Interested where your state ranks in gun ownership? You’re in luck. We’ve compiled the data for you. This comprehensive exploration of gun ownership in the United States provides the latest insights of which states lead in issuing concealed carry permits and how many Americans proudly own firearms.

Which States Have the Highest Percentage of Concealed Carry Permit Holders?

There are nearly 22.9 million concealed carry permit holders nationwide as of 2023. That number doesn’t take into account the people who are not required to obtain a permit to carry in the 29 states that have adopted some form of permitless carry, also known as constitutional carry. The actual number of armed citizens is likely higher than reported.

The top 10 states with the highest percentage of concealed carry permit holders are as follows:

  1. Alabama, 27.8%
  2. Indiana, 23.4%
  3. Colorado, 16.55%
  4. Pennsylvania, 15.44%
  5. Georgia, 14.48%
  6. Iowa, 13.82%
  7. Tennessee, 13.15%
  8. Florida, 13.07% (residential permits only)
  9. Connecticut, 12.67%
  10. Washington, 11.63%

State Stats

In 17 states, more than 10 percent of the populations have concealed carry permits, while 14 states and the District of Columbia are below 5 percent. Alabama has the highest rate of concealed carry permits as a percentage of the state population (32.5 percent). Indiana has the second highest rate (23.4 percent) and Colorado third (16.55 percent).

New York, Maine, California, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Hawaii all have less than 1 percent with permits. Vermont is the only state that doesn’t issue concealed carry permits.

Six states now have more than 1 million permit holders: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Texas. Florida was the first state to reach 2 million concealed carry permits.

Gun Ownership vs. Crime Rates

States tend to vary drastically when it comes to crime rates vs. gun ownership. For instance, Washington DC is a heavily restricted “state” in terms of firearms with only 1.1% of the population having concealed carry permits; yet, it is ranked as number one for crime rates. While DC is not technically a state, the data shows that it is the large metropolitan areas that shoot each state to the top of the list. No pun intended.

For instance, Tennessee is ranked number 7 on the list of states with the highest percentage of concealed carry permit holders while Memphis is considered the second most dangerous city in the nation, after Detroit. Furthermore, only 2% of New Mexicans have a concealed carry permit while the state is ranked #2 in crime rates with Albuquerque being the 12th most dangerous city in the nation.

Vermont does not require a license or training to carry a firearm yet they are ranked way down on the list as 44th of most dangerous states. 

As you dive deeper into these statistics, it consistently shows that the biggest cities are what determine the state ranking for crime rates. This is an interesting fact considering 46% of Americans that own a firearm live in rural areas while only 19% live in urban areas.

Importance of Gun Ownership

The obvious importance in today’s society of gun ownership is, of course, self-defense. The right to self-defense is inherent, with women making up the fastest growing demographic of gun ownership. It was Ronald Reagan that once said, a gun is the “great equalizer.” That quote could not ring truer to a woman.

In 2022, statistics show that 22% of women have reported owning a firearm, a 9% increase from 2008. With 1 in 3 women reporting some form of physical or sexual violence, this number is only  likely to increase.

Additionally, 67% of people have cited protection as the number one reason for owning firearms, while 4 in 10 gun owners have reported that owning firearms is used for hunting purposes.  

However, an important aspect has fallen to the wayside as the culture has shifted throughout the millennia. 

Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story famously wrote that “The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”

While self-defense is undoubtedly important and necessary in firearm ownership, we must not forget the reason our Founding Fathers included the Second Amendment and the “how and why” they decided on that inclusion.

The information contained on this website is provided as a service to USCCA, Inc. members and the concealed carry community and does not constitute legal advice. Although we attempt to address all areas of concealed carry laws in all states, we make no claims, representations, warranties, promises or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information disclosed. Legal advice must always be tailored to the individual facts and circumstances of each individual case. Laws are constantly changing, and, as such, nothing contained on this website should be used as a substitute for the advice of a lawyer.