How Frequent Are Ye, Gun-Toting Washingtonian?

As often happens in this business, other newspapers are examining the same trends we are. And as big as our country is, I’m often reminded that our little Kitsap corner of this universe is more like, say, Kenosha County, Wisconsin than we realize.

In this case, it’s Florida that shares something in common with Washington, its farthest away lower-48 counterpart. The St. Petersburg Times reported Monday that concealed pistol licenses in the last three years are up 50 percent.

You’ll recall that Washington’s CPL permit applications are up 43 percent. It looks from the Florida story as if the reason for the respective spikes are similar, with one notable exception: we don’t have the influx of hurricanes that might lead one to think about the idea of lawlessness following such a disaster.

There’s one thing the Times did in their story that I wished I’d done in mine: the probability that a Washingtonian has a CPL. The Florida, they reported the number to be one in 35.

Doing the math — 258,000 CPL holders in Washington, population 6.3 million — I find that in our state, the number is about one in 25.

11 thoughts on “How Frequent Are Ye, Gun-Toting Washingtonian?

  1. “…258,000 CPL holders in Washington, population 6.3 million — I find that in our state, the number is about one in 25….”

    And then what percent of folks carry WITHOUT getting a concealed weapon permit?

    In our county what is the procedure to apply for and get the permit?
    How long does it take?
    Does a person have to already own a gun?
    How many guns is the permit good for… ?

    Shy folks might well hesitate getting a concealed weapon permit without knowing the procedure..
    Sharon O’Hara

  2. Sharon,

    It’s very easy. It took me about 10 minutes at the Bremerton Police Department to apply for mine. It arrived in the mail within 2 weeks. My fingerprints have been officially on file via this permit since 1995.

    I was fortunate enough to grow up with a Grandfather who was a licensed gunsmith and a firearm instructor for the private sector and law enforcement. From the cradle, our family’s children, grandchildren, girls and boys, learned how to safely handle, shoot, clean and care for a variety of firearms. Because we were taught to respect them as a potentially dangerous sport and hobby in which we frequently and actively participated in and not an unknown taboo, none of us ever had a desire to play around with the guns in inappropriate situations, show them off or brag about them to others. Many a pop can and or pieces of fruit paid a hefty price for us to learn and improve our aim. Target practice is something I still very much enjoy.

  3. @Sharon

    A CPL in the state of Washington is pretty easy to get. Here in Kitsap, one would need to go to one of two places. 1)If you live in a city, to the city PD. 2)If you live outside the city, go to the county Sheriff’s office. The application can be downloaded, filled out and taken in, or obtained from your local law enforcement office. The fee is about $55, and depending on where you go takes from 30 from application to CPL or up to 30 days. I happened to get mine from the county central office in Silverdale and I was in and out in 30min, CPL in hand.

    There is no requirement to own a gun before, or after you get your CPL. Look at it like a drivers license, you don’t HAVE to have a car to get a drivers license. Although I would highly recommend having your firearm, and practicing with it, and going through a self defence class. You permit is good for 5 years from the date of issue, and the holder is responsible for remembering to renew, you will get no reminder or letter.

    Also, of note openly carrying a firearm in Washington is also legal, and requires no CPL, although you must unload your firearm prior to getting into a vehicle, because you can only carry in a vehicle if your hold a valid CPL. There is nothing except your own apprehensions from keeping your from carrying on your hip in a visible manner. Although businesses can ask you to leave. If you wants more info you can check out http://www.opencarry.org In the forums section there is a specific section relating to Washington State.

  4. While I have a CPL, and I do carry concealed some of the time (while at work, etc), I find that whenever I have the chance, I “open carry”, which is where you carry your firearm on your hip (most commonly), or somehow on your person, out in the open, where others can see it, like a police officer. It is very liberating to not have to hide your right to be armed in this great country, and serves the dual purpose of educating the public on gun ownership and lawful self defense.

