U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- When the COVID-19 outbreak hit in late February 2020, law enforcement agencies in Washington State “suspended” their concealed pistol license application process for several months, and the decline in active CPLs began, from more than 650,000 to a low of 619,000 on April 1 of this year.
But that has dramatically turned around over the past five months, coinciding with the release of the FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2020 which showed a spike in the number of murders statewide to 298. When the Seattle Times publicized the hike, the story did not mention that the months of May through September showed an average recovery of 4,265 active CPLs, bringing the number of licenses up to 640,723 as of Oct. 1, and the surge is continuing. License renewals have continued through the period when new applications were not being accepted.
There is no provision in state law that allows law enforcement agencies to impose such a suspension.
In 2019, according to revised FBI data, Washington recorded 204 murders. The original FBI report showed 194 murders for the year.
Notably, according to data from the state Department of Licensing, the number of active CPLs in King County, which encompasses far-left Seattle, has seen more than 3,000 new licenses issued since May. This coincides with the continuing number of homicides in the city, including one reported Sunday night in the downtown area, when an unidentified man was gunned down. It also coincides with reports of declining police manpower in the city, and continuing uncertainty about the coronavirus situation, thanks in no small part to more—not less—restrictions as the percentage of vaccinations increases.
However, there is also the concern about the continued loss of manpower in law enforcement because of a new edict that state troopers and police could lose their jobs if they don’t vaccinate, and a number of them are refusing to do so.
Significantly, while CPLs are rebounding, the Times noted there were two fewer slayings in the county than at the same time last year, which tends to pour water on the long-held argument that more guns would lead to more slayings. Last year’s drop in the number of active CPLs in King County, from 104,202 on April 1, 2020 to 98,339 by the end of last year suggests quite the opposite. With fewer legally licensed handguns “on the street” last year, the number of murders in Seattle and the unincorporated county went up.
So far this year, according to Seattle Police data, there have been at least 33 slayings, and that doesn’t count Sunday’s murder. Last year, the city logged 52 murders for the year, so the bloodshed might be slowing down with three full months remaining in 2020.
As reported by the Seattle Times, the surge in last year’s murders amounted to “a 46% increase in killings amid the pandemic.”
There was also a surge in gun buying, which could be an offshoot of civil unrest in the state, coupled with the highly-publicized loss of hundreds of Seattle police officers. People unsure whether they would be able to get help in an emergency evidently decided to become their own first responders. Buying guns and now obtaining carry licenses—good for five years—is one result of the past 19 months of dramatic change in the Evergreen State.
It underscores what Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (which coincidentally is headquartered in Bellevue, a booming city located across Lake Washington from Seattle, and a thorn in the side of local gun prohibitionists) said recently:
“Gun prohibitionists who enjoy their own private security while promoting restrictive laws that take guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens are world-class hypocrites. The same people who want to disarm honest citizens are typically those who support policies that are soft on criminals. They haven’t simply lost perspective; they’ve abandoned common sense.”
The Times story quoted University of Washington law professor Mary Fan, who “is also a core faculty member at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center.” She explained, “It’s hard to generalize with one year because you want to be able to see things longitudinally to be able to really call it a trend. I can see how it could be alarming because it does look like there’s an increase, but our community, the nation, was gripped by major environmental changes and contextual changes during this time.”
One thing that hasn’t changed, as is evident from the resurgence in the number of carry licenses, is that Washington citizens—including those in Seattle and other liberal cities—are concerned enough for their safety to obtain such a license. Over the past five months, the number of CPLs has rebounded more than 21,000, more than half the number lost (31,005) between April 2020 and this past April 1.
If the pattern continues, by the end of this year, the state will have recovered beyond the 650,000 peak in 2020.
Washington has the highest number of active carry licenses of any state on the West Coast. It’s a fact that must be alarming to supporters of a Seattle-based gun prohibition lobbying group, not to mention anti-gun political leaders in Seattle, King County and the State Legislature.
About Dave Workman