Washington State Loses 11,000 Carry Licenses in Four Months

By CTD Blogger published on in News

In a remarkable reversal of a long-standing trend, the number of active concealed pistol licenses in Washington State has dropped by 11,000 over the past four months, a fact that might (should) be alarming to gun rights groups. However, it may also suggest a return of lethargy in the firearms community. However, with the barrage of assaults on Second Amendment that seems very unlikely, which begs the question of “Why?”

By Dave Workman

Man lifting his shirt to show a concealed handgun

The news comes as Evergreen State gun rights activists are planning two events in Olympia, one week apart. There’s an April 14 event running 5:30–8:30 p.m., organized by the National Constitutional Coalition of Patriotic Americans, and on April 21, noon–3 p.m. there’s a “March For Our Rights” rally. Both of these events will be held on the Capitol steps.

At the end of November 2017, the Department of Licensing reported to Liberty Park Press that there were 591,366 active CPLs. Monday morning, the agency advised the number had dropped to 580,362 active licenses.

Since January 2, 2013—when the number of active CPLs hit 392,784—there has been a steady increase in the interest for acquiring a license to carry a concealed handgun, with but a few dips from month-to-month.

Washington has one of the more user—and constitution—friendly concealed carry laws, a “shall issue” provision that enables any qualified citizen to obtain a license to carry.

Article 1, Section 24 of the state constitution, adopted in November 1889, states, “The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.”

In 1912, when Arizona joined the Union, its constitution adopted the same language. All but six other states have right-to-bear-arms provisions in their constitutions, and they appear to all be stronger than the wording of the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment was incorporated to the states via the Fourteenth Amendment in the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in McDonald v. City of Chicago, a case brought by the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation.

Some members of the WaGuns.org forum have suggested that perhaps the state’s concealed carry interest reached the point of saturation. Others hinted that with taxes rising in many areas, people have had to choose between paying taxes or renewing their carry licenses. A few gun owners have suggested a number of reasons, including people who have died or moved out of the state.

The most dramatic decreases have come in King and Pierce counties, with more gradual declines in Snohomish, Clark, and Whatcom counties. The remaining counties all show smaller declines.

One other contributing factor might be harder to pin down. That’s the possible sense of safety from gun control with Donald Trump in the White House and Republicans in control of Congress. However, that hasn’t prevented the launching of a gun ban initiative in Oregon, and it would not stop one from being filed in Washington, as has been hinted earlier this year.

Why do you think Washington is losing carry license holders? Share your answer in the comment section.

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Comments (74)

  • Furrystoat

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    As a lifetime Seattle resident, I would suggest that a big part of the reason for the drop in CCW numbers is the utterly toxic, hard-Left, anti-gun environment here which is manifested in, among other ways, the completely un-Constitutional ordinances and policies in Seattle / King County.

    Yes, the State’s Constitution is written in a very pro-Second Amendment way but that hasn’t stopped the City Of Seattle from enacting special taxes on ammunition (on a per-round basis) and a special tax on the sale of every firearm.

    This has caused ALL dedicated gun shops to leave the City. Pawn shops, Walmart, etc still sell guns but they don’t depend on them for their business like the dedicated gun shops do. Seattle residents who have been paying attention have been following all of this and savvy gun and ammo buyers simply drive outside of the City limits to buy guns and ammo because the dedicated shops will have the best prices and the best expertise for the buyer who has questions. People who depend on public transportation are tremendously overburdened by this, and I’m guessing many non-car owners just called it quits when it comes to guns. Too much trouble.

    There are no gun ranges in Seattle anymore….you have to drive outside of the city in order to practice with your legal firearm. Going to the range now takes an entire afternoon at minimum, when you consider the horrendous traffic around here.

    The City of Seattle is constantly attempting to pass un-Constitutional anti-gun ordinances, such as banning firearms from City parks…even legally-concealed ones. All City buildings are ‘gun free zones’ and a LOT of private businesses are as well. Want to stay legal when you enter one of these places? Leave your gun in the car. OOOPS no you can’t because that’s a violation; you’re no longer in control of your weapon. So, you have to leave your gun AT HOME. It’s madness, and that’s precisely the way Seattle wants it….they want it to be so much trouble to carry a firearm that you’ll just say ‘to heck with this’ and give it up altogether.

