In 2013, LA Weekly obtained a list of the 341 concealed carry permit holders in Los Angeles County, California. That is only about 0.0045% of the 7.7 million adults living in the county in 2013. As of January this year, there were only 226 permits, about 0.0029% of the adult population. By contrast, today over 6.53% of the adult population in the US has permits. Outside the restrictive states of California and New York, about 8% of the adult population have permits. LA Weekly pointed out that the people given permits were judges, reserve deputy sheriffs, and a small group who gave campaign contributions or gifts to then-Sheriff Lee Baca. Something that LA Weekly didn’t do was look at the list to determine the race of those lucky few getting permits. In Los Angeles County in 2013, about 48.1% of the people living there were Hispanic, and 9% were black.
To check the race of those who received permits, we used two approaches. First, we did Google searches as well as searches on social media to find information on people. Using this, we identified the race of 135 people: 4 Hispanics (3%), 7 blacks (5.2%), 15 Asians (11.1%), and 109 whites. Only 16 were females (11.9%). Hispanics and women had much lower permitting rates than the general population and the rates that those groups obtained concealed handgun permits in places that don’t allow authorities discretion in determining whether people have a justifiable need to carry a gun for protection. Asians were not as different than their 14.4% of the population in 2013.
For all 341 names, we used a website that listed the probability that the last name is Hispanic. We included any last name as Hispanic when the probability of them being Hispanic was at least 5%. Doing that implied that a total of 22 of the 341 people could be Hispanic (6.5%), still a number dramatically lower than their share of the population. There are three names that we couldn’t classify as male or female (Bobbie, Tracy, Robbie), but if you assume that they are all women, only 26 of the 341 permit holders are women (7.6%). At the low end, 23, or 6.7%, are women.
By comparison, in a new report looking at data for 2016 that will be released next week, 14 states that provide information on the gender of permit holders had an average of 36% of the permit holders being women. Eight states that had similar information on race showed that 11% of permit holders were black.
Previous work that we have done has discussed the impact of how gun control in Chicago on the poor obtaining handguns. In Chicago and DC, the zip codes that have guns under Democrat rules tend to be higher income and much more heavily white areas.
Data available here for download (Excel file): CCW Licensees in LA County