Ohio is on track to double last year’s permit grants of 65,000, and Oklahoma, Tennessee, Wyoming and Nebraska have already matched or exceeded last year’s totals only halfway into 2013. Florida, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin are also seeing significant jumps in permit applications.
In the wake of the Newtown Shooting, the National Rifle Association perpetuated messages that more guns would have prevented shootings like Newtown, and has warned repeatedly that gun confiscation is imminent. But existing research shows that civilians with guns have been wholly ineffective at blocking mass shootings, and that more guns means more homicides. The bugaboo of widespread gun confiscation, meanwhile, has been flatly rejected by lawmakers and the U.S. Supreme Court. These fears have nonetheless prompted a wave of new lax gun laws, gun purchases, and gun permit applications, with many saying they feel safer carrying a gun.
By the end of this year, every state will have eliminated bans on carrying a weapon outside the home. Illinois was the last remaining state with a law prohibiting concealed carry for most people, but it is poised to pass a new law as soon as next week, after a federal appeals court invalidated the state’s ban in December.
And at least 20 states have loosened their gun laws this year, with many making it easier and cheaper to obtain a permit, and loosening restrictions on carrying guns in restaurants, bars, and other public places. A few states have gone so far as to make federal enforcement of gun laws a state crime, even though that is a clear violation of the U.S. Constitution’s supremacy clause. But ten other states successfully passed new restrictions to limit gun violence this year. Several included universal background check provisions of the sort blocked in Congress, despite overwhelming support.