    It also means that it is easier to carry a larger firearm, which usually means more ammunition/larger caliber, and therefore a higher chance of stopping a determined attacker. Open carry is legal in Washington State without a CPL, although most “OCers” have one, because of a statute that states in order to carry a loaded gun in any manner in a vehicle, you must have a CPL.

    Given that WA state is a “shall issue” state (which means that a police department MUST issue you a permit as long as you are not a felon, etc, within 30 days after submitting the paperwork and paying the applicable fees), it is an easy, relatively painless process to obtain a permit, then you will be covered no matter whether you carry openly or concealed.

    Feel free to visit the open carry website and forums @ http://www.opencarry.org to learn more and join in on discussions about OC and the right to keep and bear arms.

  5. Madhatter, You would be wrong in your following statement.

    “A CPL in the state of Washington is pretty easy to get. Here in Kitsap, one would need to go to one of two places. 1)If you live in a city, to the city PD. 2)If you live outside the city, go to the county Sheriff’s office.”

    Citizens living in cities can go to the County Sheriff’s office as they are still a resident of the county. In Kitsap County the Silverdale Sheriff’s Office will generally issue a permit to you during you first visit.

  6. Collen – MadHatter – DavidG – FredB –
    Your beneficial comments have proved again the immense value of Blogs and Blogging.

    You’ve proved it can be educating at its finest…plainly, honestly, from the hands-on people and out to those who don’t know and need the information.

    You took the time to share knowledge and experience … even offering a url for further education of the ‘open carry’.

    In the past year and a half…you are only the second blog subject where 100% of the bloggers offered information and explanations to educate those of us who don’t know.
    Gratefully…. Sharon O’Hara

    One more question: If a person is planning a solo cycle trip from one end of the country to the other, is the Washington concealed weapon permit valid through the other states?’

  7. Washington State has a reciprocity with the following states, your WA CPL will only be valid in these states. In any other state you would need a CPL for that state, or a CPL that has reciprocity with that state.

    Louisiana
    Michigan
    Mississippi
    Missouri
    North Carolina
    Ohio
    Oklahoma
    Utah

    @Fred B – Sorry the wording was hazy, yes you can go your local PD OR the sheriff’s office, thanks for pointing that out…

  8. i have heard folk lore about the open carry topic in washington, my eyes have been opened, i am extatic to know that it is legal to carry openly in the state, however i am wondering if there are any local laws that make this too good to be true? i would liek to hear some of your personal experience in kitsap county if you wouldnt mind…that is all

  9. I don’t know that I would be comfortable wearing a gun in plain sight.
    Two things might occur, maybe more.

    1) The criminal type, seeing a gun on the expected ‘victim’ might change his/her mind about committing a criminal act and move on to greener pastures.

    w) The criminal type intending harm, would be forewarned the proposed ‘victim’ was armed and able to defend /her/his self. The criminal would take great precaution to disarm the proposed victim or wait until the timing and occasion was right.
    Sharon O’Hara

  10. Well, the issue with ‘open carry’ is that anyone else can call 911 and say they ‘feel intimidated’ by seeing your firearm. If that happens the police must take a report and they must forward it to the prosecutor. As you know, there are many people who are phobic about firearms and it wouldn’t take much to make you the subject of an investigation. That’s also true of ‘concealed carry’ if you firearm becomes temporarily unconcealed. The irony here is that CCW holders have subjected themselves to a background check and fingerprints and are most liklely the most careful citizens in the land. You avrage garden variety criminal is not going to pay attention to such niceties as letting the cops know they might have a gun.

    Also, many businesses ‘prohibit’ firearms as a matter of ‘policy.’ For example, Olympic College is a ‘gun free zone.’ In real terms, what this means is that law abiding citizens shed their firearms in such locations where criminals do not. In fact, a criminal interpretation of ‘gun free zone’ is ‘lots of defenseless targets.’ That’s ecactly what happened at Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, and the Tacoma Mall.

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