Record high number of Minnesota concealed carry licenses issued... for second year in a row

(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the epicenter of the Defund the Police movement has seen a record number of residents applying for a concealed carry license for the second straight year, but whatever the reason, the Land of 10,000 Lakes can also now fairly be called the Land of (almost) 400,000 Armed Citizens.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension on Tuesday released its annual permit to carry report, which showed 106,488 permits were issued in 2021 on 110,078 applications. That’s up nearly 10.3% from 2020, when a record 96,554 permits were issued.

According to the BCA, 176 permits were suspended last year, 40 were revoked, 1,165 voided and 1,627 denied.

More permits were issued in Hennepin County last year than any other county, by a wide margin. The five counties that issued the most permits in 2021 were Hennepin (16,888), Ramsey (7,467), Anoka (6,988), Dakota (6,744) and Washington (5,761).

A 10% increase over the already record-high number of licenses that were issued last year is pretty amazing, but I really do believe that there are good reasons to explain the continued high demand, starting with the rise in violent crime that began after the riots that rocked the Twin Cities after George Floyd’s death.

That alone would be enough to fuel interest in carry licenses, but the response to that crime surge by many progressive politicians also made the decision to carry a gun for self-defense an increasingly easy one; defunding the Minneapolis police department and even putting a referendum before voters that would have disbanded the department and replaced it with a “more holistic” Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention.

That referendum failed last November, with about 56% of voters deciding that there was no need to “reimagine policing.” And perhaps now that the establishment wing of the Democratic Party is running away from the slogan and trying to prove their tough-on-crime bona fides the concern of Minnesotans will subside along with the number of concealed carry applicants. I wouldn’t count on it, though, especially with crime still a major concern for residents.

According to the Minnesota BCA, there are now 387,013 active concealed carry licenses in the state, and they would appear to be some of the most law-abiding and responsible Minnesotans around.

The BCA’s report also lists the number of reported crimes by permit holders — 3,863 last year. That number is also the highest since the state’s Personal Protection Act was enacted in 2003. However, the percentage of permit holders who committed a crime remained on par with past years at 1%. Of those crimes, just over 2% involved the use of a firearm while the vast majority (over 61%) were DWIs or traffic offenses.

So only 1% of permit holders were accused of committing any crime at all, and of that measly percentage, 98% of them weren’t accused of committing a crime involving a gun, making their status as a concealed carry holder utterly irrelevant.

It also shows the idiocy inherent in trying to turn every inch of publicly accessible space into  “gun-free zones”; the legal carriers aren’t an issue and the ones with evil or criminal intent are happy to see those “No Guns Allowed” signs. Those twisted cowards and two-legged predators prefer victim disarmament zones over places where armed citizens might actually be able to fight back.

The good news is that we now have more allies in our efforts to get rid of those gun-free zones and strengthen the Second Amendment rights of Minnesotans. Almost 10% of the adult population now possess a concealed carry license, which places the state right around the national average of 8.3% of adults (as calculated by the Crime Prevention Research Center). That’s a solid baseline, but there’s also plenty of room to grow, and as long as crime and policing are still a major concern for the folks living in Minnesota’s biggest cities, I’d say the chances are good that we’ll see another record number of carry applications in 2022.