By: José Niño

America continues to stay armed and proud.

Gun researcher John Lott’s Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) recently released a report documenting the level of concealed handgun permit ownership in the United States.

CPRC findings reveal the number of concealed handgun permits have skyrocketed to 17.25 million, a substantial increase from 2007, when there were only 4.6 million concealed handgun permits in the United States. As it currently stands, 7.14 percent of American adults are concealed carry permit holders.

Some of America’s largest states are leading the way in the total number of concealed carry holders. In 2018, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Texas each have more than 1 million concealed carry permit holders. Additionally, 15 states have more than 10 percent of adults holding permits. In first place is Alabama, where 22.1 percent of adults hold concealed carry permits. Indiana comes in second place at 17.9 percent, with South Dakota hot on its tracks at 17.2 percent.

The picture looks even better for women and minorities. From 2012 to 2018, the percent of women holding carry permits increased by 207 percent, and the percent of blacks with permits grew 20 percent faster than whites.

Most positive of all, 14 states now have Constitutional Carry on the books, meaning law-abiding gun owners no longer have to beg the government to exercise their right to self-defense.

Even with the non-stop attempts to hack our gun rights to pieces, Americans still recognize the importance of gun ownership as a means of defending themselves.

Culturally speaking, gun ownership is alive and well in the United States.

But there is much ground to cover when it comes to changing gun policy at the state and federal level. We must strive to abolish all the useless background checks, licensing, and registration schemes that hold the rights of millions of gun owners back. Citizens should not have to have to go through a maze of regulatory rigmarole to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

The fight to restore our gun rights is never over, but there’s still hope on the horizon.

José Niño is a Venezuelan-American political activist based in Fort Collins, Colorado.

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