I’ve come up with a way to compare state gun controls and population movements. This is in response to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent interview with Jen Psaki, as part of his Democracy Tour, the early part of which I covered in The Epoch Times.
The topic came up regarding Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signing a “Constitutional Carry” gun law, which means any law-abiding adult can carry a concealed firearm without getting a permit. After last year’s Bruen decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, the other option now is for “Shall Issue” laws, meaning law-abiding adults “shall” be issued such permits after a background check and taking firearms classes.
At about the 17 minute mark in the interview, Psaki asked about DeSantis signing the Constitutional Carry bill a week after the killings of six people at a Nashville, Tenn., school.
Newsom blasted DeSantis, “He’s scared to death ... of the people, scared of the public ... the majority of NRA members probably opposed that position. No background checks? None? Really? No training? Why would we do that with weapons of war? That’s extreme in the extreme.”
Actually, 25 states now have Constitutional Carry and Florida will make 26. Are all of them “extreme”? Moreover, psychos intent on committing massacres aren’t going to follow any gun-control laws, such as the more than 100 California has passed in recent years. Which haven’t stopped mass shootings there, either. “Weapons of war” is an epithet about rifles, such as AR-15s, which usually are too big and bulky to be concealed. Most concealed weapons are pistols, for obvious reasons. Does Newsom want to ban carrying those, too?
What does have a chance of stopping a mass shooting right away is an honest, law-abiding citizen carrying a gun and using it immediately against the psycho killer. Constitutional Carry laws make that more likely.
But here’s what I have come up with. The country now is divided: 26 Constitutional Carry states (Florida will become the 26th when its law becomes effective on July 1) and 24 Shall Issue states plus the District of Columbia. What is the population flow? People flee crime. From where to where are they going?
Because the Bruen decision came as recently as last June, the numbers here reflect trends, not the exact state of things. The population data ends on July 1, 2022, before DeSantis signed the law. But Florida of course is a more conservative state and almost inevitably would become a Constitutional Carry state.
Before Bruen, California was one of eight states that was “May Carry,” meaning the states had discretion to decide who got concealed-carry permits. In California, that authority was devolved to the county sheriffs. Generally sheriffs in counties with large cities issued few permits, while those in more rural counties were generous. Unfortunately, in California it remains difficult to get a permit in many places, Calmatters reported March 21. The state is defying the U.S. Supreme Court’s clear decision.
The Net Domestic Migration numbers are for the period April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2022. The data is from the U.S. Census Bureau as conveniently laid out by Wikipedia. I added whether a state is Constitutional Carry or soon will be in Florida’s case.
The total comes to 1,929,551 Americans moving from Shall Carry states to Constitutional Carry states, a huge number in just two years. The biggest exodus, of course, is 871,127 fleeing Newsom’s gun-control-mania state of California. If people thought they were safer living under 100 new recent gun laws, wouldn’t they have stayed—with another couple hundred thousand flowing into the state?
There obviously are other reasons people move, such as high taxes, regulations, and housing prices. But states with low taxes, regulations, and property prices tend also to be the ones with stronger gun rights; and vice versa.
Newsom obviously is running for president, whether in 2024 or 2028. But his anti-gun rhetoric might not play so well in Constitutional Carry swing states such as Arizona, Georgia, and New Hampshire. Or even in socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Vermont, long a Constitutional Carry state. Voters just trying to defend themselves don’t like being called “extreme.”
Here’s the full dataset:
Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
John Seiler is a veteran California opinion writer. Mr. Seiler has written editorials for The Orange County Register for almost 30 years. He is a U.S. Army veteran and former press secretary for California state Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at JohnSeiler.Substack.com and his email is email@example.com