As the political gun debate continues to rage, statistics show actual citizens are clearly putting more stock in personal defense, according to this story from, which provides a useful set of numbers for getting an overall picture of gun ownership trends in the U.S.

The story cites a Rasmussen poll from June that found that 68 percent of American voters “feel safer in a neighborhood where guns are allowed.” And it isn’t just one isolated poll. A series of polls by Gallup, the Pew Research Center and ABC News, along with the Washington Post, show similar results, the story says.

There are statistics in other areas that back up this data, showing average American citizens have a desire to defend themselves. Since 2007, the number of concealed-handgun permits has soared across the nation from 4.6 million to 12.8 million. A recent study by the Crime Prevention Research Center finds a record 1.7 million permits have been issued in just the past year, a 15.4 percent increase, the story shows. But that 12.8 million isn’t even representative of the total number of Americans who carry. Maine recently became the 10th state to allow “constitutional carry,” or carrying concealed with no permit necessary. Kansas and Mississippi also made the change on July 1. In those 10 states, there is no way of knowing how many people carry concealed firearms.

Women represent a growing segment of the population that carries, holding more than a quarter of the CCW permits in the nation. To provide a contrast, the number of men who have attained permits has grown by 156 percent since 2007. During the same time period, permits among women have increased 270 percent.

Though the numbers vary from state to state, so do the laws and hurdles one must navigate to get a permit. Cost can be an obstacle as well. The total cost of getting a permit in Illinois, including fees and mandated training costs, is about $450. In Indiana, which shares a border will Illinois, it costs about $45.