The Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) recently conducted a study that examines the behavior of those applying for concealed carry permits and the rapid increase of CCW applications.
According to the study’s findings, between 2009 and 2015 the number of concealed carry permits has increased to over 14.5 million, a 215% increase since 2007. When looking at Google Trends, people’s interests in concealed carry spikes whenever a mass shooting takes place. It occurred after the Umpqua Community College attack in Oregon, the Paris terrorist attack and even more significantly after the San Bernardino terrorist attack.
What does this say about people who are wanting to concealed carry?
Americans are afraid and they are wanting to protect themselves. They do not want to be like victims of mass shootings who have to hide and hope they survive. They want to have the option of fighting back, of giving them, their coworkers and their families a fighting chance.
I know what it is like to be around a mass shooting.
Last December, I was in Redlands, a couple freeway exits up from the San Bernardino terrorist attack. I remember listening to the police scanner with my coworkers, wondering if it was safe to go outside. When we looked out of our office window, we could see police cars racing down the street as they exited the freeway. It was clear that they were in pursuit of the suspects. We spent the majority of that day reading news reports and watching aerial shots on TV.
I remember looking at Facebook and seeing “San Bernardino, California” as a trending topic. It gave me the chills knowing that something so tragic and horrific was taking place in my own backyard.
In the weeks after the attack, San Bernardino saw a nine-fold in the number of concealed carry applications. During the weekend following the attack, the Sheriff’s department received 75 applications, an increase from the average 10. By the end of December, around 750 applications were received. On average, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department receives 80.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office was backlogged with applications. Residents were having to wait eight months to be scheduled for an application appointment. Residents in neighboring Riverside County were also applying for CCW permits. Application appointments for Riverside County were being scheduled 10 months in advance.
“‘Eight months out is a long way for us,’” Sheriff McMahon told ABC 10. “‘I just can’t put enough staff down there. I don’t even have enough staff, or workspace, to be honest with you.’”
It seemed like every law-abiding resident in the county felt the instant desire to be armed. People were flocking to gun stores and ranges to learn how to properly shoot and defend themselves. Suddenly, an anti-gun area was looking more and more pro-gun.
We are continually seeing tragedies like this happen in designated “gun-free” zones, even though they are designed – in theory – to keep criminals away. The reality? We cannot predict what every single person in our community is going to do. All we can do is prepare ourselves for the worst. Instead of taking a lax approach to terrorist attacks and mass shootings, the average American can – and should – learn how to defend themselves. After all, a good guy with a gun is the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun.