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Safety concerns are driving Black women to the gun store.

Veronica Hilbring
Sep, 13, 2017

New data shows a growing group of gun owners emerging in Cook, County Chicago: Black women.

The number of Black women receiving a permit in Cook County has grown every year since 2014. According to Illinois State Police, 800 Black women received a license in 2014. And currently, in 2017, nearly 1400 Black women have received a concealed carry permit. That number is already more than the last year’s number. That is a record 67 percent growth from 2014 to 2017. More than 4,000 Black women have received a concealed carry license in Cook County.

But what is encouraging Black women to arm themselves? According to a Chicago Tribune report, many are "spurred by a growing concern for their safety," in neighborhoods where crime is surging, the outlet writes.

This is the sharpest growth in Cook County of any demographic receiving concealed carry permits, based on applicants who revealed both their race and gender. The overall number of concealed-carry permits issued in Cook County fell by 18 percent from 2014-2016.

While this group is growing, Black women are still a very small sector of people applying for permits. White women, White men and Black men still make up the majority of people applying for concealed carry permits. These figures also do not include the women who have obtained and do not have a permit.

The state of Illinois was the last state to allow concealed carry of firearms by citizens. The state’s handgun carry ban law was ruled unconstitutional in 2012. In January 2014, the state police officially began accepting applications to carry concealed handguns. 

Permits are $150 for residents or $300 for non-resident, and are valid for five years.