New data from the Washington Department of Licensing released Tuesday shows the state has added more than 2,000 more active concealed pistol licenses in the past month.
Meanwhile, Arizona—which copied Washington’s state constitutional right-to-bear-arms provision verbatim when it achieved statehood in 1912—has added nearly 1,300 carry permits since mid-August. Arizona is a “constitutional carry” state where no permit is required to carry firearms openly or concealed, but 347,153 state residents have them, anyway for reciprocity purposes.
With the exception of Utah, Washington has the highest number of CPLs of any western state, and with a population of approximately 7.5 million, roughly one-in-ten adults is licensed to carry, according to some estimates. No license is required to openly carry a sidearm in Washington.
As reported Monday, Washington’s CPL numbers have skyrocketed. Last year at this time, there were 598,244 active CPLs, constituting a spread of more than 33,000 more citizens licensed to carry.
According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2018, last year Arizona reported 339 slayings, of which 203 involved firearms. Washington trails with 232 murders, of which 138 involved guns. In both states, most of those homicides were committed with handguns.
Of the Arizona slayings, 139 are known to have involved handguns, while in Washington, 76 of those murders are known to have been committed with handguns. Balanced against the number of legally-carried sidearms, in both cases it amounts to a tiny fraction, and there is no indication that any of the slayings involved anybody who was legally licensed to carry in either state.
For the sake of contrast, last year in Chicago, there were a reported 561 homicides, almost the same number as both Washington and Arizona combined.
Baltimore, where it is virtually impossible to get a carry permit, posted 309 slayings last year, more than the entire Evergreen State but 20 shy of Arizona’s total state body count.
Seattle-based gun prohibitionists tried to make it far more difficult to obtain and renew a CPL earlier this year, a fact not lost on Washington’s active Second Amendment community.
Here’s another fact Washington gun owners know. In 2014, the billionaire-backed gun control Initiative 594, requiring so-called “universal background checks,” was passed by voters after more than $10 million was spent on the campaign. In 2015, the first full year after passage of that measure, Washington logged 209 homicides, of which 141 involved firearms. The following year, the number dropped to 195 murders of which 141 were committed with guns. However, in 2017, the number jumped back up to 228 murders, including 134 involving firearms, and last year’s total mentioned above continued the gradual upward trend, while nationally the number of murders went down, as reported yesterday. The initiative does not appear to have had the promised effect.
Lawmakers in Olympia can amend or repeal the language of I-594 in 2020. There does not appear to have been a similar gun control crusade in Arizona.