The surge in concealed carry is continuing across the country, and now that the 115th Congress has been sworn in, many in the Second Amendment community are looking to see whether there is swift action on one major issue: National concealed carry reciprocity.
President-elect Donald Trump mentioned more than once during the campaign that it made sense for a concealed carry permit/license issued by one state to be recognized by all the other states, same as a driver’s license. The most recent estimate on the number of concealed carry licenses and permits nationwide from the Crime Prevention Research Center tops 15 million.
A story in the Capitol Journal noted that South Dakota issued 30,029 concealed carry permits in 2016, describing that as “a record annual figure for the state in its 11th year of issuing the permits.”
But that doesn’t hold a candle to Arizona, which reported 299,680 active carry permits to wrap up 2016. And it pales in comparison to Washington, where the Department of Licensing Tuesday reported 571,476 active concealed pistol licenses, a hike of 4,791 new CPLs issued in December and a total of 61,898 licenses issued for the whole of 2016.
In West Virginia, where so-called “constitutional carry” without a permit took effect last June, the Clarksburg Exponent Telegram reported that this new law “has not affected police safety, but it has increased the sale of handguns in the area.”
And, in an interesting revelation, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported the other day that “Fears about Trump’s rhetoric on one hand, and fears that his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton might try to restrict gun ownership on the other fueled a spike in gun permit applications in Minnesota (last) year.” As of Dec. 7, the newspaper reported, the state had issued 70,112 permits. That’s a 57 percent increase over the 44,696 issued in 2015, the newspaper detailed, quoting a report from the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
On a national scale, anti-gunners have already promised to fight reciprocity legislation. The Washington Times reported Monday that gun rights groups have already announced broad agendas, and national concealed carry is at or near the top of the list. Likewise, armed citizens want an end to widespread “gun free zones” because they only seem to disarm law-abiding people but haven’t prevented any mass shootings.
Also on the gun rights agenda are such items as legalizing short-barreled rifles and sound suppressors (silencers), and reversing efforts to disqualify veterans and senior citizens from gun ownership based on their needs for assistance in handling personal or financial affairs.