    What the City Government has accomplished with all of this over the years is to make it awfully troublesome to keep up your shooting skills if you live in the City. It costs more, it takes a lot of extra time and there’s the constant threat of it getting even worse and I’d suggest that the drop in carry permits is a reflection of that in two ways:

    1. People who are new to firearms got their permits and quickly found out how difficult it is to maintain their shooting proficiency, how much more expensive it is around here than in other areas and how much trouble it is to stay legal if you live in Seattle. Many probably decided that it’s simply not worth it and allowed their permits to lapse, having given up on carrying a firearm legally in Seattle.

    2. Passionate firearms people are completely angered for all the previous reasons and this, I believe, is one of many contributing factors that has encouraged a lot of them to leave Seattle/ King County. It’s insanely expensive to live here, for all the wrong reasons, and passionate gun owners like to be able to pursue their hobby without it having to turn into an Everest Expedition just in order to go shooting at a range.

    Reply

  • JP

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    What if, get this, they carry their guns without a permit because the constitution at the federal level states the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The US Constitution Trumps the state constitution concerning powers that it has vested in it and guess what the 2A is stated clearly in the US Constitution.

    Reply

  • Doktor Jeep

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    Highly likely that a lot of gun owners are simply making an exodus out of the state. There are a lot of them who also have property and even homes in Idaho or Montana, and with WA trying to go full California on guns, they are getting out of there early.
    Also, Washington is very Orwellian. A CCWP is being on a list of sorts. You don’t need a permit to open carry out in the sticks. And possibly the people in the hinterlands are deciding not to be on a list and just wear the gun on the outside.

    Reply

  • Danny

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    Perhaps because gun owners realize that CWP’s are only valid until the government decides that they want our weapons, then the CWP’s become an address book for the government thugs to find the addresses of all gun owners.

    Reply

    • Joe

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      I can’t speak for others, but as a rural resident of the only red county in western WA, I have zero interest in the state knowing that I own firearms. All of my guns were purchased out of state (legally; I lived out of state at the time), so there’s no record of them in Olympia. Any new guns will be 80% frames machined in my own shop. I had a WA CWP when I was in my early 20s, but it lapsed a long time ago. Like Danny, I’m almost never out at night; my primary concern is protecting myself, my family and our property at home. I neither need nor want permission from the socialist wackos in Olympia to do that, and I definitely don’t want to be on a seizure list when they pass legislation giving themselves the power to confiscate legally owned guns. Snohomish, King, Pierce and Thurston counties can create a gun-free utopia if they wish, but I’m opting out.

      Reply

    • Consco

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      Address book not needed it will be block by block. They need to know that those behind them have no weapons. This thought process is misleading to those who have never seen urban combat (Iraq) and gives a false sense of security to those who believe they will be skipped over because there is no “record” of a firearm. It will absolutely be house to house no way around it

      Reply

    • Seattle Socialist

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      If course it will be a targeted search. Seattle is a liberal city, as knows that most people are not right-wing gun nuts who would defy the law because of their delusions. Going house to house would be a waste of time when the majority of people obey the law. No, which houses need to be searched will be easy to identify thanks to social media, especially Facebook, as it doesn’t delete anything you ever post, even drafts you thought you deleted. No, once the majority of responsible gun owners license or surrender their arms, the criminals who would defy the law will be easy to identify from all their Moron Lube and III% BS posts, and they will be the one’s getting the no-knock searches as felons considered armed and dangerous. Once a cop died doing that, expect the searches to get even more aggressive and violent.

      BTW – Banning guns is exactly how we on the Left intend to take revenge on the NRA and the right-wing for your treason with Russia in electing Trump, and how we destroy the Republican Party.

      Reply

    • Anne Immelnut

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      Perhaps a contributing factor is the fact that WA State does not believe it’s necessary to send CCW license holders renewal notices!

      Reply

  • Dexter Winslett

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    West coast fools.

    Reply

    • Joe

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      So, you think it’s a good idea to drive wedges between like-minded people by promoting geographical tribalism, but it’s us “fools” out here in the West who are the problem?

