The Washington State Department of Licensing reported Tuesday afternoon that the state has passed the 590,000 mark for active concealed pistol licenses, indicating continued growth in the number of legally-armed citizens.
This comes just one week before a bitterly-contested legislative race that could change the balance of power in the state capitol is decided. Anti-gunners at the Seattle-based Alliance for Gun Responsibility have been pouring lots of energy and raising money to tilt the State Senate to Democrat control with the hoped-for election of Manka Dhingra over Republican Jinyoung Lee to fill the seat left vacant by the death of State Sen. Andy Hill.
The 45th District is in east King County, the state’s most populous and where roughly one-fifth of all those active CPLs are found.
According to the State DOL, there are now 590,613 CPLs in the state, and 100,808 are held by King County residents. Of those armed citizens, 79,306 are men and 21,438 are women. There are 62 licenses – not permits – in which the gender is not identified.
King County Sheriff John Urquhart told Liberty Park Press via e-mail Tuesday that his Records staff has been busy, but that his agency does get applications approved within the statutory 30-day time limit “unless something pops up that needs…additional investigation.”
“We do not have a significant problem with those that have a CPL, or carry ‘legally’ in other words,” Urquhart observed. “That being said, a crook is a crook, whether they are armed legally or not. But the vast majority are not. If we could just get the illegal guns off the street everyone would be far better off.
“I don’t lose any sleep because of legally the armed citizens,” he added.
According to DOL data, Tuesday’s figure represents an increase of 19,137 active CPLs in the state since January 3. The number is up 1,270 since the end of September. Over the past four years, the number of licenses has skyrocketed by more than 197,800. In January 2014, there were 392,784 active licenses.
Interestingly, the number of licenses in King County has been hovering around 100,000 for most of the year, so the increase in CPLs shows that citizens in other counties have been securing more licenses. To the south, neighboring Pierce County has added more than 3,000 CPLs this year, while Snohomish County to the north has added more than 2,100 licenses, according to DOL statistics.
The Nevada chapter of the Michael Bloomberg-supported Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America yesterday issued another fund-raising appeal to fight the proposed Concealed Carry Reciprocity bill in Congress. If passed – and President Donald Trump indicated he would sign it earlier this year – it would allow legally-licensed citizens to carry across all state lines without fear of arrest.
States with restrictive gun laws including New Jersey and New York have prosecuted non-residents for firearms possession without state permits.
With two months remaining in the year, there is a strong possibility that the CPL numbers in Washington could climb even higher. So far this year, the state has been averaging more than 1,900 new CPLs each month.