Following a four-month period beginning in April when the number of active concealed pistol licenses declined by almost 9,000 in Washington State, the Department of Licensing reported a turnaround in August, with the number climbing back upwards.
August ended with 693,551 active CPLs, up from the 689,436 reported at the end of July. That number was up about 300 from the June low of 689,153, according to Licensing Department data obtained by TGM.
The number of active licenses climbed last month by more than 4,100.
According to DOL data, the number of concealed pistol licenses had been climbing earlier this year, reaching 698,147 at the end of March. The decline began with the April report, which saw the drop of more than 5,000 active CPLs, when the state reported the number at 692,995. This continued into May, which ended with 690,763 active licenses on the books. The slide continued into June, as noted above, but July saw the first slight rebound.
Washington had been heading toward the 700,000 mark for several months, which was remarkable considering the dominating liberal political climate. However, rising violent crime in the state—especially in Seattle and surrounding King County—may have much to do with the statewide rebound, but not necessarily in King County, where the number of active licenses has hovered above 110,500 since June.
Seattle is the hub of liberal politics in Washington, and the I-5 corridor from Bellingham south to Vancouver has traditionally voted blue. The farther away one travels from I-5 and especially the Puget Sound Basin, the more conservative the area becomes, until one hits Spokane.
Over the past few years, the number of homicides in Washington, particularly in Seattle, has been creeping upwards.
According to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports through 2021, the state has recorded a fairly steady rise, with 195 murders logged in 2016, rising to 298 in 2020 and 325 in 2021, the most recent year for which FBI data is available. A site on “X” (formerly Twitter) called Washington State Homicide, which is not connected to any law enforcement agency, says there were 394 murders in the state last year. That number has not been verified by official data. The FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2022 is not due out until the end of this month.
By no small coincidence, the highest concentration of active CPLs is in counties within the Puget Sound Basin. That’s where the state’s largest populations are concentrated. Still, it suggests that even Evergreen State liberals are paying attention to the rise in crime.