At the nation’s largest gun trade show this week in Las Vegas, gun makers made a pitch for women and first-time buyers interested in carrying concealed guns, groups they say are growing, the Wall Street Journal reports. In past years, many manufacturers at the annual Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade show highlighted rifles, shotguns and larger firearms. This year many showcased new versions of small, lightweight and concealable guns. The number of Americans with concealed-carry permits has reached almost 18.7 million in 2019, up from 12.8 million in 2015, says the Crime Prevention Research Center, a gun-rights group. That growth was fueled by states like Oklahoma and Kentucky, which legalized carrying a concealed firearm without a permit last year.
An increase in women and others buying their first firearms for personal protection has contributed to the uptick in concealable guns, said Jeffrey Duenk, owner of a firearms training center in Oostburg, Wi. His business, opened three years ago, was designed to be inviting to new gun owners with clean, bright rooms and no dead animals on the wall. Sales have taken off for Post Falls, Id.-based Tactica Defense Fashion, a line of clothing and accessories for women to hide handguns, President Sandi Little said. The U.S. Concealed Carry Association, a West Bend, Wi.-based company that offers training and other services for concealed-carry gun owners, has 350,000 members, up from 48,000 in 2012. In 2019, the FBI conducted background checks for the purchase of 6.8 million handguns and about 4.7 million long guns. This is a reverse from 2010, when the FBI handled background checks on 3.7 million handguns and 4.8 million long guns. At least 15 states allow people to carry concealed weapons without a permit in most cases, says the San Francisco-based Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a gun-control advocacy group.
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