As 2015 comes to an end, anecdotal reports from across the country strongly suggest there is a new surge on for concealed carry permits or licenses, and perhaps the prime example of this wave is Washington State.
Considered a politically “Blue” state because of the liberal voting trends in Seattle and along the I-5 corridor, the Evergreen State is more purple and in some regions entirely red. On Thursday, figures from the state Department of Licensing (DOL) showed that between Dec. 31, 2014 and now, more than 31,000 new concealed pistol licenses have been issued, bringing the number up from last year’s closing tally of 478,460 to the new year-end figure of 509,578 active licenses.
What’s it all about? Two words: San Bernardino.
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Since the terrorist attack there in early December that cost 14 people their lives and left many more wounded, reports from various parts of the country strongly indicate that the incident was a splash of cold water on the public. San Bernardino made it plain that people can become victims without warning or provocation in all kinds of places.
Increasing numbers of people are determined to have a fighting chance, even while some politicians are working to discourage them. A heavy backlash can be seen against Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s order prohibiting legal firearms in many state buildings.
Anecdotal reports show a rise in concealed carry interest in Oklahoma, South Carolina and certainly California among other venues. Where classes are required to qualify for a carry permit, those classes are filling up.
In Washington, December saw a spike of more than 6,000 new CPLs from the month before. On Nov. 30, the DOL reported 502,918 active licenses. Today’s new figure comes in 6,660 higher.
Washington law does not require classes to obtain a CPL. The state constitution clearly protects the right of individual citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves or the state. Washington is also an open carry state, and no permit or license is required to carry a sidearm in clear view.
King County, where liberal Seattle is located, boasts the greatest number of licenses in any county of the state. Concerns for personal safety evidently cross political lines.
If the trend continues through 2016, the Evergreen State, despite the political leanings of the liberals in Puget Sound, will remain in the Top Ten for per capita concealed carry.
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