      Reply

    • Aardvark

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      Left coast.

      Reply

  • Spencer

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    I think in part, because the older “die hard” believers of the 2nd amendment are dying off.
    For myself, I’ll not likely to get a CCW for a couple of reasons. One, because I rarely go out in public at night unless I have to. And two because I only have 2 pistols I purchased within the last 5 years. These are the only purchase I’ve made for handguns for nearly 60 years. The others have are no longer on the books & I want to keep it that way. I don’t need a CCW to defend myself in my own home.

    Reply

    • Aj

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      Better watch out. Once they get one weapon, they can take them all. Look at Illinois right now. Fining people $1,000 a day until they turn in their legally purchased weapon.

      Reply

    • JH

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      Not that it makes it better, but it’s just one village (Deerfield), and you don’t have to turn in your AR type rifle, you just can’t “possess” one in the village. So to be in compliance you would have to store it outside the village limit. No one’s going to obey the ordinance, so it’s a waste of paper.

      Reply

    • Spencer

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      I think you’re confused. There are no laws in Illinois requiring us to turn in legal firearms and I have no illegal firearms. The two I purchased legally aren’t on any hit list, so there’s no reason to turn in anything.

      Reply

    • T

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      Illinois the state is not imposing a 1000 a day fine to its residents. A smaller suburb named Deerfield just passed that law which was immediately objected to in the court system so the fight continues for that suburb ONLY.

      Reply

  • Griz44Mag

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    Easy answer to that one, all of the freedom loving Constitutionals are moving to TEXAS! We are currently importing left coasters in the tens of thousands every year. (67,000 + last year) Freedom of gun ownership and carry rights, great economy that is also free of the socialist dream of the far left states. We do need to be cautious though, these same folks are bringing with the the nanny state ideology, which could cause an erosion of our heritage. Welcome to Texas, but leave your socialism behind please!

    Reply

    • Auggie

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      @Griz44Mag Well said!

      Reply

    • Chameleon

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      Gun rights are not a pull from Washington to Texas. WA’s constitution has protected open carry from the beginning, with no permitting or permission required. Texas residents were only recently “given permission” to OC.

      The State legislature has the only authority to pass any laws, rules or regulations regarding firearms within the state. There is no gerrymandering of gun-free cities or neighborhood. What’s legal in the smallest town is legal in the heart of Seattle or Spokane. Even though the legislature and the courts are extremely liberal, legislators know that the constitutional provision ties their hands and the hands of the courts.

      Unlike TX, “no guns allowed” signs have no authority in WA. At worst, if one carries into a gun free store and the firearm is seen, the manager can ask the patron to leave. There is no trespass unless the person carrying refuses the request to leave. There is no such crime as “printing” in WA. Since OC is legal without permits, a CPL holder can switch from OC to CC at any time he or she wants.

      There are many reasons to leave WA for a place like Texas, but gun rights are not one.

      I’m within earshot of the Evergreen State College several times each week. The stench of militant idiots baked on “legal” marijuana actually gives me a bit of hope for Washington. They prove the term “dope” was driven by demonstrable facts. Give us a few years, and the “greeners” will be no more than whiny, obese couch potatoes. Even the most militant progressive managers won’t hire an Evergreen “graduate,” and the greeners will be too busy flipping hamburgers to pay for their marijuana addiction. They’ll have neither the time or energy (or brain cells) to continue political advocacy.

      I strongly opposed “legalizing” marijuana, but my mind has been changed. The more liberal the person, the more they smoke. The more they smoke, the dumber and lazier they get. They’re removing themselves from power and advocacy in order to get stoned. Political Darwinism gives me a glimpse of hope. They’re approaching lobotomies via weed. Some of the progressive elites will remain, but they won’t have the army of lemmings to back them.

      Reply

    • Lauren Buck

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      Amen brother!
      Could you give us all a little more information on Conceal Carry Vs Open Carry here in Washington? Where did the Tax come from regarding obtaining a Conceal Carry permitt?

