When it comes to voting rights, any obstacles outrage liberals; even free government-issued IDs are viewed as disenfranchising the poor and disproportionately blacks. But when it comes to the right to own a gun for self-defense, they don’t hesitate to pile on fees, ID requirements, expensive training and onerous background checks.
That’s too bad, because many law-abiding citizens in crime-ridden neighborhoods really do need a gun for self-defense. Since poor, urban blacks are the most likely victims of violent crime, there is little doubt that they stand to benefit the most from owning guns. Research, including my own, has demonstrated this.
A new report from the Crime Prevention Research Center shows that the average fee for a concealed handgun permit is $67, but it is much higher in the most Democratic states. Each 10-percentage point increase in a state’s presidential vote for Hillary Clinton was associated with an additional $30 in the concealed handgun permit fee. In California, where Clinton won by over 30 points, fees can be as high as $385 for just two years. In New York City, where she won by 60 points, a three-year permit costs $430.
In addition to prohibitive fees, some blue states — California, Illinois — require four times as many training hours as the national average, adding hundreds of dollars to the cost of obtaining a concealed-carry license. In California counties, the mandated cost of training can run from $250 to over a $1,000. Compare heavily Democratic Illinois where the cost of permit and training runs over $450 versus neighboring Republican Indiana where the total cost for everything is $50.
In some states, the poor need not apply even if they are willing to pay these costs. In the heavily Democratic-leaning states of California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island as well as the District of Columbia, people have to demonstrate need for a permit to a local public official.
Los Angeles County illustrates how this discretion results in only a select few wealthy and powerful individuals getting permits. If Los Angeles County authorized permits at the same rate as the rest of the country, it would have around 600,000 permit holders. Instead, only 226 permits have been issued within a population of about 7.9 million adults, and many of them have been to politically connected individuals, including judges. Indeed, former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca earned a reputation for…