According to new numbers from the Crime Prevention Research Center, the United States is experiencing a surge in concealed carry license applications.

The CPRC says the number of concealed firearms licenses in the nation now exceeds 15 million, and is edging close to the 16 million mark. The full set of data will be ready for review this summer, according to this story from, and is the largest one-year increase ever in the number of permits issued.

The story says the number of women far exceeds the number of men getting concealed carry licenses, again bearing out a trend the gun industry has been seeing over the past few years, with women buying more firearms and taking more concealed carry classes than ever before.

This story from says the number concealed carry permits rose 215 percent between 2007 and 2015. At the same time, the murder rate in the U.S. has dropped 14 percent.

The period between May 2016 and May 2017 saw the largest one-year increase ever in the number of permits issued, the CPRC says, with numbers going from 14.5 million to 15.7 million.

From the story:

John Lott, founder of the group and a Fox News columnist, said several states, including Arizona, Florida, Michigan and Texas, have seen a big jump in the number of gun permits issued. There are several reasons for the increase – most notably, a rise in women and minorities seeking to purchase handguns, Lott said.

“I think you’re continuing to see a change in the composition of people who go and get permits,” Lott said. “Women are growing at a much faster rate than men.”

Between 2012 and 2016, Lott said in the story that the growth rate for women was twice as much as it was for men and that minorities are purchasing handguns at a higher rate compared to previous years.

“The NRA is a natural home for women firearms owners,” said NRa spokesperson Catherine Mortensen in the story. “Increasingly, women today don’t want to rely on a spouse or neighbor for protection. They want to be able to protect themselves and their families.”

The CPRC is a nonprofit, gun rights advocacy group that releases an annual report each July documenting firearm stats with data culled from state agencies.

A contributing factor may be the fact that some states have made it easier than in the past to obtain a CCW permit.

“You’re seeing states making it easier for people to go and get permits,” Lott said.

At the same time, some states like California, New York, and New Jersey continue to make it extremely difficult for regular citizens to obtain a carry permit.

For the full story from Fox News, go here.