a significant increase from 4.5 million in 2007. And that 146-percent increase coincides with a 22-percent decrease in both murder and violent crime rates.

The survey is the first measure of concealed carry permits since 2011, when the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that eight million Americans had such permits. And as noted by the Crime Prevention Research Center, though the survey found that 11,113,013 Americans currently hold concealed carry permits, the number is likely much higher because not all states that issue permits have those figures available.

The figures reveal that Florida has the highest number of concealed carry permits, at 1.3 million, with Texas a close second, at 708,000. Of the states, Hawaii has the lowest, with just 183.

A number of factors contributed to the rise in concealed carry permits, including new state laws. In March, Illinois became the 50th state to begin issuing concealed weapons permits.

Earlier this year, a ruling from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals determined that California must allow law-abiding citizens to carry concealed firearms in public. In that 2-1 decision, the judges found that San Diego County’s rule that residents must show “good cause” to obtain a concealed weapons permit, which does not simply include the desire to protect oneself, was in violation of the U.S. Constitution. That ruling is currently waiting for a review by the entire circuit.

Gun sales overall have been increasing over the last several years. In fact, data reveals that small arms manufacturers experienced a significant boost after President Obama was elected to a second term. An article in Bloomberg noted on November 7, 2012 that Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger & Co. were among some of the companies benefiting from Obama’s reelection:

Shares of Smith & Wesson jumped 9.6 percent to $10.37 at the close in New York, the biggest gain since Sept. 7, while Sturm Ruger & Co. (RGR) rose 6.8 percent to $47.68. Both make handguns as well as rifles that include semiautomatic models.

After sidestepping gun-control measures in his first term, Obama said last month he would consider reintroducing a ban on civilian purchases of military-style assault weapons. Firearm sales have grown at 10 percent annually since 2008, when Obama was elected, compared with a 7 percent rate from 2001 to 2007, according to Benchmark Co.

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