U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- As the 37th annual Gun Rights Policy Conference unfolded over the first weekend of October in Texas with a smaller in-person audience and thousands of live stream viewers, one of the biggest gun rights stories of the autumn may have been in Washington.
Experts on gun policy gathered at the Westin Dallas-Fort Worth Airport hotel while gun control proponents 1,600 miles to the northwest were likely cringing. The Washington Department of Licensing revealed August saw a whopping 21,180 more concealed pistol licenses over the number reported at the end of August: 688,440, as opposed to 667,260.
In Texas, the conference brought activists up to date about gun politics, the continuing impact of the Supreme Court ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, and the outlook for the 2022 mid-term elections.
In Washington, gun owners are sending a strong signal to Seattle-based anti-gunners and their Democrat colleagues in Olympia by setting a stunning new record in the number of concealed pistol licenses issued in a single month. The previous record had been set in the spring of 2013, at just under 14,000.
The irony of the weekend is that the Dallas conference was sponsored by the Washington-based Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb learned of the sharp spike in active CPLs during the opening day of the conference. His one-word reaction: “Wow!”
Washington is not one of the 25 states now boasting what is generically called “constitutional carry,” though one of the conference speakers said the correct term is “permitless carry.” It is, however, the western state with the fastest-growing number of resident CPLs, a situation that cannot be overstated in a state where liberals are scampering with heavy social media advertising in an effort to keep the state “blue.” Better than one-in-ten qualified adults is licensed to carry in a state where billionaire-backed gun prohibitionists have pushed through two gun control initiatives since 2014, Seattle levies a special tax on the sale of firearms and ammunition in the city, and the Legislature is dominated by liberal anti-gun Democrats.
Seattle, incidentally, has seen a dramatic loss of police officers, leading to longer response times and, allegedly, in some cases, no response at all.
According to licensing department data, Seattle is encompassed in heavily-Democrat King County, where the number of active CPLs hit 107,846 on Sept. 30.
Neighboring Pierce County has 90,395 licensed citizens. Over in Spokane County, there are 47,178 CPS, whereas on Sept. 1, there were 44,238 licenses.
This could easily have been a topic for presentation at the conference, which saw reports from author/researcher Dr. John Lott, SAF President Massad Ayoob, academics David Kopel and Robert Cottrol, and several attorneys who have been active in Second Amendment litigation.
Lott noted in his presentation that the media “doesn’t report defensive gun uses,” a pattern only occasionally broken by such incidents as the defensive gun uses which stopped would-be mass shooters earlier this year in West Virginia and Indiana.
Yet, even in the wake of the Bruen ruling, politicians in New York and neighboring New Jersey quickly moved to adopt new laws designed to get around the Supreme Court’s directives in Bruen. One presenter, attorney Daniel Schmutter, told the GRPC audience, “New Jersey (ant-gunners) absolutely lost their minds,” after the Bruen ruling was released.
“They are looking for any way to undermine” the Bruen decision, Schmutter observed.
Garden State officials would likely have fits if they suddenly found themselves in the Evergreen State with all of those legally-armed citizens.
What is not known is whether this surge in carry licenses will translate to political activism next month. Clearly, in Washington, the public is not simply alarmed at rising crime and declining police numbers in major cities; they are doing something about it by arming up. Washington has been a “shall issue” state for decades.
As reported by TheGunMag.com, since the first of the year, Washington has added more than 49,000 active CPLs, and with three months remaining, that number is likely to go even higher.
About Dave Workman