The Denver Post

3M carry loaded handguns daily

- By Christophe­r Ingraham

Roughly 3 million Americans carry loaded handguns every day, primarily for protection, according to a new analysis of a national survey of gun owners published in the American Journal of Public Health.

The informatio­n comes from the National Firearms Survey, which the authors — public health experts at Harvard and the universiti­es of Colorado and Washington — administer­ed in 2015. The nationally representa­tive survey was conducted online with 4,000 U.S. adults, including more than 1,500 who identified themselves as handgun owners.

The survey asked handgun owners how often they carried a loaded handgun when away from home.

The peer-reviewed study concluded that roughly 9 million people carried loaded handguns at least once a month, including 3 million who carried them every day. People who carry 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 out of 5 of them said that protection was the primary reason they carried a loaded handgun. Nearly 6 percent reported being threatened by another person with a firearm at least once in the past five years. And 1 out of 5 reported carrying a concealed handgun without a permit, even where permits are required.

The researcher­s conducted the study in part because good data on concealed-carry practices has been lacking. “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,” said Ali Rowhani-Rahbar of the University of Washington, the lead author of the study.

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