UPDATED – New concealed pistol license data from the Washington State Department of Licensing shows a modest rise in the number of active concealed pistol licenses, but when taking a closer look at the county-by-county counts, one finds striking hikes in four “liberal” counties and declines in some “conservative” counties.
As of April 30, there were 637,354 active CPLs according to the new data. That’s up a total of 980 licenses since March 31, when there were 636,374 active licenses.
While the numbers declined in several counties, active CPLs jumped 1,296 in Snohomish County (including Everett), 406 in King County (which encompasses Seattle), 362 in Pierce County (which includes Tacoma) and 117 in Thurston County (where the state capital of Olympia is located).
King County has the highest number of active CPLs in the state, with 99,506, followed by Pierce County with 76,229 licenses.
Significantly, Snohomish County is where the City of Edmonds is located. As reported several days ago, the Washington Supreme Court ruled unanimously the city’s “safe storage” ordinance is illegal under the state’s 37-year-old firearms preemption law, slamming the door on municipal governments trying the same thing elsewhere. The ruling also essentially nullified Seattle’s nearly-identical “safe storage” ordinance, adopted at about the same time as the Edmonds measure.
The lawsuit derailing the requirement was spearheaded by the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association in 2018, soon after Edmonds adopted its ordinance.
Meanwhile, in eastern Washington’s Spokane County, the number of active CPLs actually dropped slightly, from 41,188 in March to 40,802 by the end of April, the Licensing Department’s data shows. And in Yakima County, in east-central Washington, the number dropped by 258, from 23,937 in March to 23,679 last month.
What are the implications? It appears an increasing number of central Puget Sound residents, where the Democrat voter turnout has been heavy the past few election cycles—but where crime, and especially violent crime is on the uptick—are figuring out that liberal policies are not working well. Seattle has lost hundreds of police officers, response times are getting longer, and promises made in recent years by gun control advocates that more restrictions would result in crime reductions have turned out to be dramatically wrong.
At one time, just as the COVID-19 pandemic was erupting, King County had more than 103,000 active CPLs, and that appears to be gradually coming back. Just 500 more CPLs in the county will put it back above the pre-pandemic level. Statewide at the time, the number of active CPLs was just over 650,000.
Interestingly, the Seattle Times published a report Monday revealing the results of Seattle University’s annual Public Safety Survey, revealing residents and people who work in the city are not as fearful of crime as they used to be. The report says fear of crime has been declining at least since 2018.
In April 2018, King County had 98,517 active CPLs, according to agency data. By April 2019, the number had risen to 99,669 active licenses. In April 2020, the number hit 103,701 but by April 2021, the number had plummeted to 95,044, due at least in part to the pandemic shutdown of licensing applications by local police agencies and the King County Sheriff’s Office.
Crosscut offers results of a new Elway Poll which revealed, among other things, that “Thirty-six percent of the Crosscut/Elway Poll respondents said they themselves had been a victim of either a property crime (28%), personal crime (2%) or both (6%) in the past year. But 60% said as far as they know, someone in their neighborhood had experienced a crime, possibly illustrating a gap between perceptions and narratives of crime and the reality a majority experience.”