Massachusetts: 203,302 Concealed Handgun Permits

All this assumes that the Boston Globe got these numbers correct.

Speak of people carrying concealed handguns rates in Texas or Florida to someone in Massachusetts and I am sure that they would be viewed as examples of the dangerous wild west. So who has more concealed handgun permits per capita? Texas or Massachusetts? Texas has 22.9 million people and 247,345 permits. For Massachusetts, which has 6.4 million people, the numbers are quite high: “In Massachusetts, 203,302 residents were licensed to carry concealed weapons as of August, according to the state Criminal History Systems Board.” Texas would have to have over 726,000 permits to have the same rate of issuance. (Obviously it would be nice to compare only the adult populations, but this fast comparison using total populations will give a useful rough measure.)

How about Florida or Massachusetts? Florida is way up there also with 549,000 permits, but on a per capita rate it would have over 565,000 if it issued permits at the same rate as Massachusetts.

While I am putting this up, for Utah it is 79,353 permits. Utah and Massachusetts have virtually the same rate of issuing permits per capita, but my guess is that Massachusetts' rate is higher among adults.

By the way, the Brady Campaign gives Massachusetts a "B+" for its concealed carry system because police have discretion to grant permits, but it gives Texas a "D" and Florida and Utah an "F"s.

Pennsylvania, Indiana, and South Dakota have the highest rates of issuing permits 6.4, 6.4 and 7.5 percent of adults respectively. There are over 1.1 million permits issued just from Pennsylvania and Florida alone.

Thanks to Maxim Lott for discovering this fact about Massachusetts.

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Anonymous Jim Kleiman said...

If you are keeping score, here is a link to Michigan's concealed carry license issuance:


12/27/2006 10:14 AM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Thanks, Jim. This is very helpful. I had spent some time trying to figure this out for Michigan, but I could only find the yearly number of new permits.

12/27/2006 10:36 AM  
Anonymous Ken said...

I'm sceptical of the numbers for Massachusetts because of a difference in definitions. In most states the license or permit in question allows one to carry a concealed firearm. In contrast, the Massachusetts license (a Class A License to Carry Firearms) allows one to possess a handgun; it may also allow one to carry concealed, but only if the local police chief decides not to restrict it. Based on annecdotal evidence and written policies of various police departments, I'd estimate that a majority of these are in fact restricted. Based on previous reports, I suspect that the CHSB hasn't separated restricted licenses from unrestricted ones. Of course, I'd be happy to be proven wrong.

12/27/2006 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Massachusetts: In the recent run for governor, the (R) candidate Kerry Healy said she would try to change the system to have a single board that issued permits on a "shall issue" basis - that the Chiefs' system was arbitrary (!) and should be replaced.

I agreed with her.

As it is, two towns next door to each other have (1) yeah, whatever - here's your LTC versus (2) if you're not a cop or a security guard, GFY. The kicker is that (1) can change to (2) or vice versa with the appointment of another poor sucker to the paperwork nightmare that is Mass bureaucracy.


12/27/2006 12:19 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear Ken:

I wondered about this myself. The whole thing just seemed to amazing. My son is checking on it, but in the interim I am assuming that the Boston Globe got this correct.

12/27/2006 12:20 PM  
Anonymous 1894C said...

My Wife and I are two of those!


Class A LTC "All lawful purposes"

But we are not MA natives, and indicative of attitudes towards firearms here it is a VERY GFW state.

12/30/2006 1:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Mass. an LTC has different classifications. There is an A and B and also under reason for issuance it must state all lawful purposes which I believe you can only get with a class A. I believe that it could list personal protection instead of all lawful purposes but All lawfull purposes covers concealed carry plus all the other areas so it is best. Gun Owners Action Leaque-GOAL is the site to check on this.
Jim S.

1/02/2007 7:48 PM  

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