Washington state residents, especially women, have obtained concealed-carry permits in record numbers, the Seattle Times reports. Between 2005 and 2012, the number of state residents receiving new concealed-carry permits tripled to 62,939. Now some 451,000 Washington residents, more than 100,000 of them women, are allowed to carry a hidden handgun almost anywhere they go. Notably, the growth rate for women getting new permits is twice as fast as that of men.
Washington's boom in concealed weapons mirrors a national trend. State and national experts, law-enforcement officials and others, including permit holders themselves, offered different explanations for the concealed-carry explosion. A common concern emerged from interviews with women who carry: the importance of self-defense. That concern found an echo last month after a misogynistic gunman committed mass murder near the University of California, Santa Barbara. Arkadi Gerney of the left-leaning Center for American Progress, said concealed permits have ballooned nationwide because they are easier to get, thanks to new technologies and fewer pre-requirements such as training. Alan Gottlieb, of the Second Amendment Foundation said recent statements by President Obama about the importance of gun safety have triggered a run on permits out of fear of a looming crackdown. “Obama has been the gun salesman of the year,” he said.