      Thanks for the information,

      Lauren

      Reply

    • PamC

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      The key point is that many do not want to live in leftist WA. anymore so they move to a real American state (Texas) that also doesn’t have state income tax. My son is in mortgage lending, Austin, and is experiencing huge influxes of people moving there from the west coast. They don’t like the west coast politics, taxes, and high cost of living. King county is just another extension of LALA land California and has the same government mentality. If conservatives are leaving Washington, then it would at least partially explain the decrease of CC. I grew up in Spokane Washington and relocated to Texas. Went to school at the UofW, and even back then Seattle was horribly unsafe and overpriced.

      Reply

    • Kivaari

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      I moved from Western Washington to Idaho 11 years ago. Although I had other valid reasons the gun laws made the move easier. Since then I bought 3 NFA firearms. One doesn’t need a CWP in Idaho, although I do have one just to speed up gun purchases. Idaho believes in individual gun rights and I am just 57 miles from Washington.

      Reply

    • DUNE HILL

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      VERY TRUE AND FUNNY…THANKS

      Reply

    • Aardvark

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      I thought that about abortion too, since the pro-abortionist’s are liberals. But abortion was legalized in 1973 and it has not hindered the growth of the democrat party. I believe it is because they are indoctrinating new generations through the public school systems, keeping a fresh supply of “young minds full of mush” coming. Even some kids from very conservative families are now protesting against their own parents beliefs and consider their parents to be alt-right idiots.

      Reply

    • Firewagon

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      Open carry always legal, but you need a license to carry concealed. Maybe those 11,000 just went to the Roy Rogers look? Or, instead of PAYING for some license, have just decided to carry sans license. I’m slow, so the reasons for authorizing the first and not the second is a little bemusing. Does someone walking into my joint exhibiting a Wyatt Earp Buntline Special make me feel better than another walking around with a concealed handgun, license or not, that I can’t see?

      Reply

    • Michael Gibbins

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      Agreed Griz44Mag, I fled Mexifornia over 6 years ago but to Florida. Now I am seeing a big influx of north eastern people ( mostly New York and New Jersey) who are bringing there liberal ideas with them! I keep hearing people say ” well back home we did it this way or that way”!

      Reply

    • Seattle Socialist

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      Good riddance! As a proud Seattle liberal, the fewer morons who think they are a hero in the making running around with guns the better! Seriously, gun rights nuts need to move to Texas, where Trump living scum are welcome. We don’t want your kind here, as we are building a civilization for the future, and your kind aren’t ready for the 21st century. Please, take your ignorant asses to places like Texas where living in the past with your wild West delusions are welcome. We want to be more like Japan, where guns are effectively banned, and they don’t have any mass shootings. Besides, you’re just not going to fit in with civilized people.

      Reply

    • Kivaari

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      OOOH! A bad person. Typical Seattle Socialist left wing elitist nut.

      Reply

  • Ken

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    I think it has a lot more to do with the influx of snowflake types – and their mind numbing effect on those that may be on the fence about supporting their Second Amendment rights. King and Pierce counties have the worst infestation. There has been a steady migration from the south up ere for several years. This has accelerated with the rise of tech companies – the industry draws millennial slackers like fruit flies. And they are not known to be NRA members, as a rule.
    I was born here and have 63 years of watching how things develop around these parts. The human pollutants that have been streaming here make me want to puke. But the pendulum always swings both ways. This too will change.

    Reply

  • Spacegunner

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    I used to live in Seattle in the early 1990’s, and obtained my CPL with no problems. Washington has become so very liberal that, even though I loved living in the Seattle area (more conservative Eastside back then), I am still perplexed by the ever-growing liberal culture. Either they were/are Boulder (Colorado) rejects, or Boulder is filled with Seattle rejects.

    Back to the point. I think the general population have become apathetic “sheeple”: follow the crowd in ignorant bliss, until eaten by the predators. Many conservative “sheeple” have been beaten down so much, that they succumb to the liberal agendas. That is how the Left works, and so effectively.

    Reply

  • DaveW

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    King and Pierce Counties are bastions of liberalism, which may explain why the numbers have dropped the most in those places.

    WA and OR anti-gun/gun control supporters have been watching CA and learning how far they can push things. Perhaps they have pushed them to the point where pro-gun people have given up on CCWs and chosen to seek simply keeping their basic rights. Though this is far from what James Madison and George Mason envisioned.

    Reply

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