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Concealed carry boom continues; women are big segment of buyers

Larry and Kathy Emert were shopping for her new pistol at the Puyallup gun show with dealer R.T. Tanis.
Larry and Kathy Emert were shopping for her new pistol at the Puyallup gun show with dealer R.T. Tanis.
Dave Workman

Sunday’s report by KWES News that New Mexico saw “more than twice as many concealed carry permits…issued” last year puts that state in line with just about every other state in the nation, and women comprise a large segment of new gun buyers.

According to a report the other day by, “Nationwide, an estimated 8 million to 10 million citizens legally carry guns, a jump from about 20 years ago, when the figure was less than 1 million.”

What does that tell us? According to gun rights advocates, it means they have been right all along about citizens wanting to arm themselves against crime and that the public likes shooting as a recreational pastime.

It may also mean that gun prohibitionists could find it increasingly difficult to sell what many consider a “snake oil” message about the need for more restrictive gun laws. Last week’s concealed carry victory in the Ninth Circuit Court also bodes well for gun rights.

Oklahoma’s KOTV recently reported that in 2013, “more than 60,000 Oklahomans applied for a gun license.” The station also said the state Bureau of Investigation launched a new system that allowed users to submit license applications or renew their licenses on line.

Sixty-thousand license applications in one year in a single state says a great deal about the public’s desire to be armed. It is a number that creates nothing but consternation among the ranks of gun control proponents because the more people they “lose to the dark side,” the more difficult it becomes for them to successfully push so-called “gun violence prevention” efforts, which translate to gun control, a fact about which increasing numbers of people are becoming aware.

In Washington State, 2013 saw more than 54,000 new concealed pistol licenses issued by the Department of Licensing through county and municipal law enforcement agencies. The year wrapped up with about 450,000 active Washington CPLs in circulation as this column noted, which may surprise some people because the state is generally considered “blue” in its voting pattern for national office.

In Kansas, where the cow towns of Dodge City, Ellsworth, Abilene and Wichita are so often identified as hearts of the “Wild West” (they really weren’t, outside of movie theaters), the Kansas City Star reported that 2013 saw “a huge increase” in applications for concealed carry permits, and offered a prediction that the surge would continue if more talk about gun control came from Congress. Half-again as many Kansans applied for carry permits that year than during 2012, and the newspaper suggested that “The uptick was driven by a push to tighten gun laws at the federal level and the December 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Conn.”

CNN reported earlier this month that “Almost 80 percent of gun retailers reported a rise in female customers in 2012, according to industry figures. In Florida, 22 percent of the concealed carry permits are held by women. In Texas, women hold 28 percent of concealed carry permits, up sharply over the past decade.”

Down in Georgia, WGXA News reported on the recent Great Outdoors Show earlier this month, noting that many women were interested in firearms. Reporters found one woman, Bethany Swem, who summed it up bluntly: “Women need to be able to protect themselves. You can’t always count on a guy being there.”

What can be counted on are continued attempts by gun control proponents to pressuring lawmakers to make it more difficult for citizens, including the new female gun owners, to buy guns and obtain carry permits and licenses. But if the pendulum is swinging away from the gun control camp, especially with more women joining the ranks of gun owners, their message will be even harder to sell.


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