An estimated 6 million people carried a handgun daily in 2019 in the United States, up from an estimated 3 million in 2015, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health.
The study’s authors compared data from the National Firearms Survey in 2015 to an online sampling of 55,000 adults with 2,389 households reporting they owned a handgun in 2019 to show that the number of people who chose to carry a handgun at least once per month also increased from an estimated 9 million people to around 16 million in 2019.
The authors noted that “reasons offered by firearm owners for why they own firearms have shifted from hunting and sports shooting toward personal protection.”
Of those who responded to the study’s survey, 72% said they carried a handgun for personal protection.
The debate over handgun carrying rights made its way to the Supreme Court this past summer. On June 23, 2022, the Supreme Court ruled that states cannot demand that gun owners provide a justification when applying for a concealed carry permit, striking down New York’s concealed carry law in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen.
The study found that fewer handgun owners carried handguns in states where authorities held “substantial discretion in granting permits.” It reported a 95% confidence interval.