According to a U.S. study, around 3 million people in the country carry a loaded handgun with them every day, meanwhile 9 million carry a handgun at least once a month.
A national survey of gun owners, published in the American Journal of Public Health, analyzes the reasons why gun owners roam around with a deadly weapon.
The nationally representative survey was conducted online with 4,000 U.S. adults, including more than 1,500 who identified themselves as handgun owners. It questioned handgun owners how often they carried a loaded handgun when away from home.
Study authors report individuals carrying handguns at least once a month were disproportionately likely to be conservative men between the ages of 18 and 29 residing in Southern states.
Four of five respondents said that personal protection was the primary reason for them to carry a loaded handgun. Almost 6 percent reported being threatened by someone with a firearm at least once in the past five years.
Meanwhile one out of five reported carrying a concealed handgun without a permit even in states where permits are necessary.
Nationwide, state laws on carrying a handgun have generally become less restrictive over the last 30 years, said the study.
“In light of the increasingly permissive concealed carry laws in the United States that we have observed over the past 30 years, it’s important to first, not only document the scope of this particular behavior that we did, but also take the next step and think about how this particular behavior may impact public health and public safety,” Ali Rowhani-Rahbar of the University of Washington, the lead author of the study, said in a statement.
Today, it has become easier than ever before to carry arms. Earlier, in 2013, Vermont was the only state where a concealed handgun without a permit could be carried legally. However, since then 11 other states have passed laws abolishing permit requirements for concealed carry. Whereas many other states has made it easier for people to obtain concealed carry permits.
In 1999, 2.7 million Americans had concealed carry-permits. In 2016, that number jumped to a whopping 14.5 million.
Pro-gun advocates, such as the National Rifle Association, believe carry-permits make the society safer. Newer studies suggest states that made it easier to obtain concealed-carry experienced a 10 percent to 15 percent increase in violent crime.
According to another study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine this year, “There has been a large increase, especially since 2005, in the share of firearms produced that are of higher caliber and therefore greater lethality.”
“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.”
The study also reveals 33 percent of gun owners supported permit less concealed carry, whereas 44 percent believed that the rate of gun violence is linked with the ease of obtaining a weapon in America. Three million individuals who carry loaded guns with them every day are a demonstration to recent efforts making concealed carry easier and more widespread.
Thumbnail Credits: Reuters, Joshua Roberts