Recently feminist Anita Sarkeesian was scheduled to lecture at Utah State University. She decided to cancel upon not only receiving a death threat, but learning that students are allowed to carry concealed firearms on campus. I’ve known many teachers and students who carry firearms on university grounds, even one fellow student who has open carried a sidearm for the past three years with no problem. This may come as a surprise to many in Utah but especially those visiting the state. Although because the entire concept of “concealing” a firearm means that no one is meant to know about it, it’s difficult to comprehend just how many people may be carrying a firearm.
There are two important places from which I obtain my statistical data. The first is what is reported by Utah’s Public Safety Department 2014 Quarter 3 statistics. According to their data, 197,239 Utah residents currently have a permit to carry a concealed firearm. According to U.S. Census data, the 2013 population of Utah was an estimated 2,900,872 with an estimated 1,870,144 residents over the age of 21. I’ll simply refer to this group as “adults”.
Using this data we can determine the percentage of adult Utah residents who have a Concealed Firearm Permit (CFP) is ~10.5% or roughly 1 in 10.
Let’s bring this into perspective. Statistically, that’s two CFP holders for every classroom of adults and maybe four for every movie theater full of adults. I don’t know how many adult shoppers are in Walmart at any given time, but I’d wager there’s at least one CFP holder in a Utah Walmart at any given time. Even if these estimates are off by half, we’d be left with 1 in every 20 adults who are CFP holders in Utah. That is still a very surprising estimate. While I personally know many CFP holders, I would never anticipate the number to be that high.
This obviously doesn’t represent an exact number of people we see every day actually carrying their firearms. Just because someone owns a permit doesn’t mean they carry a weapon all the time, if ever. Many people choose to obtain a CFP to make it easier to purchase firearms at the gun shop counter. Another caveat to this is the gender difference. I have no data to back up the next claim, but I’m comfortable saying men carry firearms considerably more often than women. Which would mean the percentage of males carrying a firearm is much more than 10%, making the percentage of female CFP holders much lower. Though we shouldn’t get too ahead of ourselves. There is really no effective way to determine how many CFP holders are actually carrying a firearm in public (or at home for that matter).
These numbers bring into perspective how many Utah residents are both gun enthusiasts as well as those who genuinely care about independently protecting themselves and the people around them. We must remember, the right to life and liberty belongs to citizens. The principle responsibility to protect those virtues belong to the citizens. Law Enforcement and Military responsibility is simply a second layer delegation to protect the life and liberty of our communities. Many debate the moral consequences of requiring people to actually have a permit in order to carry a firearm. Regardless, CFP permits have enabled us to gather hard data on Utah residents interested personal protection through firearm ownership.
Sarkeesian apparently doesn’t feel the same way toward concealed carry like many of the folks in Utah she wanted to speak with. According to her twitter feed the police refused to sweep for firearms on the civilian conceal carry population.
Forced to cancel my talk at USU after receiving death threats because police wouldn’t take steps to prevent concealed firearms at the event.
I believe this calls for praise for that communities law enforcement for doing the right thing.