A recent article in the Chicago Tribune detailed the experiences of a black woman who obtained a concealed carry permit in Chicago. The article is surprisingly positive about her experiences. An important point is that minority women make up a significant percentage of the growth in concealed carry permits nationwide. From chicagotribune.com:
Robinzine, 51, is a gun owner with a concealed carry license. Since she received her permit in late spring, she carries her firearm wherever she goes.
“It’s like a part of me now,” Robinzine said with the smile.
Data show Robinzine is part of a burgeoning group in Cook County: black women obtaining concealed carry permits. Since Illinois began issuing licenses in 2014, the number of African-American women receiving a permit in Cook County has grown every year.
About 800 black women got a license in 2014, according to Illinois State Police. So far in 2017, nearly 1,400 black women have received a concealed carry permit — already more than all of 2016. In all, more than 4,000 black women have received a concealed carry license in Cook County.
4,000 black women with permits to carry guns for self defense may not seem like a lot in Cook County, Illinois. The County, dominated by Chicago, has a population of 5.2 million. That is less than one legally armed black woman on the streets for each thousand residents.
Illinois was the last state to allow for legal concealed carry of handguns, in 2014. Chicago fought against the exercise of Second Amendment rights and continues to do so. It took two Supreme Court decisions (Heller and McDonald) and a Seventh Circuit decision to force the Illinois Legislature to pass the law.
Permits have only been issued for three years. The growth in permits for blacks and women has been highlighted in research of the Crime Prevention Research Center. From the CRPC:
There are now over 16.3 million permit holders, a record 1.83 million increase in permits since last July. Nationwide, 6.5% adults have a concealed handgun permit. Outside of California and New York, 8 percent of adults have a permit. Permits for women and blacks are increasing much faster than they are for men and whites.
Black women with guns destroy the stereotype that guns are only for old white men. John Lott’s research shows that the utility of guns for defense against violent crime is greater in high crime areas. From the 1996 paper:
For most violent crimes such as murder, rape, and aggravated assault concealed weapons laws have a much greater deterrent effect in high crime counties, while for robbery, property crimes, auto theft, burglary, and larceny the effect appears to be greatest in low crime counties.
The result may seem obvious now. Recall that in 1996, the “common sense” assumption in the national media was that more guns caused more crime. The assumption has been derailed as the per capita number of firearms in the United States has increased from .89 in 1993 to 1.125 in 2015, while the homicide rate dropped in half. In addition, people with concealed carry permits have shown themselves to be extremely law abiding, much more than the general population, and more than police officers.
The highest densities of black women live in high crime areas. Chicago is a classic example. It is not surprising that black women are discovering the utility of the legal carry of defensive firearms.