Washington State Loses 11,000 Carry Licenses in Four Months

Man lifting his shirt to show a concealed handgun

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 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)

  1. As mentioned we have a preexisting constitutional right to bear arms and it may be that many have begun to wake up to the fact, especially as many states move to constitutional carry. People in Washington may be feeling that we shouldn’t have to renew or have a permit to carry. Many also feel that a cpl is a disguised form of registration and are feeling less trusting of Washington’s liberal government and have said screw that and are not renewing.

  2. I’ve had mine since it was a CWP (concealed weapon permit). I think the main reason for any decrease is the mentality of our elected “leaders”. Tax the bottomless reserves of the public and tell you just what is good for us without listening to what is being said. I’m getting ready to retire and I WILL be moving out of this state that I used to love.

  3. My guess is it has more to do with marijuana than anything else. If you look at the Washington state permit application – the dreaded weed questions pops up at #5. My guess is that most folks are still carrying concealed, they are no longer renewing their permit since the state legalized marijuana to avoid answering the question.

  4. Perhaps another reason is that the WA CPL isn’t recognized in a lot of other states, while a CPL from Utah is nearly universal, and is recognized in WA. A decent firearms training course will get you qualified for both Utah and Oregon.

  5. Be nice if people would stop running, get their nutsacks back, and say screw the 2nd Amendment.
    How did pre Articles of Confederation and later newer Constitution people’s decide to shoot those damn redcoats?
    Did they go ask for a permit, pay a fee, taxes on guns and ammo?
    A careful reading of our Hstory pre outbreak of hostilities listed a hell of a lot of grievances but not being allowed a weapon was not one of them.
    IT was only after a force of arms and the rampant abuses far worse than Britains by Charter member states Confederation did the populace approve of Owning firearms was a necessity did it become a Right.
    But it was a minor point, there was a hell of a lot more involved in Constitutional Documents that somehow got thrown by wayside since then.
    The 2nd was “Not supposed, but was intended to protect each and every restrictions upon Central Government, and those foreign or domestic assholes from going beyond its vested powers.
    NOT A “convenient responsability”, but a duty.
    Tired of all this , well just move personal or corporate to another state mentality, how convenient an excuse that allows the 2nd get butchered, and absolves all the rest of gun owners to mot do a f’n thing about its demise.
    We give those control freaks every victory,; why?
    Oh we await those blue Helmets and clove goofed UN, Arabs, Mexicans, BLACKS to invade our freedoms.
    It is men and women dressed like you and I, who are using the State powers they should never of gained from acting outside Constitutional limits, they are taking a chunk of metal, right, not taking and controlling your right.
    Gun owners talk tough, love waving flags, but do not have the balls to face up to reality US is not a democratic representative government and the Constitution no more than a Korea to hide behind, freedoms bleed out.

  6. I have to agree with many of the comments here, and think the explanation is a combination of all of the above: rising taxes; ever loonier liberal politicians in Olympia, Seattle, and King county; population shift; and a reprieve from “So-and-so is going to take your guns away!” Let’s face it, all that was mainly an excuse to drive up the cost of guns and ammo.
    I live in Snohomish county. A CPL here costs $48 for 5 years, with a renewal of $32. I have one mainly for ease of firearms purchase. Last time, I was in and out of the gun shop in 40 minutes. I don’t carry all the time, as someone mentioned, there are several restrictions as to where you cannot enter with one.

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